My 23 Favourite Roads

Posted by James Anderton on August 24, 2018

These are my personal favourite roads/routes that I have cycled. In no particular order:

Sichuan, China

592km. Litang to Deqen via Sangdui

Incredible mountain road through the high mountains of Sichuan before cycling through Shangri La National park and finishing at Tiger Leaping Gorge.

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beautiful cycling through the mountains of Sichuan China

The road snaking up to the pass above Ranwuxiang

The Dempster Highway, Yukon, Canada

1,021km. Alaska/Yukon border to Tuktoyaktuk via Dawson City

Cycle the Top of the World Highway from the Yukon/Alaska border, re-fuel at Dawson City and cycle the Dempster Highway up through wild country all the way to the Arctic Ocean.

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The Arctic Circle along the Dempster Highway

The Arctic Circle along the Dempster Highway

Paso de Jama, Argentina/Chile

476km. Jujuy in Argentina to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile via the Paso de Jama

Crossing the Andes from Argentina to Chile across salt lakes and lunar landscapes. The Paso de Jama is at 4200m but the road reaches 4800m on the Chile side before a mad descent into San Pedro de Atacama on the edge of the desert.

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Paso de Jama on the border between Argentina and Chile

Lunar landcapes at high altitude west of the Paso de Jama

Lofoten Islands, Norway

343km. Sorvagen to Andenes on the Lofoten Islands

Stunning coastline up near the Arctic Circle.

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beautiful lofoten islands off the coast of norway

Fishing village of Reine on the Lofoten Islands

Geneva to Nice, France

606km. Classic mountain route through the Alps.

Cycle over a succession of high mountain passes well versed in Tour de France history before descending to the coast at Nice. You can make your own route up of course but I went over the Col de l'Iseran, Col de Galibier, Col d'Izoard (my favourite pass in the Alps), Col de Vars and the Col de la Bonette (highest road pass in Europe).

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my favourite alpine climb Col D'Izoard

The south side of the Col d'Izoard

Hidalgo del Parral to Tecoripa via Guachochi, Mexico

802km. Beautiful route through the high mountains of northern Mexico

This route wins no prizes for drama but if you enjoy cycling on quiet, paved roads through pine forests and high mountains under a clear blue sky then you will love this route through northern Mexico. It is a relatively straightforward as well.

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beautiful mountains in the north of Mexcio near Guachochi

Mountains of Mexico near Guachochi

The Pacific Coast, USA

1,027km. Cycle a section of the legendary coastal route in the USA

Over 1,000km of stunning Pacific coastline and redwood forests through sunny California.

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cycling Big Sur along the Pacific Coast

Big Sur on the Pacific Coast of California

Mountains in West Mongolia

About 300km. Cross country from Khovd to Bulgan near the Chinese border

Picking your way cross country in the remote mountains of Western Mongolia. Difficult to map this route as you'll spend a lot of time just making up your own route following paths and dirt tracks that won't appear on any map. Great fun and the scenery is stunning. Head south west out of Khovd on the dirt road that goes by the airport. Follow the dirt road into the mountains. The road will eventually fade out but get your compass out and make your way through the mountains heading west and eventually you'll find another dirt road that will meander southwards towards the border. The roads are often in bad condition, a mixture of sand and rocks, so there is a fair amount of pushing. About as remote as it gets.

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beautiful remote mountains in the west of mongolia

Looking for a road in Western Mongolia

Osh to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

665km. Osh to Bishkek via lake Toktogul.

Beautiful high road through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Cycle through lush meadows, up snowy mountains, along high altitude plains before dropping out of the mountains and down to Bishkek.

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beautiful wild camping between Osh and Bishkek

Camp spot near Toktogul lake on the way to the high mountains between Osh and Bishkek

Alto de Letras, Colombia

120km. Mariquita to Manizales via the Alto de Letras

Cycle the longest climb in the world as it snakes up from the Magdalena river to a windswept pass high in the mountains of Colombia.

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Longest climb in the world Alto de Letras

Winding road up to the Alto de Letras in the mountains of Colombia

Carretera Austral, Chile

1,224km. From Puerto Montt to Villa O'Higgins with a couple of ferries along the way.

The famous Carretera Austral in Chile is a must for all cycle tourers. Taking you from the heart of Chile deep into Patagonia. Very different from the Argentinian side of Patagonia. More mountains, pristine lakes, less wind and some incredible cycling into a sparsely populated and beautiful part of the world.

