Town on Lake Como

The world’s best cycling routes

Whether you prefer sightseeing at a leisurely pace on two wheels, or testing yourself on new terrain, here are six of the best places to cycle around the globe

Cyclist in Richmond Park, London

Richmond Park, London

Just a 30-minute drive southwest of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, the vast and verdant Richmond Park is best enjoyed on two wheels, with a variety of cycling options to help you cover some of its 2,500-acre grounds. Keen road cyclists might want to head here first thing and try to keep up with one of the numerous cycling clubs that use the 10.8km road loop of the park’s circumference for training rides. Be aware that whichever way you set off, each circuit includes a short and sharp climb of either Dark Hill (anti-clockwise) or Broomfield Hill (clockwise). Alternatively, if you prefer things at a more sedate pace, the traffic-free Tamsin Trail offers 12km of gravel paths that take in some of the royal park’s most scenic spots – from the botanical gardens of Isabella Plantation to the views of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.
Distance covered: Approximately 12 km
Challenge level: Mild to moderate

Pretty Italian piazza

Como to Moltrasio loop, Lake Como

This relaxed 20km loop allows you to take in the best of Northern Italy’s picturesque lakes and mountainous alpine passes, without tackling any thigh-burning inclines. A 15-minute drive from Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como brings you to the city of Como, your starting point for the ride. Setting off from Como Lago train station, you can follow a path hugs the lake’s shoreline, taking you along Passeggiata Lino Gelpi from Piazza Cavour to Villa Olmo’s spectacular gardens. From here, the cycle path keeps things coastal until you’re able to join Via Regina and go all the way to the town of Moltrasio. A scenic, 4,000-year-old town once famous for limestone quarries, Moltrasio was a favourite destination of the late fashion designer Gianni Versace, who personally oversaw the reconstruction of one of its villas, Villa Fontanelle. When retracing your route back to Como, look out across the lake to the east and try and spot Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como on the other side.
Distance covered: Approximately 20km
Challenge level: Mild

Kubu Bharu, Kuala-Lumpur

Fraser’s Hill loop, Kuala Lumpur

Cycling uphill is not everyone’s idea of a life-affirming afternoon, but for a certain breed of cyclist, the ascent (and the well-earned descent down the other side) is all part of the fun. The outskirts of Kuala Lumpur are home to some brilliant road climbs, and it’s hard to beat the journey to the top of Fraser’s Hill – a former tin mine-turned-hill resort. Drive an hour north from Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur to the start and end point of Kuala Kubu Bharu loop. Set off on the wide, sweeping asphalt of Federal Route 55 and get ready for a gentle 30km warm-up as you follow the meandering path of the Selangor River and the lush vegetation that flanks its banks. On reaching the big Fraser’s Hill sign, it’s time to turn off the main drag and onto the one-way climb (with its constantly changing gradients) all the way to the clock tower at its summit. Drink in the views and enjoy a rest on reaching the top before whizzing your way downhill back to Kuala Kubu Bharu.
Distance covered: Approximately 80km
Challenge level: Moderate to tough

MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore

Coast to coast, Singapore

Crossing a whole island might sound like a feat reserved for experienced cyclists, but there’s a dedicated route in Singapore that even a first-timer can navigate happily over the course of a day. At a starting point that’s a 25-minute drive west of Mandarin Oriental, Singapore in Jurong Lake Gardens, this 36km trail connects some of the city’s best parks and nature reserves on its way to the finish line at Coney Island. As well as the views out across MacRitchie Reservoir and Bukit Batok Nature Park’s crystal-clear waters, the route also passes Adam Road – where the quality street food of the hawker centre is roughly at the halfway point of your route, making it an ideal stopping point for a well-earned refuel.
Distance covered: Approximately 36km
Challenge level: Mild to moderate

Washington Monument

The National Mall, Washington D.C.

Home to some of the USA’s most celebrated monuments, and cultural institutions, taking on the grandeur of the National Mall is a must-do for visitors to Washington D.C. But why not zip between its sightseeing stops by bike? Saddle up at Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. and head out on the cycle paths towards the Jefferson memorial. After crossing the Ohio Drive bridge and continuing along the banks of the Potomac River, you’ll reach the Lincoln Memorial. With monuments to the 3rd and 16th presidents ticked off, it’s time to travel along the tree-lined paths in the direction of the Washington Monument. The possibilities from here-on include taking in the National Gallery of Art’s collection, or surveying the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which includes Neil Armstrong’s helmet for the moon landing. Cultural fix almost complete, you’ll can finish your ride with a visit to the Capitol, and a selfie to show that you cycled it all.
Distance covered: Approximately 15km
Challenge level: Mild

Cerro San Cristobal, Santiago

Santiago Metropolitan Park, Santiago

With the snow-capped Andes to the east, you can enjoy views of mountains from almost everywhere in the Chilean capital, and from most parts of downtown, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see the city’s own peak, the towering Cerro San Cristóbal. Today, mountains are generally home to mountain bike trails, and the city’s Metropolitan Park, which includes San Cristóbal, is no exception. The park has three different downhill trails to choose between, within easy reach from your base at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago, and each starts from the Mirador Pablo Neruda Amphitheater. Beginners are catered for with the Zorzal or Amphitheatre trails, while the snaking bends of the S route can be tackled by riders with a bit of off-road experience.
Distance covered: Approximately 5km
Challenge level: Mild to moderate

Sun deck and sea at Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum

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