How is seeing Iran on two wheels

May 7, 2022 - 17:3

TEHRAN - Professional bikers say cycling brings you nearer to the land and its people than just about any other style of traveling; since you control the pace, you have a chance to feel the changing landscapes or stop at a friendly café or whenever you like.

Pedaling is an awe-inspiring way to experience Iran for all sorts of bikers whether you want to find an easy ride or puzzling routes to test your cardio. On your way, you may discover paddy fields, bustling streets, wild mountain landscapes, or rural villages to name a few. You may opt to stay in local homes and spend time with Iranian families, sharing their homes, their delicious meals, and their stories as well.

Such a biking holiday takes you right into a modern-meets-ancient world to discover astounding ruins, labyrinthine bazaars, barren deserts, seashores, and Persian gardens.

The majority of Iranians shower travelers with hospitality, considering them as honored guests and want their guests to feel welcomed. In particular, villagers and nomads are fairly welcoming and might farewell you with a pot of their own produced dairy or bread. Lonely Planet has named Iran the most rewarding destination on Earth because of this generous hospitality.

It is probable to bike Iran in any season. Thus preferred and safe options are spring and autumn to avoid extremes in temperature. Experts say the best time to cycle in central and southern Iran is from November to April. January and February are appropriate to discover the islands in the Persian Gulf. Besides, the cool mountain regions in the northwest call you for the most pleasant cycling during the summer.

The bad news is that the Iranian land is mostly raised, elevated, and hilly. So cyclists should be well prepared to be riding up and down hills most of the time!  However, the good news is almost all roads across the country are sealed with asphalt with ridable shoulders on the bigger routes. Moreover, there is a comprehensive network of secondary paved roads that offer you alternatives to the main highways if you wish to escape the traffic and noise.

Many cyclists choose to take a route through central Iran from Tehran and head southward to Kashan, Isfahan, Shiraz then loop back to Yazd. Tehran and other metropolises are notorious for their heavy traffic jams and reckless drivers, however, there are many other destinations a little off the beaten track. Outside the big cities, cyclists will mostly have the roads to themselves. Here is a selection of cycling routes:

Lar National Park

Cycling in the Lar National Park at the foot of Damavand Mountain equals a combination of excitement and rich nature. The best time to visit this protected area is in the spring when flora and fauna are in their best condition and you can take extraordinary photos there.

Slight challenges such as climbing hills and crossing rivers may undoubtedly be a memorable experience for you.

Qeshm Island

Home to pristine nature, Qeshm is the largest island in the Persian Gulf. Tourists may cycle across the 270-kilometer island enjoying numerous attractions such as the Valley of the Stars, the Salt Cave, the mangrove forests, and scenic beaches.

Due to the hot and humid climate of Qeshm, winter is the best time for cycling on the island.

Maranjab desert

An ideal place for cyclists, the Maranjab desert is located some 60 km northeast of Kashan and is one of the most visited deserts in the Iranian plateau.

The diversity of plants and animals, as well as attractions such as Salt Lake, make this desert one of the most popular destinations for adventurers and among the best cycling routes in Iran. You may spend the night in Maranjab caravanserai, which dates some 400 years.

Gisoom Beach

Sandwiched between the Caspian Sea and rugged mountains, Gisoom is one of the most beautiful and peaceful parks in Iran. The asphalt path of this forest passes in a spiral in the middle of the tall green trees, which have caused a lot of shade and often have foggy weather.

You may feel that you are the only one present in this forest, although you may also encounter some harmless animals.

Abr Forest

If you have always dreamed of cycling or hiking in the clouds, you can live your dream in the Abr Forest!

Abr Forest is situated almost on the border of Semnan and Golestan provinces and is known by this name because most of the time the space of this forest is covered by an ocean of clouds. In this forest, the clouds are so close to the trees that you can walk through the clouds.

Kordestan province

The western Kordestan province is known for its captivating and stunning nature. Cycling on the Zagros mountain range will be interesting and memorable for any biker due to the pristine nature, the remote villages, and the hospitable people of Kurdestan, and their extraordinary culture creates happy moments for them.

Due to the rugged terrain and steep slopes in this part of Iran, more experience is recommended for cycling. We suggest starting from Uraman Takht, a village on a mountain slope, and pedaling to the south of the province.

Caspian Sea coast

It is a green route about 750 km long that starts from the coastal city of Astara moving along the Caspian coast until it reaches Gorgan in the northeast.

The route offers you a combination of diverse nature and cultures while crossing the small villages and towns.

Kish Island

Situated in the stunning Persian Gulf, Kish is a vast island suitable to be explored by bicycle.

It has special cycling routes to make it easier and safer. Nights would be the best time for cycling there, however, cycling or strolling along the beaches during the day would be memorable as well.

What makes Iran a unique place to go cycling is not the lavish historical monuments, jagged mountains, dense forests, sea coasts, lush plains, or empty deserts but its captivating culture and people who believe “guest is God’s friend”.

AFM

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