What better way to intimately connect with a destination, whether far-flung or close-at-hand, than straddling a bicycle saddle? With the slow pace of cycling, you become acutely aware of your surroundings: the scent of conifer trees, the sight of locals working the rice fields, the chorus of cicada sounds, or the bracing chill from a salty breeze. Some places, such as Amsterdam, France’s Loire Valley, or Copenhagen, take center stage as being ultra bike-friendly. But, though not as well-recognized, there are other bike-worthy parts of the world that merit exploring. Madagascar, South Korea and the Azores are three exotic gems that share their own piece of paradise with cyclists. I recently wrote about these and other bikeable destinations for the Evening Standard-The Independent.