If you’d prefer to cover more ground and see more of the area on your charity adventure, you should consider an overseas cycle tour. Organised in much the same way as treks, by professional tour operators on behalf of the charities, they take place all over the world and include some stunning locations.
You could end up cycling over a volcano for charity, taking on a mountain bike challenge in the likes of Mexico, or even taking a short bike trip along the Nile. From classic bike rides such as the London to Paris, to taking on the Alps or even riding a section of Le Tour, there is no shortage of charity bike rides and cycle touring opportunities to choose from. The only thing to stop you is your level of adventure!
How fit do I need to be?
The distances covered on a charity bike challenge can vary considerably, as can the severity of the terrain, so make sure you have a good look at the itinerary before committing to anything that you might not be up to. These cycle trips are a great way of getting fit, but if your fitness level at the outset isn’t that good, then you should initially look for a charity bike trip that isn’t too strenuous. For those with a good fitness level, have a look at a challenging ride that covers more significant distances.
Ensure you are familiar with the type of terrain and weather you will likely be facing when you take on your chosen ride. That way you can make sure you are prepared for whatever the local climate will throw at you, you don’t want any nasty surprises on the day!
The accommodation on your charity bike ride is likely to include nights under canvas as well as hotels, guesthouses and cabins, so be prepared for just about anything. It's not all going to be 5-star luxury, after all that just wouldn't be a challenge would it?
Just like the overseas charity treks, you can select an overseas cycle tour that is made up of riders from just one charity or go for one with a mix of riders from different groups. Whichever option you go for, you are guaranteed a highly professional trip, the memories of which will endure long after the aches in muscles die away.
Recommended charity cycle rides
To help you choose the cycle trip of a lifetime, here's a list of some of the best charity cycle ride options, all of which provide a once-in-a-lifetime biking challenge.
India bike ride
India has some of the most varied and exciting scenery anywhere, and cycling here provides a great opportunity to view as a much of it as possible. The majority of rides take place in Rajasthan, known as the Land of Kings. This region shows India at its most exotic and colourful. The journey is a chance to live and breathe India, seeing some of the stunning sights such as the Taj Mahal, the Aravali hills and the colourful villages of Rajasthan.
Swaying palm trees, pineapple plantations and tropical vegetation, provide the backdrop to a cycle ride that sees rural Cuba at its best. Trips will usually begin in Havana and end just off the south coast at Trinidad. Thankfully, Cuba has a strong cycling culture and once you leave Havana; it is likely that you will meet only a few cars on the road, letting you to take in the countryside almost undisturbed.
China bike ride – the Great Wall to Tiananmen Square
The Great Wall is vast, and biking is a great way to see as much of it as possible. Riders should expect to cover an average of about 80km (49.7m) a day. Most of the challenges head into the countryside through the hills around Beijing and pass paddy fields, tiny villages, and the historic Ming tombs. There is usually an opportunity to visit Tiananmen Square – just make sure you don’t lose your companions among the many thousands of cyclists you’re likely to pass in the heavily populated centres.
London to Amsterdam bike ride
If your time is limited, but you are still looking to get involved, perhaps over a long weekend, then a London to Amsterdam bike ride could be just the ticket. Spread over four days, the adventure takes in the Essex countryside, across the North Sea to the Hook of Holland (on a ferry!) and then onto The Hague. Cyclists then head along Holland’s North Sea coastline, passing through traditional Dutch fishing villages and Holland's famous windmills – before arriving in Amsterdam for a well deserved drink or two.
The beautiful landscapes of rural Cambodia are opened up on a cycle trip here. Paddy fields, Buddhist temples and stilted houses are to be found along all routes which generally finish at Angkor Wat. Visitors often get an opportunity to see one of the many charity projects operating in the area. A trip here will enable you to be among the first generation of westerners to rediscover the country, after the ravages of civil war and the excesses of the Pol Pot regime.
Grand Canyon bike ride
Cycling trips generally take in more than 200 miles of the Grand Canyon’s 277 miles. Probably the USA's best known natural attraction, it is surrounded by diverse landscapes – from arid desert to riverside vegetation. Most days on a ride have challenging sections off-road, and generally finish with a trek on foot to see the Canyon in its full glory.
There are plenty of opportunities for cycling challenges in Kenya, with many starting from the slopes of Mount Kenya, Africa's second tallest peak at 17057 feet (5,199 meters). Routes go both on and off-road, taking in savannah plains, game parks, tropical rainforests and traditional villages. Lake Victoria is a typical scenic place to finish, and there are usually opportunities to visit Nairobi National Park.
South Cape Cycle Challenge
This a real trip of contrasts, a cycle challenge in the South Cape will take you from dense tropical bush to open deserts. The challenge will really test your stamina, but will allow you to experience some of South Africa's most dramatic scenery. Several charities have been given special permission to cycle in protected areas, with a proportion of the profits received, going towards local conservation projects.
Cycling in one of Canada’s greatest National parks provides beautiful and extreme scenery along the way, taking in the Radium Hot Springs, Lake Louise and the Columbian Icefields. You better get your legs especially in gear for this one as routes consist of rolling hills and mountains, and for the more daring, many trip operators offer the option of white-water rafting on the Kicking Horse River.
Egypt cycle tour
For a touch of the ancient you could take in the awe-inspiring monuments of Egypt. Most trips naturally follow the massive Nile, with accommodation generally a bed on the water in a Nile cruiser. The routes take you from one extreme to another – from flat to undulating, or from green vegetation to desert terrain. The Aswan Dam, and Luxor – with its ancient burial places of the Pharaohs are among the highlights that make this a sensational place to take a cycling tour.