Find us a child who doesn’t love their bike and, well, we don’t know what we’ll do because the concept is inconceivable. To adults, cycling is a way of staying healthy. To anyone under 12, though, it’s the coolest, easiest, most fun and fastest way to travel.

Cycling on a family travel holiday allows you to experience places you couldn’t normally reach, it can reduce the whinge factor when exploring larger areas and, as Stubborn Mule founder, Liddy Pleasants will tell you, gets you off the main tourist drags.

And, having cycled 3,000 kms around South East Asia with her husband and children (then aged 3 and 5), she probably knows more than most..

Welcome to (some of) the world’s best family friendly bike rides. About as much fun as you can have on two wheels.

1. Mount Nebo to the Dead Sea

Jordan with kids itinerary - Road from Mt Nebo to to the Dead Sea - a fabulous for family bike rides

The road from Mt Nebo to the Dead Sea

Where? Jordan
What: Mount Nebo to the Dead Sea
How? Active Jordan for Teens
Best for: families with teens

One of the best bike rides in the world for families, this 20 – 30km route (tailored to the age and abilities of your teens) is downhill all the way. Starting in Mt Nebo, the place where Moses was granted his first view of the Promised Land, you’ll cycle across the plains, through undulating farmland before starting the long, winding descent to the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth. It’s a fabulously exhilarating, fun ride, not too taxing as you’re practically freewheeling the 1,000m descent via a series of long switchbacks. Whizzing downhill, you’ll also enjoy gorgeous views of the Dead Sea and beyond.

Family Bike Rides – Whoop Factor: 10/10

2. Cycling around the Bagan temple complex

Family cycling holidays - Liddy in Burma on a family bike ride

Early days at Stubborn Mule Travel… Liddy cycling in Burma with her daughter

Where? Burma
What? Cycling around the Bagan temple complex
How? Burma at Christmas and Easter
Best for: Children aged 10 years and above

You could almost say that Bagan was the birthplace of Stubborn Mule, as founder, Liddy Pleasants was so inspired by the temple complex when cycling her 3,000km trip around South East Asia with her husband and kids, she knew she had to share the joy with other like-minded families. “The temple complex is utterly awe-inspiring but as any mother of young children will know, your children’s abilities may not match with your ambitions. By cycling around the temples, pootling around, climbing up temples, following goat tracks through plantations, you can cover A LOT more ground, with much less complaining,” she says. And so say all of us! Although the ground is relatively flat with very little traffic, we don’t think the bikes available to rent are suitable for those under 10.

Family Bike Rides – Whoop Factor: 3/10

3. Cycling the backstreets of Hanoi

Family bike ride abroad - cycling in the back streets of Hanoi

Cycling through Hanoi, looking forward to lunch!

Where? Vietnam
What? Cycling the backstreets of Hanoi
How? Highlights of Vietnam
Best for: children of all ages

For anyone who has been to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital and second largest city, you’ll know that the streets are manic, as 8 million residents jostle for position on crowded roads. The back streets of Hanoi, though, through the Red River District, the only part of the city untouched by the war, are as quiet as they are charming. You’ll get to experience a much calmer, more authentic side to Hanoi than otherwise possible, cycling through narrow streets where the architecture dates back centuries and has been heavily influenced by Southeast Asian, French and Chinese culture. At the end of the two-hour cycle ride, you’ll have lunch with a local family, the perfect way to replace any expended calories! Tag- alongs, child seats, kids, teen and adult bikes are all available.

Family Bike Rides – Whoop Factor: 7/10

4. Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley Peru, the setting for a great family bike rides

Ollantaytambo, your journey’s end

Where? Peru
What: Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo
How? Any trip to Peru
Best for: families with teens

The Sacred Valley is the cultural heartland of Incan Kingdom, a beautiful swathe of the Andes that is peppered with ruins. This bike ride encompasses some of the area’s loveliest scenery as well as some jaw-dropping ruins. You have the altitude to contend with here, so we let a vehicle do the hard work at the start, taking you up to a high point of 3,600m from where the ride starts. The route is primarily flat or downhill and includes superb views of the mountains as you pass along quiet roads through rich agricultural fields and the occasional village. You can stop en route to visit the hill-top remains at Pisac (a short uphill hike is required!) and the tour ends in Ollantaytambo where you can have a quick visit of the ruins before a well earned drink at a nearby café.

