Cycling in India - A Diverse Bicycling Experience
Bored with the conventional tours? Would you rather prefer something that is adventurous? Well, then it is time for you to go old school. Why not hop on your mountain bike and explore the wilderness?
After all, getting down to the bare basics is one of the best ways to enjoy life. Cycling is a refreshing experience. You get to engage your mind, body and soul. It is one such activity that lets you connect to nature and discover yourself. In India, nature is supreme and what better way to travel around exotic places than cycling! While some of the bicycle touring experiences offer breathtaking views of the mountains, others promise you a great time within the magical landscape of the dense forest.
Best Places for Cycling in India:
1. Riding along the beautiful Pangong lake circuit, Ladakh
Image Credit: Sandeep Shande
Riding on the beautiful lands of Ladakh surrounded by snow capped mountains and fresh air will transport you to a world of heavenly bliss. Ladakh is a cycling paradise for all cyclist. It really does not matter if you are an amateur or a hard core cycling buff. If a great time with nature is what thrills you the most, then wait no more, hit the Pangong Lake Circuits of Ladakh, ride through the mountains and the cliffs, and feel free yourself. Refresh, re-energise and rejuvenate.
[Road expeditions are the hottest rage amongst travelers right now, Check out our jeep safari tour in trans Himalaya]
Just watch your steps at the Chang La pass which is one of the highest and most dangerous passes in Ladakh. The ride takes you through along the shores of the lake Pangong, a stretch of road that brings the cyclist in you out in the open. With the view of blue water stretching towards a vast summit on one end and the barren mountains of the Chang Chenmo on the other side, the ride promises to be a breathtaking experience. The circuit of the bicycle tour includes Leh - Karu - Chang-la- Durbuk - Tangse- Luckung- Spangmik and back to Leh.
The route passes through picturesque villages of Shey and Thiksey, and touches Indus valley through the valleys of Chemrey and Sakti. And, Tangse is located just beyond the foot of the pass. However, one of the main attractions of this particular bicycle touring experience is a long basin of inland drainage that is divided by the India and China border. The entire tour lasts for three to four days.
2. Mountain Saga: All the way from Manali to Leh
Image Credit: Deepak Sharma
The thrill of pedaling down the lanes of Manali with cold breeze hitting you is worth a try. Landscapes, a perfect weather condition and the high altitude, what more can a cyclist ask for? The ride from Manali to Leh is beautiful and memorable.
[Enhance your experience with a place nestled in the Kumaon Himalayas with our cycling and hiking tour]
The beautiful route takes you through some of the greatest ranges of the country like the Rohtang La which is 3,979 m high, followed by Pir Panjal, Baralacha La. The great Himalayan range is a beautiful sight that makes you proud and then later comes the other ranges like the Nakeela, Lachulung La and the Taglang La all that forms the Zanskar Range. The tour usually lasts around fifteen days.
Distance: 500 km
3. Entering the region of lush green landscapes, Western Ghats
Image Credit: Motographer
The very thought of spiralling roads, screech of the tires as they pass by the muddy slopes and the greenery that fills up every direction of your sight. These tours are generally held in later weeks of the September where the monsoons would have subsided up to a huge extent, leaving the roads less slippery and cleaner. It starts from Bangalore and covers the following destinations -- Madikeri, Kukke, Sakleshpur, Chikmagalur, Lokavalli, Koppa and Mangalore. It lasts for ten days.
Apart from wildlife sanctuaries, coffee estates and reserve forests, you can also pass through several temples that are shining examples of architecture -- Belur and Halebidu. The cost of the tour varies from time to time depending on the number of people involved and the number of days the entire expedition would last.
Distance: 400 km
4. Biking through mountains of the Spiti Valley
Image Credit: Flip Nomad
The biker in you would definitely fancy a joyful and pleasant ride where the road is rough and challenging. The Spiti Valley is your destination. Apart from the clear skies that make your ride enjoyable, you will also witness several monks along the streets waving their spiritual flags. The weather in the Spiti Valley changes with a blink of an eye but that's the joy of riding a bicycle with such climatic changes.
[Indulge yourself in adventure sports like Paragliding, Skiing, Zorbing and Trekking while exploring Manali and Shimla]
The tour starts from Shimla and moves to Narkanda, Rampur, Rampur, Sarahan, Reckong Peo, Kalpa, Pooh, Nako, Tabo, Kaza, Kaza-ki-kibber-kaza, Losar, Chhatra and back to Manali. The tour lasts for fifteen days. Moreover, the valley has terrain vegetation with climate that is similar to Tibet. The Spiti Valley is located in the Himalayan Mountain ranges that lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Kulu. These trips are organised thrice a year and once in every three months.
Distance: 600 km
5. From deserts to monuments: Jodhpur to Delhi
Image Credit: Michael Foley
The cycling tour begins in Delhi where the passengers as well as their equipments are transferred to Jodhpur via train. The tour starts in Jodhpur and follows along the Sardar Samand Lake. The ride later takes you to Narlai in the ancient town of Pali. While on one end there are hills whereas on the other there is a desert.
