India's Best Cycling Routes

When you want to take a really long ride, what are your options? We asked a couple of experts

Published: Mar 15, 2010
India's Best Cycling Routes
Image: Dileep Prakash for Forbes India

Arun Katiyar and Manjula Sridhar give you the complete lowdown of India's best cycling routes.

NORTH
Manali to Leh
Medium to advanced
Over 500 km covering the range of the Himalayas, from Himachal’s valleys to Ladakh’s sparse mountain passes
“It’s is a brilliant route. Ulhas Joshi of Pune Cycle Prathishtan organises a Manali - Leh cycling trip every year. Though anyone can do the route on their own as well.” – Arun
“Probably the most beautiful route in India.” - Manjula

NORTH-EAST
Many parts of Sikkim
Advanced
“Lots of people do this route every year, though its meant for advanced cyclists and requires some training.” - Arun

WEST
"Many routes in Gujarat in and around Mount Abu" - Arun

Around the Alibag coast

Beginner
“Its very even territory to cycle on, though windy.” - Arun

Goa
Beginner
“Cycling is fabulous in Goa with its great streets. There is a Goa Cycling Group run by a Canadian woman which organizes regular weekly cycling events.” - Arun

Pune to Panshet Dam via Sinhagarh
Medium
About 100 km
“One of the best routes in India. The route is quite rolling as you have to climb Simhagarh fort. But it offers a great view of Panshet Dam throughout - at first just a blueish speck on the horizon which later on turns to blue waters on both sides of the route. On your final ascent you climb the hill leading to the dam with the backwaters of the dam all around you. The blueish green waters are almost New Zealand like. By the time the sun sets in the evening you are surrounded by rolling hills and clear waters all around you.” - Manjula

SOUTH
Tour of Nilgiris
Medium
A once in a year tour covering 900 km over 8 days (tourofnilgiris.com)
Ooty and thereabouts

Beginner
“The tea estates around Ooty, Coonoor, Craigmore, Palanniappa are a great place for anyone to cycle.” – Arun
“Ooty routes offer lots of hills, cool weather and lakes all around.” – Manjula
Irpu to Ooty

Medium
“All around you are the forests of Wayanad which offer great views. In addition you will also encounter wild animals many times.” - Manjula
“Take a break in Sulthan Bathaery to rest.” - Manjula
The East Coast Road from Chennai to Pondicherry

Beginner
“No road in this country that can equal it, non-stop ocean on the left. If you’re on a road bike you can literally close your eyes and complete the route.” - Arun

Kerala
“There are many cycling tours in Kerala nowadays, covering scenic backwater routes around Alleppey.” - Arun

Around Bangalore
Beginner
This is a good beginner route – start on Kanakapura Road towards Jigani, then take left at Harohalli. The next 30 km stretch covers hills, scenic views of paddy fields and a tribal population. The entire route is 80 km and can be covered in 3-4 hours. It is very popular among Bangalore cyclists.” - Manjula

Resources
“A great resource for cycling routes is mrpumpy.net – has descriptions of many routes across the Asian subcontinent, including India. He’s like the Bible for me.

“Though Mr.Pumpy is quite experienced in his own right, yet I feel the sad part is that we require foreigners to tell us where to cycle in our own country.” - Arun cyclingandmore.com run Sriharsha offers some very good tours for beginners, including overnight ones.” - Arun

-Arun Katiyar, ex-journalist and avid cyclist, also writes a column on cycling for Man’s World magazine. -Manjula Sridhar is an IT professional and triathlete.

 

Also Read: Cycling: Join the Ride

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  • Vineet Kumar

    Hi i am looking for cycling and Indian bike tours,i really appreciate for post very informative information on your blog about bike tours,with the help of your blog i got best visiting place for bike tours in India.

    on Dec 9, 2014
  • Barry Harrison

    Having just completed 1500km riding Spain, south to north, I\'m now ready for something much bigger. India! I want to see the beauty India has to offer, but most of all I\'m travelling for the cuisines in different regions. Does anybody have any suggestions on routes, hostels, wild camping etc? Presumably an expedition bike is far more appropriate than a road racer! Thanks

    on Oct 6, 2014
  • Vineet Gupta

    I have done manali to leh cycling tour and it was amazing. http://www.365hops.com/social/event_detail.php?eventid=VkZkd2NrMW5QVDA9

    on Aug 11, 2014
  • Sahil

    I am a beginner in cycling, I need a second hand aluminium frame road cycle Any one cud h2lp me, plz mail me on sahilpalta@gmail.com

    on Mar 27, 2014
  • Dilip Awasthi

    Gwalior Municipal corporation has done a tremendous work for cycle riders and for those who walk on road. As the corporation does work to make a separate cycle track and footpath of around 35 km so that due to heavy traffic, cycle riders and walkers do not get that traffic problem at all. This is the first city of Madhya Pradesh who has initiated this work of making separate cycle track and footpath.Gwalior municipal corporation commissioner initiate this work to raise the attention of people towards greenery and to avoid road accidents.

    on Mar 11, 2013
  • Amish

    I AM IN SEARCH OF A \"CYCLING COACH\". AT PRESENT, I PRACTICE CYCLING AT AHEMDABAD.

    on Jan 10, 2013
  • Sanresh Shedekar

    i am 14 yr old , i love cycling, wants to become a number one cyclist in the world, can u suggest me trainer or coach who wl support n guide me in fulfulling my dreams. i try to apprached many people , i am working hard n ready to work more hard with proper direction, guidance. live in mumbai central area.

    on Dec 15, 2012
  • Santhosh

    Any best cycles routes in chennai.I have ordered a new bycycle online and waiting for mine to be delivered from xycles.com and iam also looking out for good route to for cycling suggest me some routes.

    on Nov 21, 2012
  • Dhane Blue

    For an offbeat cycle ride across India try out this alternative for 2011 and 2012 at: www.gypsyspiritriders.co.cc

    on Nov 17, 2010
  • pankaj mangal

    Also, check out the page www.artofbicycletrips.com They organize cultural and rural bicycle trips for people visiting India.

    on Aug 26, 2010
  • Brian Sopher

    Just a correction on the Goa Cycling Group, it is called Goa Cycling Association & is managed by a Committee of riders including me. No Canadian Woman.

    on Mar 16, 2010
  • Brian Sopher

    I read a comment which said we need foreigners to tell us where to ride in India. If we as cyclists do our research and mark the routes, we do not need foreigners to tell us or show us how to ride. I have been living in Muscat for over 5 years, I lead a group of MTB riders every week, I am also an Indian and live in Goa. Muscat is a mecca for MTB, I have spent hours marking terrains etc here. It is up to the individual to make that effort. I also conduct workshops & training for bike skills etc.

    on Mar 25, 2010
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