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The Carretera Austral in Chile Patagonia

Typical view along the Carretera Austral in Chile

The Four Rivers Cycle Path, South Korea

459km. Seoul to Busan

One the whole family can enjoy. Starting in Seoul it is a comfortable cycle, mostly on immaculate cycle paths through rural South Korea, alongside sleepy rivers ending in the port city of Busan.

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Four Rivers cycle path in South Korea

Following well marked cycle paths across the length of South Korea

Westfyords, Iceland

637km. From Búðardalur to Hólmavík via Bíldudalur

The highlight of cycling in Iceland. The mountains are high and steep, the roads are narrow and bumpy, the weather is wild and unpredictable and the cycling is incredible. The place to go if you want to explore Iceland undisturbed.

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cycling the majestic Westfyords in Iceland

The majestic Westfyords of Iceland

Zuluk Pass, India

224km. Up and over the Zuluk pass and on to Lachung.

If you dream of hairpin bends then head to Zuluk in Sikkim, India. Otherwise known as the Zigzag road it is where mountain road meets art. Nestled in a remote corner of the East Himalaya it is one of the great climbs and a road less travelled as you will need a special permit to reach here. After the descent to Gangtok carry onto to the equally remote Himalaya village of Lachung, or as far as you are allowed to go.

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hairpin heaven up the Zuluk pass in India near the Bhutan border

Hairpin heaven on the way to the Zuluk pass

The Pamir Highway, Tajikistan

1,152km. Dushanbe to Sary Tash via Khorog and Murghab.

Arguably the greatest road of them all. Over 1,000km of high altitude cycling through the incredible Pamir mountain range. Every day defies belief. I recommend you make it even longer and take the road south from Khorog towards the Afghanistan border and the magnificient Hindu Kush. The road later swings round to rejoin the Pamir Highway.

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A pass approaching Murghab on the Pamir Highway

High up in the Pamir mountains in Tajikistan

Huangnan, China

156km. Hedong to Tongren in Huangnan province, China.

A personal favourite partly because I was just randomly exploring. Incredible road through the remote mountains of Huangnan in the middle of China.

You won't find the road on google maps. You take the minor road due south out of Hedong. Follow it high into the mountains to Lancai and eventually down to the Tibetan town of Tongren.

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cycling around the bend huangnan china

Around the Bend in Huangnan

The Road to Tawang, Arunchal Pradesh, India

578km. Nirjuli to Tawang via Seppa and the Sela pass

Journey through the remote misty mountains of Arunchal Pradesh, up and over the Sela pass at 4300m and on to the famous monastery in Tawang near the Chinese border.

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Sela Pass on the road to Tawang

Climb to the Sela pass before Tawang

Andes of Peru

339km. Cajamarca to Chachapoyas

There are many roads I could have picked in Peru but this could be my favourite. Two high passes between Cajamarca and Chachapoyas on narrow roads in a remote corner of the Andes approaching Ecuador.

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amazing camp spot in the Chachapoyas mountains in northern Peru

Camp spot on the climb to Chachapoyas

Tierra del Fuego, Chile/Argentina

1,135km. El Chalten to Ushuaia via Torres del Paine.

Legendary cycle route through Patagonia from the iconic Mount Fitzroy to the end of the world in Ushuaia.

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the road to the Blue Glacier from El Calafate

Road to the blue glacier near El Calafate, Patagonia

Glossglockner, Austria

95km. Up and over the Glossglockner from Zell am See to Leinz.

One of Europe's great mountain roads. Cycle up from green mountain pastures, through colourful flower meadows and up into the ice and snow and a glorious high Alpine panorama.

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beautiful Austrian alpine climb, the gloddglockner

The Glossglockner, Austria

The Black Sea coast, Turkey

774km. Istanbul to Sinop

Follow the beautiful, undulating Black Sea coastline in Turkey and camp on empty beaches

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The Black Sea coastline in Turkey

The Black Sea coastal road

The Mongolian Steppe

About 600km. Cross country from Tsetserleg to Khosvol Lake in Mongolia

To call it a road would be stretching it. Working your way cross country on dirt paths towards the beautiful Khosvol Lake near the Russian border. Impossible to map. Just keep heading north-ish.

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A yurt out on the Mongolian Steppe

A yurt out on the Mongolian Steppe

Cordillera Blanca, Peru

About 200km finishing in Huaraz.

I reckon Peru has more hairpin bends than any other country and there is a lot of them in the Cordillera Blanca. This amazing road crosses the mountain range from east to west ending up in Hauraz. Sadly I cannot remember the exact route I took but it's a worth spending some time exploring the Cordillera Blanca as it's all amazing.

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beautiful hairpin bends on the Cordillera Blanca in Peru going down towards Huaraz

Crossing the Cordillera Blanca towards Huaraz