Life is not the dreams you have, but the dreams you realize
Bike-Dreams organises adventurous and challenging bicycle expeditions for enthusiastic cyclists from all around the world.
_We started in the autumn of 2006 to organise “Paris-Dakar”, an expedition of 7.200 kilometers. A group of 21 persons cycled in ten weeks all the way between Paris and Dakar. We went back to the Senegalese capital in 2007 and 2009. After 11 years we plan to go back to Dakar.
You can see that we keep on cycling, dreaming and changing our program to make it interesting for you as well for us.
Over the years we have welcomed people from all over the world. Males and females. Plumbers, doctors, housewives, lawyers, retired persons, bank employees, students and everything in between.
It were fascinating years with many great moments, exciting stories and we got to know wonderful people. You can be one of them..._
France & Italy
15 days (Bike: 12 days)
1100 km (~92km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
Every cycling fan knows Milano-San Remo, the first real major classic race of the cycling season.
The start is since 1907 traditionally at the beginning of spring, and is therefore nicknamed La Primavera.
The riders leave from Milan in a southerly direction on the flat, straight roads of the Po Plain. Just before the peloton reaches the Mediterranean Sea, the highest point of the course is crossed at the Passo del Turchino. The moderate climb of only 532 meters is just before the middle of the race and is taken by all professional cyclists in the biggest chainring.
During the second half of the race, the riders follow the coastal road of the Italian Flower Riviera at high speed. Also here the course is almost flat, except for the Cipressa and Poggio which can determine the race for some brave attackers in the final. But it is more than once that these well-known climbs are not hard enough, and that the race ends after almost 300 kilometers within 7 hours in a sprinter's ball on the Via Roma in San Remo.
Our version of Milan-San Remo starts at the beginning of the summer season. Probably you will get some beautiful sunny days, but keep in mind : the weather conditions in the mountains can always be unsettled. The circumstances can become heroic if you reach altitudes above 2.000 metres.
"Milano-San Remo" is a physical challenge in a fantastic environment. A wonderful alternative route to cycle from Milan to San Remo. No straight roads over the Po Plain or busy roads along the coast, but a magnificent route with quietly winding roads, through unknown places and above all, over legendary cols. La Via Alternativa.
41 days (Bike: 34 days)
4176 km (~123km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
Every keen cyclist can name several legendary cols of the Tour de France. You know the famous climbs in the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Mont Ventoux, the giant of the Provence.
Perhaps you have already done them. But sometimes when you watch the Tour on television, you think : "Where is that col?". "I don't know that climb".
France has much more to offer, than only the "big" well-known names. A large part of the country is rolling, hilly or mountainous. Cols and côtes everywhere.
A Dutch foundation started in 1979 an initiative to link a large number of climbs in France together and called it : "The 100 Cols Tour". The route has undergone several changes over the years to make the tour more attractive and more challenging. The foundation uses two captions in their description of the tour "it's the toughest bicycle tour in the world" and "it's also the most beautiful bicycle tour in the world".
The route is a succession of wonderful landscapes, quiet nature parks, little picturesque villages, stunning views, and of course countless little côtes and challenging cols.
We start our tour near Strasbourg, in the north western point of the loop. We climb some little cols in the Vosges before we make a diagonal crossing through France. Via the Beaujolais region and the Massif Central we end up in the Basque provinces near the Spanish border. All major Pyrenees cols are waiting.
The highest of the Cevennes, Mont Aigoual, and the highest of the Provence, the Mont Ventoux, are of course part of the tour. It are not only the highest cols which we pass, also many other, less known, cols are included throughout the entire tour.
The famous cols in the Alps bring us to altitudes far above 2.000 meter which guarantees splendid views. We head further north through the Jura including the wonderful hairpin climb of the Grand Colombier. And the tour isn't complete before we have done the Grand Ballon and the Ballon d'Ascase in the Vosges. Not one single flat boring stage.
17 days (Bike: 13 days)
1100 km (~85km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
The Dolomites. The mountain range in the north of Italy features some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys.
The charming peaks are renowned for their enchanting shapes and colour: changing at down and rose at sunset. The inhabitants have created over the centuries an impressive network of breathtaking roads to travel from one valley to another with dozens of passo's in between.
It's not only the serene beauty, it's also the gripping past, which are mentioned when you read about the Dolomites. The mountains always formed a natural and linguistic border since the Middle Ages. It's most tragic period was during World War I when the front line between Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces passed exactly through the mountain range. The static warfare of almost 4 years had a fatal ending for ten thousands of soldiers, who died more often from hunger and cold than from hostile projectiles.
