There’s no doubt that there are some views that are only possible from your road bike. Whether it's Stelvio’s 48 snaking bends or Lake Como’s peace and tranquility, your road bike is your vehicle to embrace some of Europe’s stunning views.
Ernest Hemingway famously said that ‘It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best’. You could take that one step further by arguing that you can discover a country's best views from your bike.
One can spend hours debating where are the ten best views in Europe from a road bike or you could leave it to author and Director of Bikecation Rob Penn, who has chosen his top 10 views from a road bike in Europe.
1. The Hairpins of the Stelvio, Italy
Few climbs are more iconic or strike fear in to climbers than the snaking 48 bends. The Stelvio is one of Italy’s great national landmarks and it remains today arguably the purest, most exhilarating, most spellbinding mountain playground accessible to cyclists.
2. The view down the Galibier Valley
The legendary Col du Galibier is renowned for being one of the toughest Alpine cycling climbs. The mighty Col du Galibier has also become a renowned, if slightly intimidating, must-do climb for amateur cyclists.
3. Lake Como in Spring
Lake Como is renowned for its calmness and stunning lakeside towns. In Spring the sun glistens of the water, the temperatures are perfect, and the tourists haven't arrived yet. Lake Como is renowned for its atmospheric sense of calm.
4. The Sa Calobra
There are few, faster or more technical descents than the Sa Calobra. It's a serpent like piece of road to be tamed. A road originally built for tourists to gain access to the small port at the bottom, it is a cycling paradise, a ribbon of tarmac draped on to the mountainside.
The top of Ventoux is other worldly, looking from afar like it's snow capped, year round, it's bald top can be seen from over 100 km away in all directions. In the Dauphiné, I almost puked my heart out through my mouth.
6. St Gotthard's Pass, Switzerland
Described as one of the most unusual stretches of road anywhere in the Alps. The cobbled surface and stunning views make this truly iconic. With its history, importance and being one of the most unusual stretches of mountain road anywhere in the Alps the Gotthardpass is a truly iconic cycling climb.
7. Mount Tiede, Tenerife
As you climb this mountain from sea level to 2300m, you climb through a desert, a forest and a lunar landscape. An ideal training climb for pro’s and a great challenge for mortals. You never know, you may seem of the pro teams scrabbling up the hill.
8. Yorkshire Dales
The breathtaking landscape of the Yorkshire Dales has been attracting visitors for years due to it being designated as a National Park and also an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. When riding through the towns and villages you will still notice the old yellow, red polka dot and green bikes that were installed for the celebration of the Tours visit.
9. The Aubisque
There is a stunning view and ride down the valley to Gourette. Be careful of the lack of guard rail on the descent though! The ascent to see these spectacular views is renowned for its difficulty with Octave Lapize shouting at Tour officials whilst half way up the Col d’Aubisque in the 1910 tour: ‘You’re assassins! All of you!’
10. The Cirque de Gavarnie
The climb is both inside the Pyrenees National park and classified as a UNESCO site and set to one of the finest mountain backdrops in France. The Tour de France has never ridden up the Cirque de Gavarnie: it is thought the impact of the Tour circus would be too great on this natural wonder.
For more information on Bikecation and to book your next bespoke cycling holiday so you can experience these views for yourself, please visit: www.bikecation.co.uk