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10 abandoned railways to be cycled

The evolution in transportation, the revolution of the tire and the consequent abandon of the railways, during the years, has brought to a transformation: some abandoned railways have been requalified, becoming a cycle and walking paths. In Italy too this small change has brought to a form of development in bicycle touring: when there is a safe path people come and visit, tourism develops and grows...

The cycle paths usually develop on abandoned railways away from the main roads, on dirt, rocks, and gravel. Usually, it's simple cycle paths on panoramic sites, tracks without substantial climbs and never boring to be cycled. In order to deal with them, however, in the majority of the cases, it's better to be equipped correctly, to prevent minor accidents and injuries during the ride.

What to carry

When you decide to ride on an old abandoned railway you have to consider the itinerary: some are completely offroad, so it's advisable to ride a mountain or trekking bike with adequate tires; some others are completely on asphalt and easily doable on a road bike. before leaving for this adventure, dress properly in bike shorts, shoes and comfortable clothes, which you can buy discounted from Nike Store Advisato, where some serious discounts are usually updated.
Don't forget your helmet, a backpack with a pump, a spare inner tube, and a snack in case of sudden hunger. Now you are ready to live a new adventure, choosing between these 10 routes I suggest you hereafter.

Spoleto - Norcia (Italy)

Length: 51 km circa | region Umbria (Italy)
The suggestive railway Spoleto - Norcia has been completely converted in a cycle and walking path and does not include serious climbs. It penetrates the heart of Umbria in Nature following the abandoned railway stations, some tunnels, and picturesque small villages. I suggest pedaling on the Spoleto - Norcia with a mountain bike or a bicycle touring bike with bicycle touring tires.
3 places not to miss
Spoleto:
the city of the Spoleto Festival (of the Two Worlds), with its Rocca Albornoziana, the historical center and the Cathedral of 1067.
National Park of Sibillini Mountains:
with the Castelluccio plain extending over Norcia and its valley.
All the small villages:
in the valley, you won't decide which is better, on their mountain over the river.

spoleto norcia ex ferroviaDobbiaco - Calalzo di Cadore (Italy)

Length: 65 km circa | region Alto Adige-Veneto (Italy)
The old Dolomites railway, now a cycle path, explores the peaks of the Dolomites, in Alto Adige, Cortina, and Calalzo di Cadore, in Veneto, through the easy Passo di Cimabanche. The path doesn't present any difficulty and the panorama is without any doubt amazing. In order to cycle on this path, with some gravel roads, I suggest using a mountain bike or a bicycle touring bike with bicycle touring tires.
3 places not to miss
Val Pusteria:
one of the most beautiful valleys in the Dolomites.
Cortina d'Ampezzo:
it's not the most beautiful city in the Alps, but the scenery surrounding it is breathtaking.
The Cadore Valley:
amazing with its tunnel on the abandoned railway and the small villages.

Roger Lapébie (France)

Length: 46 km circa | Gironde (France)
The old railway path of Roger Lapébie, the name inspired by the famous French cyclist, connects Bordeaux to Sauveterre in the French region of Aquitaine. From the East side of the Garonne river, you continue towards the East in idyllic views. Over the railway, now cycle path, you can keep traveling until.
3 places not to miss
Bordeaux:
in the UNESCO World Heritage List, it's one of the most beautiful cities in France with its elegant doors, churches and the lights of Place de la Bourse.
The Abbey of La Sauve-Majeure:
founded in 1079, this Benedictine building in Romanesque style is a real pearl.
Sauveterre-de-Guyenne:
1800 inhabitants and a beautiful historic center. From here you can pedal along the Garonne river.

Aachen-Troisvierges (Germany-Belgium-Luxembourg)

Length: 125 km circa | Germany - Belgium - Luxembourg
The Vennbahn cycle route is one of the longest abandoned railways reconverted into a cycle path in Europe. With a medium ascent of 2%, it runs across Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg for a total length of 125 km, from Aachen to Troisvierges.
3 places not to miss
Aachen:
it boasts a very eye-catching gothic cathedral, a fish market in one of the oldest houses of the place and some ruins of the old walls.
Monschau:
city in the northern Rhineland at the border with Belgium, it is dominated by the castle of XIII century of the Duchies of Jülich.
The lakes of Weiswampach:
a wonderful area of Luxembourg to camp in and enjoy the Nature.
Vennbahn radweg wikipedia

Ruwer-Hochwald (Germany)

Length: 50 km circa | Moselle Valley (Germany)
The old abandoned railway of Ruwer - Hochwald, converted in cycle path, connects the Moselle Valley and the hights of Hunsrück. Cycling along this path, you will cross numerous bridges on the river and some wine areas from Ruwer to Hermeskeil.
3 places not to miss
Grimburg:
the rests of a castle of old times, a mysterious and suggestive place.
Trier:
a beautiful Roman city where you can visit the old amphitheater, the cathedral, the Nigra door, and many other historic buildings.
The witch's cross:
this cross, 400 years old, attests the period of the witch hunting and burning of the area.