Fortunately there have been fought more peaceful battles over the last century when the Giro d'Italia passed by. The Dolomites form the inspiring décor when the 3 weeks cycling race comes to its climax and the riders fight for a stage win or their ranking in the G.C. Spectacle guaranteed.
Bike-Dreams has linked the majority of the most famous passes of the Dolomites together in a wonderful, but also demanding, two weeks tour. Passo Pordoi, Passo di Giau, Passo di Fedaia, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Passo di Gavia, Passo dello Stelvio and a lot more. Tutti Dolomiti. Challenge guaranteed.
The start and finish of Tutti Dolomiti is in Verona. The city's history dates back to the Romans and it is nowadays a delight of medieval palaces, winding streets, elegant churches and ancient ruins. Verona was for Shakespeare's the setting of Romeo and Juliet, a lovely place to start.
The abundance of culture makes soon place for lush fields and gentle hills filled with vineyards. No time for culture any more, only time for sweat. The hills become mountains, the panorama's get better and better, the climbs get steeper, and the conditions get tougher. You cycle in the heart of one of world's best cycling Mecca's : the Dolomites.
17 days (Bike: 13 days)
1200 km (~92km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
Italy has an abundance of historical places, magnificent landscapes, charming villages and challenging climbs. One big jewel box. Gems everywhere.
During the compilation of "La Bella Italia" we couldn't include them all. So, that's why we return to find more jewels. This time we don't cross the country from south to north, but from coast to coast. From the idyllic Tyrrhenian Sea to the sandy beaches of the Adriatic Sea.
The Tirreno-Adriatico for professional cyclists was organized in 1966 for the first time and took only three days. After almost 50 years it has grown into a prestigious cycle race of seven days.
We are not going to race; we want to enjoy cycling, have time for a gelati and cappuccino, and take a look at the places of interest along the road. A week is definitely not enough to include all gems. That's why we have made a 15 days tour of it.
Our Tirreno-Adriatico starts - a bit farther north as usual - in Genoa at the Ligurian Sea. We leave the big harbour city quickly and cycle through the hills with spectacular views over the Italian Riviera. The coastline gets more and more picturesque when we come closer to the Cinque Terre, the five small villages which cling to the Ligurian cliffs above the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. The tour continues over the slopes of old marble mountains near Carrara before we arrive at the flatter area around Lucca. Of course we may not miss the leaning tower of Pisa which is world famous and one of Italy's best known icons.
We head further inland and travel through a wonderful Tuscan countryside to Siena, where we have planned the first rest day. And this time we don't forget to cycle through the eye-catching hill town of San Gimignano, nicknamed the Manhattan of the Medieval. We might even take some of the white gravel roads in heart of Tuscany; the roads which form the illustrious décor of the Strade Bianche.
We cycle along the shores of Lago Trasimena before we arrive in Perugia and Assisi; two ancient places in the centre of Umbria which we may not be missed on our coast-to-coast ride. It are definitely not only historic towns and small hills which we find on our way. The middle of Italy is dominated by the Apennines which guarantee serious climbs, definitely when we cycle over the slopes of Gran Sasso d'Italia, the highest peak with nearly 3.000 meters.
The second rest day we spend in Sulmona which has an atmospheric medieval core and is nestled in a valley with the Morrone massif as a backdrop. We cross the Maiella National Park where we have some challenging climbs which are many times included in the Tirreno-Adriatico race. We leave the Apennine Mountains behind in the last two stages, but the course is still tough with short hills till the end in San Benedetto del Tronto. The beach place is the location where the race finishes traditionally and where the blue water of the Adriatic Sea is waiting to relax the tired cycling muscles.
Crocus Cross Country
7 days (Bike: 5 days)
522 km (~104km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
Every cyclist is familiar with the period that daylight gets slowly longer, the first little flowers pop up and the cycling muscles are longing to some extra exercise.
Too many months without a serious challenge and often eating just a little too much. Why not an unusual challenge at the end of the winter season when you feel that the sun gets stronger? Criss-cross through the woods and straight across the moorland. Enjoy the winter days to the max and in the evening hours a delicious dinner with cycling friends. We would like to welcome you to the Crocus Cross Country.
