The Best Cycling Routes in São Paulo, Brazil

Sao Paulo city |© Diego Torres Silvestre/Flickr
Sao Paulo city |© Diego Torres Silvestre/Flickr
With heavy traffic part and parcel of daily life in São Paulo, a bicycle works well as a way of exploring this enormous city. There are increasing numbers of inner-city bike lanes, but it’s worthwhile planning your cycle route to factor in some of the incredible attractions this diverse city has to offer. Culture Trip explores the top cycle routes in São Paulo according to the exercise app Strava.

Maua Maluco

This route, Maua Maluco, takes you over 60.1 miles (97km) of road out of the city and up above the most important water reservoirs of São Paulo. The road is easy to access with stunning landscapes to enjoy along the way, starkly contrasting to the concrete jungle of São Paulo city. There are a few long climbs that are demanding, yet doable, and the path is also sprinkled with wide bridges and paved with smooth asphalt, making the whole ride a pleasant one.

Volta do Frango

Volta do Frango is a course over 66.3 miles (107 km) of road that offers an exciting and diverse ride. It’s a technical path that is intense in places with various ups and downs with differing inclinations. One segment of the route is known as Sete Curvas, a long, winding climb, and is often considered the main highlight of the course. The route starts in the city, taking you along flat avenues and empty narrow streets, before opening out into green mountains and large, wide farmland.

Estrada Velha Campinas

Covering a distance of 79.8 miles (128.4 km), Estrada Velha Campinas is a long, yet easy-going, route with quality asphalt roads making the whole ride comfortable. The route combines beautiful scenery with several easy climbs, but it’s mostly a flat course tracing over two of the best Brazilian highways, Anhanguera and Bandeirantes. It’s a great option to explore the countryside in the São Paulo state.

Pelotão do Jóquei

Taking the roads next to the river Pinheiros in the city centre, Pelotão do Jóquei is the perfect cycle route to explore within the city and get a feel for just how big São Paulo truly is. It’s one of the most popular routes for group riding in São Paulo and winds over 52.6 miles (84.7km) of inner-city roads, proving an excellent training path for local professionals and amateurs. While some riders whip down this route at incredible speed, take your time to leisurely amble along to take in the city and its hectic, yet exciting, vibe.

Pico do Jaraguá

Follow the route through the city, passing through famous neighbourhoods such as Vila Madalena, known for its numerous bars and buzzing nightlife. The path will lead you out of the city and into the countryside, worlds apart from the heaving hub of the city and onto Pico do Jaraguá, the highest mountain in São Paulo and World Heritage Site nominee. The path is 32.2 miles (52km) with a series of challenging climbs, yet the effort is worth it for unbeatable views over the huge city. It’s not unheard of for gold to be found on this mountain, so keep your eyes out on the way up and back down!

Volta de Cabreúva

Volta de Cabreúva, also known as Volta do Suco, is the ideal route for a total break from the city, taking you down long sweeping roads through forests and open fields. The route follows the Estrada dos Romeiros, a beautiful road which follows the river Tietê and is also a Catholic pilgrimage route. The 112.7-mile (181.4km) path is fringed with tall trees, offers wonderful views and plenty of waterfalls to visit and is pleasant to ride thanks to only few cars being around. Just be careful when leaving São Paulo and reentering the city as the traffic there is heavy and chaotic, requiring extra vigilance.

Volta de Jordanésia

Volta de Jordanésia courses over the two highways Anhanguera and Rodovia dos Bandeirantes, offering a flat route of 61.9 miles (100km) that really allows you to push your limits and pick up speed. The views of the countryside are fantastic, and there are a few easy climbs. The best time to do this course is on the weekends as the weekdays can get very traffic-heavy.

Volta da Interligação Anchieta-Imigrantes

The cycle route Volta da Interligação Anchieta-Imigrantes follows the two main highways in São Paulo that lead to the southern São Paulo beaches, Rodovia dos Imigrantes and Rodovia Anchieta. On sunny days, the views across the forests and mountainous peaks are beautiful, and the 57-mile (91.7km) route includes natural scenery as well as a few city roads. This path is notorious for rain and wind though, so double check the forecast before going.