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Blazing new trails by mountain bike

Sandstone heaven: on the rocks in Cappadocia     Photo: Abrahm Lustgarten

RIDING THE RUGGED NORTHEAST [PORTUGAL]
A good set of knobbies and generous helpings of local beef and nightly port will help you tackle this eight-day inn-to-inn tour through Portugal's wild northeast corner. Dodge cows on Roman pathways, follow craggy singletrack alongside the Douro River, and spin along trails once used by smugglers trafficking coffee beans to Spain. The grand finale is the wide-open wilderness of the remote Serra da Malcata—land of pine-topped peaks, wild boar, and little else. OUTFITTER: Saddle Skedaddle Tours, 011-44191-2651110, www.skedaddle.co.uk. WHEN TO GO: May-July. PRICE: $1,120. DIFFICULTY: strenuous. MOUNTAIN-BIKING CAPPADOCIA [TURKEY]
In our opinion, any trip that starts off with two nights in a traditional cave hotel has promise. See for yourself on this six-day, 180-mile ride through Cappadocia in central Turkey. Thank three-million-year-old volcanic eruptions for the otherworldly terrain: impossibly narrow sandstone spires (called fairy chimneys) and towns that plunge 20 floors underground. Happily, the riding is as varied as the views. You'll pedal along dry riverbeds, slickrock, and narrow jeep tracks en route to each day's destination—luxe campsites or charming village inns. OUTFITTER: KE Adventure Travel, 800-497-9675, www.keadventure.com. WHEN TO GO: May. PRICE: $1,695. Difficulty: strenuous.

SECRET SINGLETRACK [BOLIVIA]
It was only a matter of time before Bolivia's ancient network of farm trails, winding from village to village high in the Andes, found a modern purpose: mountain biking. On this new 14-day singletrack tour through the Cordillera Real near La Paz, intermediate riders can rocket down 17,000-foot passes, contour around extinct volcanoes, and rack up an epic grand-total descent of 54,000 feet. Nights are spent camping at Lake Titicaca and in local pensions like the Hotel Gloria Urmiri, where natural hot springs await. OUTFITTER: Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking, 011-591-2-2313-849, www.gravitybolivia.com. WHEN TO GO: May-September. PRICE: $1,750. DIFFICULTY: strenuous.

COPPER CANYON EXPEDITION [MEXICO]
There's lots to love about the 6,000-foot descent into Mexico's Copper Canyon by bike—and gravity is only part of it. Get down in one piece and you'll have a week's worth of technical riding ahead of you in a canyon four times the size of Arizona's Grand. Cool your toes on fast, fun river crossings near the village of Cerro Colorado, visit the indigenous Tarahumara, and bunk down in a restored hacienda built into the canyon walls. OUTFITTER: Worldtrek Expeditions, 800-795-1142, www.adventurebiketours.com. WHEN TO GO: September-April. PRICE: $1,599. DIFFICULTY: strenuous.

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