We organize the "Crocus Cross Country" in the Netherlands, traversing the entire country from North to South; completely cross country. And in the Netherlands there is no better route than to follow the number one among the hiking trails: the Pieterpad.
The path runs from Pieterburen at the Wadden Sea in northern Groningen to the Sint-Pietersberg in South Limburg. It meanders through the rich clay in Groningen, the sandy soils of Drenthe, the Sallandse Heuvelrug, the leafy Achterhoek, the Montferland and finally the elongated, varied Limburg. Each region has its own landscapes, characteristics and picturesque spots.
The Pieterpad uses the smaller unpaved roads and hiking trails as much as possible. The route often runs through beautiful forest areas where we are somewhat sheltered from winterly conditions. But as soon as the landscape opens up and changes to moors or meadows, an icy easterly wind can still pop up. The rhyme shimmers lightly on the roofs when we get on our bikes in the morning and the sun climbs slowly above the horizon. The crocuses and winter bells popping up above the cold ground. You can hear the gravel, the fallen leaves, and maybe even snow, softly crackling under your tires when you cycle almost alone through the deserted landscape. Simply wonderful. There will be moments that you can imagine yourself in the middle of a fairy-tale landscape of Anton Pieck, but certainly also moments of awful suffering when the weather gods are less favourable to us. A feeling that every experienced cyclist will recognize.
As you can imagine, at this time of the year the cycling conditions are not the most ideal, when even frost is possible. Good warm cycling gear is therefore a must to enjoy the tour. Precipitation in the form of rain and maybe snow is certainly not excluded. Good or bad weather, we make sure that your engine keeps running well and that a delicious dinner, a hot shower and a comfortable bed in a luxurious hotel is waiting at the end of the day. Luxury that you absolutely deserve after an active day outdoors in winter wonderland.
The Andes Trail
Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador & Peru
141 days (Bike: 109 days)
11000 km (~101km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
From the middle to the end of the world in 11.000 kilometres.
Most people have seen the famous pictures of South America. The ruins of the Incas surrounded by rainforest and deep valleys. Snow covered summits and volcanic cones. Indians in colourful traditional costumes. Magnificent granite pillars. Vast white salt plains and immense glaciers. South-America has so much more to offer. Bike Dreams has created a wonderful route which incorporates many attractions allowing you to experience the full beauty of the South American continent. We would like to introduce an incredible bike expedition : "The Andes Trail", from the middle to the end of the world in 11.000 kilometres.
The Mitad-del-Mundo monument at the equator marks the start line of this epic journey. The first stages in Ecuador you cycle through the mountainous heart of the country and pass sleeping volcanoes. Isolated areas and tough climbs await you in Peru, but you don't have to miss the highlights of Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. You'll bike at high altitudes at the altiplano in Bolivia.
Crossing the flat plateau with little oxygen, herds of llama and vague tracks on the white salt of the Salar-de-Uyuni makes the cycling a surrealistic experience. The trail drops further down into Argentina with a mix of landscapes : coloured canyons, giant cacti, green valleys, the pampas and the Aconcagua - the highest mountain of the American continent. You cross the Argentinean-Chilean border more than once to experience the best of which Patagonia has to offer : crystal blue lakes, impressive glaciers, green forests and craggy, granite peaks. The finishing line of this grandiose bike ride is drawn in Ushuaia, the most southern city on the globe, the entrance gate to Antarctica and called the Fin-del-Mundo. The "End-of-the-World".
The start of "The Andes Trail" is at July 29th, 2022 from the equator, just outside Quito. The finish is 140 days later and 11.000 kilometres (6.875 miles) further south in Ushuaia at December 15th, 2022.
You can expect all kinds of conditions along the trail. The majority of the roads is nicely paved, but you come also across some rough roads with washboards, rocks and loose sand. The weather conditions can also vary enormously in the Andes. Although we have chosen the best season, intense heat, severe rain showers, freezing temperatures and fierce wind are still possible. The high altitudes give an extra dimension to the tour. Anyway, smooth roads or dirt tracks, good or bad weather; it is all part of the game. You cover the kilometres within your own capabilities and in a pace you determine. This means that you can take it easy and enjoy the beauty of the Andes in all her facets. The landscape, the culture and the people.
"The Andes Trail" is more than just a normal bike ride. It's a combination of the physical challenge, the adventure, the appreciation of the natural beauty and above all, a mental freedom. Next to that, the bike journey is open for cyclists from all around the world to create an exceptional atmosphere, during as well as after the bike ride. The people of the Andes and your fellow-cyclists will make it a memorable journey.
