Here is our list of some of the most extreme and thrilling cycling trails from around the world! Caution, not for the feint of heart!
Death Road, Bolivia
Possibly the most famous dangerous ride, Bolivia’s Yungas Road, not far from the capital La Paz, is known as Death Road and it most certainly lives up to its name. The trail has so far killed 22 cyclists and in 2006 one estimate stated that 200 to 300 travellers were killed yearly along the road. But that doesn’t stop it being a top tourist attraction.
Thrill seekers flock to the trail, which is predominately down-hill. Stretching for 30 kilometres, it starts at 4,700m above sea level and ends at 1,200m above sea level, meaning cyclists descend 3,500m in about 3 hrs. The road is extremely narrow and winding in parts, and strewn with boulders, which is usually where riders fall. After you survive the ride, you get a t-shirt with the words “I’m a Death Road Survivor” on it, so it’s all worth it right?
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Not actually known as a cycling trail, the narrow, crumbling cliff face along the Cliffs of Moher have been attempted by a few intrepid cyclists. In County Clare, in south-west Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher have long been a tourist attraction, but only for looking at from afar.
Swiss cycler Hans Rey made the attempt to navigate the narrow cliff face, at times only 4 inches wide. If you make even the slightest mistake, you would fall nearly 200 meters into the North Atlantic below. Not only that, but strong ocean winds are known to rip along the cliffs, even sweeping people off the rocky edges. Any takers?
The Garbanzo trail, Whistler, Canada
The entire Whistler Mountain bike park boasts 65 trails for mountain bikers. Hailed as the most dangerous is the Garbanzo trail – higher, steeper and more rugged than any others. The path weaves through trees downhill, with tree roots, giant boulders and sheer drops dotted along the way. The ride is a bumpy one, regulars have told people to strengthen their forearms to cope with the jarring descent down the trail. The good thing about the area is that it’s well populated and visited, so if you do come unstuck, you won’t find yourself too far from help.
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Maritime Alps, France
The Alps in France are more known for their skiing, so cycling along them is reserved only for the summer months. Still, that doesn’t mean that weather, like snow and rain, won’t get in your way. The trails are unpredictable, some describing them as inaccessible and slightly treacherous. Some of the narrow trails were once military gravel roads built along the crests of the mountains, and these are now the target for thrill seeking mountain bikers.
The ridge lines and hairpin turns make up most of the trail, with the hillside dropping away steeply on either side. Some riders even take the extremely narrow goat ledges on the side of the mountains for the extra touch of danger. The trail becomes so narrow in parts that cyclists have to dismount and carry their bikes along the treacherous ledges. Sounds like a walk in the park.
Lunch Line and King Kong, Utah, America
Utah is well known as a daredevil’s playground. With five national parks, the rocky mountains and deep, winding canyons, it’s calling out to be hiked and to be ridden. Little wonder it’s where Aron Ralston was hiking when he fell and crushed his arm underneath a boulder. The mountains of Utah are clearly dangerous, but the call of danger is drawing people to Utah, where some of the most dangerous mountain bike trails exist. With fairly innocuous names like Lunch Line, King Kong, and Flying Monkey, the trails are not forgiving.
Most of the trails are tire width, following the rocky crest of the side of a mountain. Boulders, dry shrubs and sheer drops to either side line the trail. But that’s nothing compared to the drops between levels of the decent, some several meters high. These trails are not for the faint hearted. Videos of some of the attempts need to be seen to be believed. One has reached nearly 2 million on YouTube, and it’s easy to see why.