Family Bike Rides – Whoop Factor: 9/10

5. Cycling through Yangshou’s stunning karst mountain scenery

Khast scenery in China - the backdrop to our family bike rides

Cycle along the valley floor surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery

Where? China
What? Cycling through Yangshou’s stunning karst mountain scenery
How? Two week China Highlights
Best for: Very young children (with a bike seat) or for children aged 8+

The karst limestone scenery of Yangshou is world famous: pinnacles of limestone karst, spiking into the clean mountain air. Cycling along the valley floor, a mix of rich, green paddy fields and quaint villages with curved eave rooves, makes for a gentle if jaw-droppingly scenic outing. We can recommend rides of between 1 – 3 hours.

Family Bike Rides – Whoop Factor: 3/10

6. Cycling through Cuba’s adventure capital, Viñales

Vinales is stunning a perfect for family cycling holidays and family bike rides

Stunning landscapes in Cuba’s Viñales valley

Where? Cuba
What? Cycling through Cuba’s adventure capital, Viñales
How? Cuba in 2 weeks
Best for: children aged 10 +

As gateway to the Sierra de los Organos mountains, Viñales is fast gaining a reputation as the adventure capital of Cuba. Obviously, it’s very early days in Cuba’s nascent tourism industry, but what it lacks in flash, it makes up for in untouched, rugged charm. Cycling along the valley floor, you’ll be flanked by tall, steep-sided limestone hills, known as ‘mogotes’, a place which acts as a magnet for rock climbers. The scenery really is breath-taking, and you’ll follow tracks through tobacco fields. At the end of the ride, you’ll stop at the very aptly named ‘Balcón del Valle’ (‘Balcony of the Valley’), a fabulous restaurant where three wooden decks offer panoramic views over tobacco fields, drying houses and the mogotes.

Family Bike Rides – Whoop Factor: 7/10

7. Pokhara to Kalikasthan

Pokhara and surrounding hills - perfect for family cycling holidays

This family bike ride begins and ends in Pokhara, set beside Phewa Lake

Where? Nepal
What: Pokhara to Kalikasthan
How? Active Nepal (with 3-day trek)
Best for: families with teens who like a challenge

This is a challenging bike ride for families that rewards with breath-taking views of the Annapurna Mountains. Starting from the trekking city of Pokhara, that sits at the base of the mountains, you head out into the hills, climbing steadily up until you reach the pretty hill-top village of Kalikasthan. Revive the batteries with a cup of hot chai in a local tea-shop before the whooping begins, with a long downhill to Begnas Lake with stunning views along the way. From here you follow a flatter trail along the valley floor, passing through green fields and traditional villages, back to Pokhara.

Family Bike Rides – Whoop Factor: 10/10

8. Arusha coffee plantations to a cow market….!

Colobus in Arusha area - watch out for wildlife on a family bike ride through the coffee plantations

The lush Arusha area is home to much wildlife including colobus monkeys

Where? Tanzania
What: Arusha coffee plantations to a cow market….!
How? Tanzania Safari and Beach
Best for: families with children aged 6 and over

There are few things more exciting for a family than the prospect of a safari on the plains of Africa. However, sitting in a safari vehicle all day every day doesn’t necessarily appeal to all children so it can be great to include a few activities as well. One of our favourites is a bike ride in the lush landscape around Arusha, in the foothills of Kilimanjaro. The views are stunning and you can ride through local villages and coffee plantations, stopping to chat with the locals and visit the nearby traditional cow market. You won’t see the Big 5 but this won’t stop it from being a highlight of your tour.

Family Bike Rides – Whoop Factor: 7/10

Stubborn Mule Travel

For the best advice on family cycling holidays and bike rides abroad do ring us for a chat or email via our online form. And if you and your kids want to add a favourite bike ride in Asia, Latin America or Africa, not included here, just email us and we’ll add this to our family cycling blog.

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel
I’m always interested to hear about your travels so do email me with your feedback and experiences of cycling on family holidays at [email protected].