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The world's best bike routes

 The future's looking bright for cyclists. This month, the New Zealand government added the finishing touches to the country's new 2,500-kilometre cycle trail, and proposals have been revealed for a 220-kilometre SkyCycle network of cycle paths (pictured) which will allow London commuters to cycle to work over the capital's rooftops. Until that plan gets under way, why not explore the world on two wheels? Read on for our best cycling routes around the world

 This brand new 2,500-kilometre bike route was completed in January and comprises 23 shorter trails which connect to create one long-distance route. Construction began in 2009 and the New Zealand government committed $50 million to the project, with a further $30 million raised from co-funding. The trails cover both islands and include the legendary Otago route, which is famous for its river gorges and mountain passes, and the Alps 2 Ocean trail, which connects Mount Cook with Oamaru on the Pacific Ocean
 The Carretera Austral stretches 1,200 kilometres from Puerto Montt in central Chile to northern Patagonia. It's incredibly popular with cyclists, who are attracted to the varied landscape of national parks, hot springs and huge tracts of native forest. Good suspension is essential, as only 300 kilometres of the trail are asphalt (the rest is gravel), but highlights include the stretch which hugs the glacier and fjord-lined Baker river. One of the more bizarre sights includes Trevelin, a small Welsh village in the heart of Patagonian Argentina.
 Munda Biddi (meaning 'path through the forest') is a long distance off-road cycling trail which starts in Mundaring and finishes in Albany, 1,000 kilometres away. It passes through an undeveloped natural corridor surrounded by eucalyptus forests and ancient bushland. Cyclists can stay in the quaint towns through which the trail passes, but shelters and campsites line the route's more remote sections. Signs displaying quick response (QR) codes allow cyclists to access information about the areas they're passing through, and the different sections have been given difficulty ratings based on distance, terrain and surface conditions.
 The Sam McGee trail is short but sweet, with a distance of just nine kilometres. It was originally built to service the tramway which was constructed in 1905 and provided access to the area's many silver mines. It's a great cycle route for any time of year, but the colours are most spectacular in spring and autumn. Look out for the remnants of the tramway – various mining artefacts are also regularly found by cyclists.
 Cycle the Wight is a circular route which starts in Cowes and meanders around the whole island, taking in some of the prettiest villages and most dramatic chunks of shoreline. Every year 4,500 cyclists tackle the trail, and the 70-kilometre route is cordoned off during the Isle of Wight's cycling festival, which takes place in September.
 This 539-kilometre route connects Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania to Washington DC, and almost one million cyclists pedal its lengths every year. The trail sits in the footprint of the Western Maryland Railroad and the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. It's one of the world's most historic bike trails, allowing cyclists to follow in the footsteps of George Washington, the French armies who came to conquer the frontier and the British colonials who came to force them out. One of the most spectacular sections is between Cumberland in Maryland and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. This section is littered with derelict steel mills and the remains of iron furnaces. The stretch which passes through Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands is also beautiful.
 The 386-kilometre Katy Trail spans the entire width of Missouri, connecting St Louis with Kansas City. The route is ideal for younger cyclists as it's mostly flat, and the scenery ranges from rugged farmland to limestone bluff-dotted valleys. Highlights include the river town of Hermann, which is famous for its German heritage and wineries, and Boonville. If you spend the night here, squeeze in a visit to the Warm Springs Ranch, which is where Anheuser-Busch (the owner of Budweiser) breeds Budweiser Clydesdale horses, which are used in their adverts and as their beer wagon-pulling hitch horses.
 This beautiful 16-kilometre cycling route was named after a line in America The Beautiful, which was penned by Cape Cod native Katharine Lee Bates. The trail follows the route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and was opened in 1975. It's ideal for both beginners and experts, and the final section, which overlooks Chapaquoit Beach and passes through Sippewissett Marsh, is the most scenic.
 Marketing GmbH Baden-Württemberg - Measuring almost 3,000 kilometres, the Danube bike trail starts in Germany before passing through Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. The earlier sections are the most popular – almost 38,000 cycle the section between Passau in Germany and the Austrian capital of Vienna every year. Further along, the Austrian city of Melk is famous for its massive baroque Benedictine monastery, while Budapest's famous ruin bars are the ideal location for a celebratory drink.
 Cycling is an increasingly popular pastime in Hong Kong, and this 16-kilometre route is a great way to take in the city's best bits, in addition to the beautiful scenery which surrounds the city. The starting point is the section of the Shing Mun river located next to the city's New Town Plaza. The route then snakes past the spectacular Hong Kong Science Park, with its manmade lake and cute cafes, before finishing at the city's Tolo Harbour Cycling Track. Cyclists flock here for the unbeatable views of Pat Sin Leng (Ridge of the Eight Immortals)
This five-kilometre bike trail is not for the claustrophobic because it's entirely underground – more specifically, deep inside Mount Peca, 52 kilometres outside the capital, Ljubljana. The mountain was once home to an enormous lead ore mine, which is why it's riddled with 800 kilometres of tunnels. The underground bike trail covers just five kilometres, and starts from the fascinating Mežica Mining Museum, which is also where riders are kitted out with protective clothing and head torches.


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