Wednesday 29 January 2014

Three extreme places to ride your bicycle

Cycling in Greenland. Credit: Worldwide Cycling Atlas 

The weather has been pretty darn hot in Adelaide lately. Only a few weeks ago, South Australia's capital was crowned the hottest in the world and many people questioned Adelaide's suitability as a bicycle city. 

These three places should prove that cycling in Adelaide is actually too easy…
Cargo Bike Culture in Greenland. Credit: Mikael Colville-Andersen

1.     Greenland

The island of Greenland is without doubt one of the craziest places you could ride your bicycle. Without any roads between cities, lots of snow, polar bears and average winter temperatures of minus 20C, this is a crazy place to be pedalling. But people have braved it including German Cycle Tourist, Andy who travelled the vast country on a trip in 1992. 

“If we rode too fast, we were sweating wet - and water vapor under these conditions is dangerous. Since vapor would still be freezing within the clothes, very quickly we could have been covered with an ice layer and we would have frozen...” Andy writes in his blog

He adds: "Another problem was oxygen supply when riding fast. Due to the low temperature we had to ride with masks, but air only penetrates slowly and they covered with ice quickly."

Cycling in Greenland is not just about extreme adventure… according to Danish cycling expert, Mikael Colville-Andersen, the citizens of Greenland even use Cargo Bicycles (Pictured Above) 

Cycling the salt flats in Bolivia. Credit: National Geographic

2.       Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats (Bolivia)

The Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats are quite a spectacle. They’re the words largest salt flats and stretch more than 10,000 kilometres in Southwest Bolivia. But don’t be fooled by their shiny flat appearance. They are not too easy to cycle on…

“Cycling on the salt pan wasn’t quite the quick, smooth ride we had expected. The shiny service meant that it was cooler than on the surrounding land and very bright….Whilst the hexagonal tiles of salt created a cobblestone effect,” wrote cycle Tourists Laura and Paddy on their blog pedalling about. 

Let’s not forget the havoc that salt plains will do to your gears and brakes,  and also the feeling of losing your bearings with nothing but flat earth to keep you company.

Apparently, though it's become quite the cycle tourist attraction...  

Cycling in Amsteram Credit: European Cyclists' Federation

3.       Amsterdam

Amsterdam? An extreme place to cycle? Well in actual fact, when you ride your bike in the Dutch capital for the first time, it’s intense. Imagine a city full of traffic, but instead of cars, it’s full of bicycles. They are king here. Everything is designed to get the bike from A to B. There are bicycle traffic jams and every little bit of urban space is literally covered in bikes, from lamp posts to canal railings. There are even multi-storey bicycle car parks.

For a nation of under 20 million people, the Dutch manage to rack up 14 million bicycle trips every day.  Amsterdam alone  has an estimated 881,000 bikes in a city of 780,559 people and over 500 kilometres of cycle lanes.

For those used to being part of a small cycling fraternity, Amsterdam can be frighteningly scary. But in the best possible way you could ever imagine…

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