Asking “Why Indochina?” is like asking why you ride. Is it the anticipation of what’s around the corner? The thrill of a place you’ve never been? Maybe it’s the serenity of a quiet footpath that’s 2,000 years old. Or experiencing Hoi An, a 2nd-century fishing village blending modern luxury with dynamic history. How about the fun of passing rice paddies in a blur of speed? Perhaps touching the ethereal ruins of Angkor with your own hands. Everything that’s exhilarating about biking makes the ride here an incredible adventure.
“Awesome!” As a parent, you may try to avoid the word. But in this case, as you gaze out over the Grand Canyon, marveling at the play of light and shadow across the endless expanse, it’s perfect. And the words keep coming. Whether you’re exploring a wonderland of hoodoos and pinnacles in Bryce Canyon (“sweet!”). Traipsing amid the soaring walls and hanging gardens of a slot canyon in Zion (“epic!”). Or laughing at fireside stories under a star-speckled sky (“those leaders are so fly!”). You’ll try to contain yourself. But you can’t. Because the whole experience is truly…awesome.
Red Nose Day is a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty. To support the cause, NBC’s The Today Show co-anchor Matt Lauer decided to embark on a “Tour de Red Nose” bike ride from Boston to New York City, raising money along the way. The show’s producers asked Backroads to help by planning the route, riding alongside Matt and supporting the navigation of the entire crew. We couldn’t say no!
Though the Dutch may claim the title for Amsterdam, Copenhagen is considered by many to be the biking capital of the world. In fact, half of all Danes commute to work by bicycle. While bicycle commuting is gaining momentum in many major cities in the United States, touted as a mode of transportation that is friendly to the environment and the waistline, it hasn’t quite infiltrated American culture in the same way. If one looks closely at Danish society, you’ll see that the impact of bicycles on the physical and cultural landscape of its cities runs deep.
Carved by glaciers over millennia, Montana’s Glacier National Park and Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park are nothing short of spectacular. And all of those glacier-carved valleys and dazzling glacial lakes make for some of the most incredible biking routes in North America. Check it out in this short Glacier & Waterton Lakes trip video by Backroads leader and videographer Eric Malkowski.
Oregon is beautiful. From its forests to its deserts, dunes to mountains, vineyards to rivers, it rarely ceases to amaze. But it’s best experienced from the saddle—a bike saddle, that is. I’ve been lucky enough to ride, camp and explore 750 miles of the state I once called home.
It’s the sights, it’s the sounds, it’s the people, it’s the flavors. It’s Thailand. And it’s calling your name. So check out this short video by Backroads leader and videographer David Gallego and see what awaits in beautiful Thailand.
Buddhist monks robed in marigold cloth, smiling children with thanaka decorating their cheeks and hot air balloons soaring over Bagan’s pagodas at sunrise: this is Myanmar. This short video by Backroads leader and videographer David Gallego chronicles a week in mystical Myanmar.
In late December, my wife, son and I went for a walk to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall just outside our village. I grew up here, right along the border between East and West Germany. You might be thinking, “But the Wall fell on November 9th, 1989.” And so it did, in Berlin. However, I lived along the further westward inner German border–the 870-mile double-barrier of steel mesh fencing, anti-personnel mines, barbed wire, watchtowers and dog runs. The opening here began on December 22nd 1989, with just pedestrian access and only in specific towns.
Starting with the Danube, Europe’s second-longest river, we set out to see how Backroads-quality biking could be combined with a luxury floating hotel. We quickly realized that this is the perfect blend. The Danube is known for having the longest bike path in the world along its banks, known as the Donauradweg. But our job was to look for more than that, to find “backroads” so guests can get off the well-ridden path and really get to know the region via bicycle.
These books, along with an insatiable desire to explore, led me down an unconventional path to world travel, exciting (and sometimes insane) adventures and an active lifestyle that I parlayed into a career as a Backroads Trip Leader. So which stories have inspired me to explore, seek adventure, change the world for the better and do so confidently? Here are my top five.
I love cycling and pushing my physical limits, but I’ll admit that my training tends to drop off around the holidays. Winter weather hits, I don’t eat as healthy as I’d like and social engagements take up most of my weekends. By the time spring rolls around, I want to kick it into high gear to get in shape for my summer cycling season. I start doing my typical after-work loops and venture a bit farther away from home for longer rides on the weekends. But this routine can become…routine. That’s why I helped develop Backroads’ new Spring Training Biking trips.