Great Western Greenway (Ireland)

Length: 42 km circa | Mayo County (Ireland)
The dirt road track connects Westport to Achill along the old railway built in 1890 and abandoned in 1937.
3 places not to miss
Clew Bay:
this particular bay extends for 25 km and counts numerous islands (people say 117). The most panoramic point on the bay is Croagh Patrick, the sacred mountain of Irish.
Mulranny:
242 inhabitants, it's the access to the island of Achill, the biggest of Ireland.
Newport:
it's characterized by an old bridge made of bricks, the old St. Patrick's church and the Rockfleet Castle.

Otago Central Rail Trail (New Zealand)

Length: 150 km | Otago (New Zealand)
The old railway Otago Central Rail Trail connecting Middlemarch to Clyde is now a desired destination for many walkers and bicycle travelers. To be cycled in 2-3 days.
3 places not to miss
Tunnels, viaducts, landscapes:
along the Otago Central Rail Trail you will find many evocative views with old railway tunnels and a very adventurous road.
Ophir:
tiny little village between Alexandra and Ranfurly where someone found gold.
Strath Taieri:
the big glacial valley where you will find the city of Middlemarch.

otago central rail trail in biciAmy Gillett Bikeway (Australia)

Length: 17 km | Adelaide (Australia)
With its only 17 km, this railway in the South of Australia has been reconverted in walking/bicycle/horse riding path. The first part is open only since 2010. The old Mount Pleasant railway line connects Oakbank to Charleston reaching 498 m as the highest point.
3 places not to miss
Oakbank:
in Adelaide's hills, it's famous for the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival.
Melba's chocolate industry:
it's a place where to get lost in sweets from Adelaide's hills.
Vineyards and wine:
the hills in Adelaide are well known for wine production.

amy gillett bikeway wikipediaLittle Miami Scenic Trail (U.S.A.)

Length: 125,7 km | Ohio (U.S.A.)
With its 126 km, the Little Miami Scenic Trail is the third in length asphalted cycle path in the United States. It connects Springfield to Newtown along the Little Miami river: you can follow the signs of the State Bike Route 1 and the State Bike Route 3.
3 places not to miss
Fort Ancient:
you can breathe the culture and the traditions of the native villages.
Little Miami Railroad:
the rests of the old railway, all to be cycled.
John Bryan State Park:
rich in paths to walk on or ride through on a mountain bike: nature, falls and tranquillity.

Ferrocarríl de Cuernavaca (Mexico)

Length: 90 km | Mexico City (Mexico)
From the train station in Lomas, every cyclist can ride on the old Ferrocarril di Cuernavaca path, running along the old trails for 90 km.
3 places not to miss
Mexico City:
the capital of Mexico and one of its most beautiful cities. The calle in the city center talk about Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo but also the photographer Tina Modotti.
Parque Nacional Cumbres del Ajusco:
near the capital city, its heights reach 3900m. It boasts a very variegated flora and fauna.
Lomas and Coyoacán:
in this area of Mexico you will find the first bike stations built in an urban context dedicated to eco-tourism.
otago rail trail nuova zelanda

 

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Francesco Gozzelino

ITA - Ho 31 anni e sono piemontese, anche se da qualche anno vivo e lavoro in Lombardia. Dopo un inizio da totale inesperto in questo campo, mi sono avvicinato al mondo dei cicloviaggi e della bicicletta sempre più. Oggi posso definirmi "cicloviaggiatore", e assieme all'altra mia passione - il videomaking - non mi fermerei mai! Cyclo ergo sum, pedalo quindi sono, per cercare di capire perché andare in bici sia così bello, terapeutico, ricco... E ogni volta che provo a capirlo, non ce la faccio, e sono costretto a ripartire sui pedali!

ENG - I'm from Piedmont and I'm 31 years old, I have been living and working in Lombardy for a few years. After a start without any competence in this field, I then approached the bicycle world more and more. Today I can call myself a bicycle traveller and videomaker who would never ever stop. Cyclo ergo sum, I cycle therefore I am. I ride my bike trying to understand why it is so beautiful, rich, therapeutic. And every time I try, I do not understand it. So I must leave again...

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