The Great Divide
USA & Canada
52 days (Bike: 45 days)
2835 mi (~63mi per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
The American cycling Dream: crossing the United States by bicycle.
Many riders have cycled the United States from East to West or the other way around. Of course, a great achievement.
It is probably a bigger challenge to traverse the United States from North to South over the dirt roads of the Rocky Mountains, following the Continental Divide. The divide of roughly 2,800 miles between Canada and Mexico splits the North American Continent in two. Drops of rain that fall on your left side flow into the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. Drops on your right side will find their way to the Pacific. The drops of sweat from your brow will evaporate in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains or fall to the trail and eventually make their way to one of the two great Oceans. This is the trail of “The Great Divide” !!!
In 1998, the Adventure Cycling Association developed and published the world’s longest off-pavement cycling route and called it “The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route”. The original route starts in Banff, Canada, zigzags along the Continental Divide, climbs over isolated passes and finishes in Antelope Wells at the border of Mexico.
The Great Divide takes you through a wide variety of terrain and geographic features. You cycle through isolated river valleys, mountain forests, wide open grasslands, high desert, alpine wilderness, and, at the end of the ride, a section of the Chihuahuan Desert. Along the way you can expect to meet cowboys who drive their cattle across the prairie. You will cycle through pristine woods full of deer and elk, and of course there is always some trepidation that you may stand face-to-face with a grizzly bear. Colorado's Indiana Pass is the highest point on the route at 11,910 feet.
Andorra, France, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Spain & Western Sahara
74 days (Bike: 61 days)
7200 km (~118km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
Paris-Dakar is more than just a "normal" bike ride.
The first Paris-Dakar started in 1979. By car as you probably know. During the next decennia this rally grew into a world-class event without equal. In the course of years loads of people have been attracted to accomplish this journey mostly on motorized vehicles. We offer you the possibility to experience this extraordinary dream on your bike. You will taste the sweetness of completing this wonderful ride on a bicycle.
Out of Paris we will follow peaceful roads to show you the most beautiful places of France. Via the mountain Princedom of Andorra in the Pyrenees we drop down in the rough inner lands of Spain to continue further south. The fast ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar gains you access to the immense African continent. Morocco offers fascinating cities of former Kings, valleys of dates, oasis and the rugged landscape of the Atlas Mountains. The journey continues by traversing the Sahara via the Atlantic Route, where we will experience the emptiness of Mauritania and sleep below breath-taking starry skies. The finish lies in the most western point of Africa, Dakar, the capital of Senegal.
Paris-Dakar is a journey through different cultures, sceneries and climates. You cycle from the catwalk in Paris to the little huts below baobab trees in Senegal. Rolling hills, burning sun, spectacular down hills, winds blowing from all directions, roads with potholes, pouring rain, tarmac like silk, freezing temperatures in the night and forties in the desert, challenging mountains and everlasting flats.
The start of the 4th edition of "Paris-Dakar" is September 5th, 2021 at the base of the Eiffel Tower. More than ten weeks later, on November 16th, 2021 you arrive after 7.200 kilometres (4.500 miles) with a great feeling of satisfaction in Dakar.
Paris-Dakar is more than just a "normal" bike ride. It's a combination of the physical challenge, the appreciation of the natural beauty, the view of the cultural inheritance and above all a mental freedom. Next to that, the bike journey is open for cyclists from all around the world to create an exceptional atmosphere, during as well as after the bike ride.
Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland & United Kingdom
22 days (Bike: 18 days)
1900 km (~106km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Dreams
Everything you've heard about Ireland is true: it's a stunner. The locals need little prodding to proclaim theirs the most beautiful land in the world, and can support their claim with many examples.
Everyone will argue over the must-sees, but you can't go wrong if you put the loneliness of Connemara, the fabulous ruins of Ireland's rich monastic past, the dramatic wildness of Donegal, the majestic Cliffs of Moher, the world-famous scenery of the counties of Kerry and Cork, the breath-taking monuments of prehistoric Ireland and the celebrated Causeway Coast in the North in one cycling tour. A tour that follows mainly Ireland's spectacular coastal road, which is nicknamed the Wild Atlantic Way.
We start our tour in Dublin, the multi-cultural capital and creative hub of Ireland. When we leave the relatively small capital, the landscape changes dramatically. The route along the spine of the Wicklow Mountains crosses vast moors, bogs and hills, dotted with small lakes. In one of the deep glacial valleys we pass Glendalough with its old churches and monastery.
