When you hear about bicycling tours, most people think about cycling through Europe, but one of the greatest hidden gems is taking a cycling tour in India.
India is one of the most interesting and exciting countries, or should I say sub-continents, in the world. It is one of the most ancient countries, with a rich culture, beautiful nature, and landscape. Still, the most exciting element in India is its people.
Cycling tours of India offers so many unique experiences due to the diverse landscape, culture, and people.
The Himalayas offer unique opportunities for mountain bikers, city streets offer a unique cultural experience for cyclists.
My Bicycle Tours In India
I visited India many times in the past: in most cases they were just short business trips to Mumbai and to New Delhi. But I was lucky enough to have two private trips to other places in India: they left a very strong impression on me, and in those two cases riding a bicycle (or planning to ride) was involved. Let me tell you about my cycling tours of India.
#1 My Bicycle Tours in India – Pune
I love the Far East. Together with my family, I lived in Japan for three wonderful years, so when I had two weeks of vacation from work, it was natural for me to revisit this area: this time to Thailand. And as I had a great experience with the bicycling tours in Thailand (you can read more about Thailand mountain biking), my vacation plan was to go bicycle riding.
A friend of mine convinced me to try something else, and to spend a week in the ashram in Pune, India.
At first I thought that it was a crazy idea: why should I wear a red robe and meditate?
Since my original plan was to go on a bicycle tour, I brought with me my cycling clothes, so that I will have an alternative for the ashram in Pune.
Three days after I have started my meditation classes, I felt that it was too much for me, and I was ready to quit. I put on my bicycling short and jersey, rented a typical Indian bicycle and went bike riding.
If you think that you know something about crowded cities and roads, let me tell you something: you should go to Pune, and get a new perspective for an overwhelming experience for overcrowding. Riding a car or a motorcycle, and especially riding a bicycle is defiantly not a task for foreigners!
After a short (and dangerous) trial, I gave up the idea of bicycling in Pune, and joined my friend back in the ashram. Now I was ready to give meditation a real chance, and it paid big time! Let’s keep this story for other occasions, and concentrate on our main subject of bicycle tours in India.
#2 My Bicycle Tours in India – Jaiselmer
A good friend of mine owns a house just outside Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India. For years he was trying to convince me to join him on one of his many trips to his house in India. Finally, in January 2012, I could not resist anymore, and I found myself on a plane to India.
Amnon knows the way to my heart for quite well: so he knows that there is only one efficient way to convince me to join him on his trip – a promise for a cycling tour in India – as part of the trip.
India is a huge country, and every city in India is different and unique. So does Jaiselmer. It is one of the few places that own UNESCO’s world heritage status, with a Mogul fort rising in the city center, but it is still not as cramped or crowded as Mumbai, Delhi, Jodhpur and Pune.
In his house in Jaiselmer Amnon keeps a simple hardtail Kona bicycle, waiting for the one that is willing to spend an hour or two on its saddle, and swing by the old city, or castle, or even explore the unpaved roads outside the city, where these wonderful and simple people like Jukta, Babu, and Dia live.
You are invited to take a look at some of these places:
#3 My Bicycle Tours in India – Agra
In Agra India I had another surprising experience, cycling a Rickshaw.
It was not my idea: I am too conservative for this. Amnon tried to convince me to try replacing our rickshaw driver, and see if I can move this heavy vehicle, and again, I was convinced…
Ten minutes of cycling on almost flat paved roads was all I could handle: it was not a hot day, but I was exhausted, and was drenched in perspiration.
At my (advanced) age I still don’t know what the best profession for me is, but at least after this ride I know what I should not inspire to be a rickshaw driver in Agra.
#4 SpiceRoads Bicycle Tours in India
This is not a tour that I took part on, but since I had such a great experience with Spice Roads on our bicycle tours in Thailand, I assume that this great bicycle tour operator have similar standards in their bicycle tours in India as well.
For now Spice Roads have only two cycling tours in India: A trip in Rajasthan, and a trip in Kerala. These two places are very different: Kerala is very green, with rich wildlife, while Rajasthan is mainly a desert, with amazing collection of forts, palaces and castles.
You can visit the superb website of Spice Roads and get some more general information about cycling tours of India.
#5 More Bicycle Tours In India
Kerala, Goa or Rajasthan?
The answer to this question is very simple: all of them!
Tip: Book a tour with Spice Roads for a luxurious cycling tour.
Not all cycling vacations are about roughing it out - some, like the tours of India offered by Spice Roads, offer you all the luxury you deserve on your long-awaited holiday.
Customers get a free goody bag and a non-stop supply of iced water, fruit, snacks and other refreshments while cycling. They also get to stay in great hotels.
Cycling tours of India are so unique. You leave the highways behind and cycle through villages where you'll literally share the road with goats, camels, chickens, and occasionally even an elephant. You'll see locals pumping water at the well, rickshaws riding down the street, and Mogul forts built to protect villages and towns.
You'll experience a sharp contrast between the lush, green landscape of Kerala and the sprawling deserts of Rajasthan. In Kerala you will see a wide variety of crops and plantations as well as wildlife including birds, monkeys, deer, and tigers.
In Goa, you'll feel like you're on a tropical vacation with beautiful, sandy beaches, volcanoes, lush vegetation, crystal-clear lakes, and more. You'll be able to view Hindi temples, shop the markets, and chat it up with the locals. There is definitely something for everybody!
If traditional cycling is more for you, you'll love cycling through the beautiful landscapes and small villages of Southern India. Cycling allows you to experience the fascinating towns and villages like you never could visit otherwise. You'll become immersed in the culture instead of just experiencing it from the outside looking in. My favorite bicycle tour operator in India and in many other countries in the Far East is Spice Roads. This wonderful company offers some unique cycling tours in India, such as Cycling Kerala's Backroads.
Mountain Biking in the Indian Himalayas
Mountain biking in the Indian Himalayas is the most popular cycling tours of India. If you like mountain biking, you should go riding in the Indian Himalayas: it is an experience of a lifetime for biking and adventure enthusiasts. Getting to experience the gorgeous, snow-capped mountains, interesting rock formations, and the beautiful mountain fog is so much more exciting and rewarding than just viewing the breathtaking scenery from the window of your car!
In the Indian Himalayas, you will get to experience riding trails along rivers, past glaciers, and through the foothills with no limits, and the panoramic beauty from the top is out of this world. Another unique and exciting bicycle tour in India by Spice Roads is their biking India's Nubra Valley.
My Bicycle Tours in India on YouTube
Books About Bicycle Tours in India
More information about bicycle tours in India can be found in several informative books. Take a look at these selected books:
Last Word About Bicycle Tours In India
As you can see, riding bicycles in India provides something for everyone. If you choose to take a cycling tour through India, you will not regret it. It is one of the most amazing trips you'll ever experience.