We’ve put together a list of the very best events and trips you can look forward to during the spring of next year. Not just rides while the weather is getting better, but experiences you can only have if you adventure abroad in the first few months of the year. Give yourself something to look forward to, and a reason to keep riding over the winter.
Alice Springs, Australia
If you are really looking to get off the beaten track and impress your friends with your mountain biking exploits, you can’t do much better than Easter in the Alice. How many people do you know that have completed a three day marathon mountain bike stage race through the Australian outback?
The event takes in over 150 km of wide desert fire road and tricky, rocky single track place around the town of Alice Springs, right in the centre of Australia, so it will take a fair bit of dedication to travel from the UK.
The biggest contributor the local economy is tourism, primarily in nature and wildlife tours, so there is plenty to do off the bike in your down time. Why not see kangaroos and airs rock at high speed from a mountain bike?
Does this really count as a spring event since, technically speaking, it will be autumn in Australia? The Australians will be celebrating the chance to get back out on their mountain bikes again after suffering through inclement weather. The only difference is they have been roasting away while we’ve been huddling together for warmth.
If it all sounds a bit much and you’d rather have an MTB ramble followed by a bit of sightseeing and a barbi, then the Easter Mini event might be more up your street. It’s still a three day stage race, but just 20K riding per day.
If you are liking the sound of southern hemisphere, long distance mountain biking race, but you’re worried Alice Springs might be a little too remote, then have a look at the Cape Epic. Similar idea, but in Cape Town.
Cape Town, South Africa
Incredibly popular with our customers (and staff) each spring is the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which is run from Cape Town each March.
Billed as the biggest cycling race in the world, as many as 35,000 riders take on the 100 kilometre course. To put it in perspective, that is more than double the number of riders who will take on L’Etape du Tour during the summer.
The race takes competitors from the city centre along Nelson Mandela Boulevard, past the entrance to the Cape of Good Hope, and into Table Mountain National Park. It is a truly stunning route.
Don’t let videos of last year put you off entering. While the Cape tour has a reputation for being a windy race, last years cancellation was a one off in it’s 40 year history.
The classic challenge for road cyclists, and this author’s favourite races to watch, are the spring classics in France and Belgium.
Highly recommended is the Gent Wevelgem sportive, a historic race across Flanders which sees amateur racers take on the iconic cobbled Kemmelberg climb. Have a look at our Cobbled Classic survival guide for all the advice you need to conquer the pave and finish your ride in one piece.
Riding the Ghent Wevelgem sportive also gives you the opportunity to visit and stay in the historic city of Ghent, one of cycling’s spiritual homes playing host to the annual Ghent Six track cycling races.
One of Europe’s largest cities during the middle ages, Ghent’s narrow cobbled streets are stuffed with hundreds of years of history, and offer one of the best selections of pubs serving Belgian beer you are ever likely to find.
The cobbled classics take place throughout the spring. For an alternative to Ghent, have a look at contributor Phil Peters account of the Leige Bastogne Liege sportive.
Spring is arguably the most beautiful season to visit Japan because of the blooming of the famous cherry blossoms – sakura –one of Japan’s most beloved symbols. Despite being only the size of California, you can experience mountains, coastlines, rolling hills and bamboo forests all in this one country.
Japan Biking have a range of guided tours and itineraries to help you experience this variety, such as their Cherry Blossom Hot Springs Tour, starting and ending in Izumi. After a day of leisurely sightseeing on the bike, a trip to a traditional onsen is the perfect way to unwind.
Alternatively, why not get a head start on the pros and cycle around Mount Fuji? The cycling route for the 2020 Olympic games is set to pass the iconic volcano, so a three day route passing through West Tokyo, Lake Yamanaka and Ito City is a great option.
As with Japan, a cycling tour is a fantastic way to experience true local culture that you can often miss out on when visiting typical tourist traps. You also won’t be constantly passing streams of fellow road cyclists that almost become part of the scenery in some of the Med’s most popular cycling haunts this time of year.
China Adventure Tours offer guided tours around the area, such as this two week trip, which also include hiking as well as testing climbs on the bike. The challenge of cycling in the Sichaun region comes from the extreme altitude in parts as you head into Tibetan villages and mountainous areas. Explore varied landscapes of lush meadows, hilly pastures and of course plenty of the local cuisine. There’s even a chance to spot the rare Giant Panda in the region!