Ever since we saw that flying bicycle scene in E.T., we’ve desperately wanted to ride a bike through the sky. Finally, the Sky Bike at Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador gives us the chance to fulfil our childhood dream. While we might not be silhouetted against a backdrop of the huge, silvery moon, or carrying a little extra-terrestrial in our basket, this is still an incredible experience. And what it lacks in aliens, it more than makes up for in spectacular scenery and wildlife.
The Sky Bike was inspired by a sketch found in a copy of Popular Mechanics from the 1970s. And let’s be honest, it really is the ultimate bicycle built for two.
You’ll have an incredible time hanging from a cable, spanning across 200 metres of Andean cloud forest. Thus giving you the most incredible treetop views. The experience is offered to residents at Mashpi Lodge – a 3,200 acre luxury biodiversity reserve, which also serves as a starting point. At its highest point, you’ll be pedalling 60 metres above a river gorge.
The trees are home to 500 bird species, many of which are endemic to the cloud forest – like the pleasingly-named Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Because the bike is pretty much silent, there’s a chance to see all kinds of wildlife up close during your sky cycle. Monkeys and exotic butterflies can be spotted in the forest. And if you dare look down, you might even see a puma.
While the cycle takes about ten minutes, end to end. But you can be as leisurely as you like. You can stop along the way to take a closer look at the vegetation and its inhabitants, snap some photos or just soak in the sights.
The Sky Bike is the most amazing way to enjoy Mashpi Lodge’s lush surroundings. We can almost forgive them not having a basket alien as standard. Almost.
The Sky Bike at Mashpi Lodge, 70 miles northwest of Quito, Ecuador.
All year, but July to September are the least rainy months.
What you need to know:
Mashpi is one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. Try one of Mashpi’s 3- or 4-day packages, which include forest expeditions, lectures about wildlife and conservation, and a ride on the Sky Bike.