Quiet country roads bring us along historic sites like the Medieval Mile of Kilkenny, the rock of Cashel and the castle of Blarney, before we end up in Cork. The second city of Ireland is a liberal, youthful and cosmopolitan place with artisan coffee bars and snug pubs with live music on every corner. Ideal for a first rest day.
We cycle for the first time over the marked route of the Wild Atlantic Way in Kinsale. This town is with its picturesque yachting harbour one of many colourful gems strung along the Irish coastline. The cycling route doesn't always stick to the coastal road in the County of Kerry, but tries to find an enjoyable combination between the best scenic roads along the coast, and some challenging climbs over quiet winding roads a bit more inland.
One of the highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way is the ride over the Dingle Peninsula. In the shadow of sacred Mount Brandon lies an ancient landscape of prehistoric ring forts and beehive huts, early Christian chapels, holy crosses and wells, picturesque hamlets and abandoned villages. It's where the land meets the ocean in optima forma.
We head further north, to one of Ireland's blockbuster sights: the Cliffs of Moher. The entirely vertical cliffs rise up from the swells of the great Atlantic Ocean like petrified bulwarks of stone. On top, they are covered with the island's trademark meadows of verdant green grass, while the waters of Galway Bay crash and froth against the stones below.
A second rest day is planned in Galway, which marks the halfway point on the Wild Atlantic Way. The city is wild and bohemian, and at the same time full of culture, artistry, exceptional food and music. Galway is also the gateway to Connemara. This beautiful region is a kaleidoscope of rusty bogs, lonely valleys and shimmering black lakes. At its heart are the Maumturk Mountains and the pewter-tinged quartzite peaks of the Twelve Bens mountain range. In the west of Connemara we pass the lively town of Clifden where we cycle over the Sky Road. Simply put, it's stunning. Very few places in Ireland can match the rugged beauty and range of scenery that can be seen from this loop of just 15 kilometres.
The route winds through the less visited counties of Mayo and Sligo. Mayo is the more rocky of the two, with scraggy peaks, sheer cliffs, heather-covered moors and beautiful offshore islands where life is dictated by the elements. Sligo is more pastoral with lush fields, fish-filled lakes and flat-topped mountains.
We arrive in the northern part of Ireland, Donegal. Untouched and virtually unexplored. It's no wonder Donegal was named the "Coolest Place on the Planet for 2017" by National Geographic Traveller. Nature is spectacular and bracing here. We stay near the sheer granite walls of Sliabh Liag, some of Europe's highest sea cliffs plunging 600 meters to the ceaselessly churning sea.
Almost without noticing we pass a border, the road signs change into miles and the prices into pounds sterling. We are still on the same island, but in another country. This is Northern Ireland, and part of the United Kingdom. A relatively short stage brings us to Derry where a lot of history is to absorb. From a stroll over the 17th century city walls that encircle the city to the memorials and wall paintings which remind on the partition of the island.
The last two stages we cycle completely along the North-Irish coast where we don't miss out on the Giant's Causeway. This spectacular rock formation is one of Ireland's most impressive and atmospheric landscape features, a vast expanse of regular, closely packed, hexagonal stone columns looking for all the world like the handiwork of giants.
We finish our tour at the shipyards of Belfast. The capital of Northern Ireland was once a powerful ship-building centre and the birthplace of the famous doomed ocean liner, the Titanic. A memorable place to finish a memorable cycling journey.
The whole route follows neatly paved and quiet roads. You don't need to expect a lot of long climbs, but Ireland is definitely not flat. The whole route rolls up and down. It"s probably not the daily profile that will scare you, but it might be the strong sea wind that can change an "easy day on paper" into a hard day on the bike. The tour is not without reason called the WILD Atlantic Way. We have planned the tour clockwise, to benefit mostly from the mainly south western winds which blow straight from the Atlantic.
We have chosen to organize the tour in the middle of spring when Ireland shows its best side with a myriad of fresh green colours. Of course we hope for nice sunny days with pleasant temperatures, but rain is never far away. Luckily it are mainly short showers which are followed by a bright sun. You can expect a temperature between 10 and 18 degrees Celsius and it is always wise to have a raincoat handy. Good or bad weather conditions; we make sure that your engines keep on running and that every day a comfortable room with a warm shower is waiting.