Later, we visit the historic town of Kumbalgarh. The sandy desert stretches to the far end and on the other side there are small towns and villages where one can witness the beauty and culture of rural India. The tour then moves to Devigarh and ends at Udaipur. The entire trip lasts around ten days.
Distance: 400 km
6. Embark on a journey through a classic Kerala bike trail
Image Credit: Jon
It's called God’s own country, then why let it plunge to pollution? The sound of the water from far end trickles down your ears and then the intoxicating fragrance in the air makes the trip more splendid. Bike tours in Kerala are held in between August and September every year.
The tour starts from Cochin and moves to Thattakad, Munnar, Thekkady, Vembanad Lake, Marari Beach and ends at Cochin again. It lasts for eight days. Bikers will be cycling in India through diverse landscapes, from lush green forests to breezy beaches.
[Start off your biking trips on the off beaten paths of Kerala with Cycling Tour in Munnar tour]
Apart from traversing through historic towns and relishing some authentic Kerala cuisine, this cycling holiday offers an opportunity to explore the spice capital of the country.
Distance: 400 km
7. Mountains meet the horizon: Corbett, Uttarakhand
Image Credit: Nikhilesh Gargi
Biking on the mountains is in itself a whole new experience. The mountain ranges nestled the greens of the Corbett is the best place for mountain biking. As you cycle by the high mountain ranges, you can explore the deep woods, some of the deserted villages and of course the aesthetic landscapes that will help you realise the incredibility of India.
Biking here is considered a sport with instructors and guides to help you wade through the dense greenery and farmland of the place. The tour starts from Pune and covers the following places – Ramnagar, Siddheshwar Temple and Baur Bridge till you hit Gadgada Forest Check Post. There are a few mildly challenging routes on the way through forest streams and old pathways but they are enjoyable to say the least.
[Also check out the Tiger Safari in Corbett and Rishikesh Rafting tour with our tour package]
As a part of the tour you will also pass through tuny rustic villages, farm sides and forests in and around the park. Apart from cycling alongside the shores and forest streams, you will also bear witness to the beautiful culture of the locals. The price of the adventure tour depends on the distance you intend to travel. The entire trip lasts around eight days.
Distance: 108 km
Bicycle Touring Tips:
Photo Credit : Ian Britton
Here are some tips to make your ride better and easier as cycling in India is a challenge and you may come across many difficulties in the process
1. Gear up your bike: Do not give your bike a chance to complain. You know the feeling of a smooth ride when the chains are new and strong. They do not tire your legs either. Give your bike that it needs to make your ride through rocky and bumpy areas, a soft ride. Your bicycle is your only companion throughout the journey. So give it the care it deserves.
2. Be prepared: A tool kit, puncture repair kit, a mini air-pump and a cell-phone are some of the tools which could come handy anytime during the journey. Do not let these small things bother you later when you really require these instruments.
3. Be safe: Carry a LED head light, blinking safety lights, sunglasses and some cycling safety accessories. Helmets are important too. Make sure your cycle has reflectors attached in order to caution other vehicles during times of poor visibility.
[Imagine the joy of biking to a region which is surrounded with picturesque lush green paddy fields, Join us in Bangalore with Nandi cycling tour]
4. Plan your trip: Don’t exert yourself in order to accomplish your goals of reaching your destination as soon as you can. Cycle how much you can and plan your path according to the terrain. Carry a map, or a GPS device to plan your journey on board.
5. Prepare yourself: Your cycle is definitely the tool, but you are the engine to the pedal. Do not plan a long distance trip which is beyond your endurance. Prepare yourself well ahead of time and practice some mini rides way before the main long distance ride. Pack some high energy foods like bananas and whole grain bars. Do not consume energy drinks, as they can dehydrate you sooner due to their high sugar content. Pack plenty of water instead.
6. Take constant breaks: If you are tired, do not over-exert yourself. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Hydrate yourself occasionally. Take constant breaks and make sure your team members are in a position to keep up as well. Ask around the locals for some nearby eateries and enjoy the trip casually. Conduct some stretching exercises in regular intervals. Your thighs need some constant stretching, which otherwise could be strenuous to them.
Dos and Don’ts while Cycling in India:
Photo Credit : Theen Moy
There are a few tricks you can follow to make your trip good one; and a few things that you might want to consider that could be
· Use a bike that is right for your body.
·Your bike setup is extremely important.
· Check your tire pressure and lubricate your chain at regular intervals.
· Keep your saddle at the right height.
· What you wear has to be comfortable. Padded cycling shorts and cycling jerseys can make a lot of difference.
· Wear good cycling shoes.
· Carry a waterproof jacket.
· Wear a helmet and keep your cycle lights functioning.
· Keep your luggage light. Carry only the important items with you.
· Don’t wear cotton against your skin.
· Don’t overload your cycle with unnecessary items.
· Don’t ride with badly installed parts. They can be dangerous.
· Don’t overexert yourself.
· Don’t use a cycle too big or too small for you.
· Don’t ride in the middle of the road. Follow road safety.
· Don’t use mobile phone or earphones while cycling.