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The most exciting new signed long distance cycling touring routes, mountain bike trail centres and downhill itineraries for 2017

Tour de Manche cross-channel cycling route opens

Flying in the face of Brexit, a new 1,200km British-French collaboration launches a long-distance cycle touring route between the two countries this summer

Cycle tourists will now be able to follow a unified 1,200km signed cycling route along minor roads and greenways through the beautiful countryside of southern England and northern France.

The route runs from Poole on the Dorset coast to Dorchester, Exeter and Okehampton in Devon, taking in some of the South West's most iconic coastal scenery, as well as the wilds of Dartmoor National Park.

Cyclists then take the ferry across the Channel from Plymouth to Roscoff, riding through the villages and towns of Brittany and Normandy to Cherbourg before taking the ferry back to Poole. Highlights of the signed route include the Bay of Morlaix, the Pink Granite Coast, the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Mont St-Michel and the Jurassic Coast, as well as Dartmoor National Park.

The entire route is split into shorter sections described in detail on a dedicated website in both French and English.

A shorter 450km version called the Petit Tour de Manche includes a stopover in Jersey and includes the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Mont St Michel in Normandy and the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. 


Three more Europhile, trans-European cycle routes

1 North Sea Cycle Route

This epic 6,000km circular route takes you along the coasts of Shetland, Scotland, England, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, finishing with a ferry back to Shetland. 


2 Iron Curtain Trail

From the frosty Norwegian-Russian border in the north, to northern Turkey, this 6,800km trail traces the path of the continent's cold war border. 


3 Eurovelo 6 - European riverways

Totalling some 8,000km this trail starts on the Atlantic coast of France in St Nazaire and follows the great rivers of the Loire, Rhine and Danube across Europe to Constanta in Romania on the Black Sea. 


New York State plans longest single-state bike path in the US

If New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gets his way, the eastern US' New York State is about to become a major new cycle touring hub on the other side of the pond. The new $200 million 350-mile Empire State Trail would connect the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails with New York State Bike Route 9, completing a 750-mile traffic-free, multi-use path from New York City harbour up to the Canadian border near Buffalo. The trail will feature a supplementary map app that connects riders with local B&Bs and restaurants on the route, and is hoped to be complete by 2020.


Portugal adds 924km of Atlantic coastline to European cycle network

You can now ride the entire length of Portugal's coastline, from the Spanish border on its southern Mediterranean coast, to its northern Spanish border on the Atlantic, almost 1,000km away, on signed cycleways. A dedicated website has all the information, maps and downloadable gpx navigation files you need to follow and explore it, with its many highlights including Lisbon, ancient Porto, and the Aveiro District - Portugal's very own 'little Netherlands', not to mention some of Europe's finest beaches and bays. 


Extreme Sports Centre to bring more trails to South Wales

After the opening in 2016 of the 300-acre 417 Project trail centre in the Cotswolds, yet more British trail centre good news has landed, with the proposed 830-acre Extreme Destination development in South Wales. Based around the Circuit of Wales racing circuit, the new sports and leisure facility just north of Ebbw Vale will include mountain bike trails and BMX tracks, as well as more motorsport activities based around the circuit. 


Livigno opens Tutti Frutti Epic trail tour

Launched last year by trials and mountain bike legend Hans Rey, who designed the loop, the Tutti Frutti Epic is a 45km loop, with 3,500m of vertical descent, which includes the best of the flow trails and natural singletrack at the Carosello 3000 Mountain Resort in the Italian resort of Livigno, with the help of the resort's ski uplift infrastructure.