Anyone who has done any sort of cycling or extended walking tour knows what a rewarding experiences it is.
- Why would I want to cycle in India, isn’t the traffic crazy?
- What is the best time to cycle in India?
- Can you explain the tour grades to me?
- Can I bring my own bike?
- Can I use your bikes but bring my own saddle and/or pedals?
- What other gear do I need to bring?
- What if my travelling companion doesn’t want to cycle as much as me?
- What is the accommodation like?
- What food is included and where do we eat?
- Do you include refreshments when we are riding?
Why would I want to cycle in India, isn’t the traffic crazy?
Yes India’s traffic can be crazy but the countryside outside of major cities, towns and main roads is a mass of seething honking, road rule ignoring motorised and non motorised vehicles. Each itinerary has been planned to get you cycling off the main routes and into the countryside with little traffic. The only traffic jams you are likely to encounter are cows and bullocks wandering on to roads or herds of goats.
This not only keeps you safe but get an insight of life at a local level. Where it is not safe to cycle or when we are heading into towns and cities for sightseeing we jump off our bikes and into our support vehicle. Covering some of the distances by vehicle also ensures that you have a varied and interesting tour.
What is the best time to cycle in India?
Which areas you want to explore will dictate when you travel.
- Rajasthan & South India: October through to March/early April
- Lower mountain areas of the Himalayas: March & April and mid-September to October are best (June through to early September is monsoon time)
- Ladakh: July through September.
Can you explain your tour grades to me?
Easy: Suitable for anyone who can ride a bike and can manage a bit of exercise. No routes are 100% flat, so expect some climbs and descents.
Moderate: Ideal for occasional cyclists and above, or a relaxing trip for better riders. Reasonable fitness required. Ideally before you arrive you can cycle for up to two hours at a time at a steady pace.
Strenuous: Suitable for fit & confident riders. Fitness is more important than technical ability for trips of this level. Specific training or preparation is recommended, e.g. running, cycling, swimming or aerobics two to three times a week (preferably cycling!).
Extreme: Long cycling days and tougher terrain (for both on- and off-road trips) requiring specific experience of more demanding and technical cycling. You should be very confident in your physical fitness and bike handling skills.
All the set departure trips we offer either fall into the Easy or Moderate category so they are no only achievable but will be enjoyable for most people. The touring bikes used on our Rajasthan, Konkan Coast & South India Itineraries are ‘European styled’ German bikes with curved handle bars and adjustable stems that are ideal for anyone who has weaker or mild arthritis in wrists or hands.
For all our private tours in Ladakh, Himachal, Uttarakhand and Darjeeling Sikkim we supply Trek 3700D or similar mountain bikes.
Can I bring my own bike?
Bikes are included in the trips but you can bring your own. Just bear in mind that you will need to also have any necessary spares for your bikes with you. Our mechanic carries spares and parts of our bikes but these will not necessarily fit your make and model.
Can I use your bikes but bring my own saddle and/or pedals?
Of course! Our mechanic will be happy to fit your saddle and/or pedals to our bikes.
What other gear do I need to bring?
- Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling
- Base-layer – short sleeve cycling top (x 1)
- Mid-layer – long sleeved cycling top (x 1)
- Outer layer – lightweight waterproof jacket
- Light fleece jacket or jumper
- Regular biking gloves
- Padded cycling shorts (x 2)
- Baggy over shorts for modesty – India is not the place to break out your tightest lycra outfits, however bright clothing does increase your visibility on the roads.
- Biking glasses
- Cycling helmet – mandatory
- Travel and après biking clothes
- Trainers/Leisure shoes for off the bike
- Wash bag, microfibre towel, toiletries, including anti-bacterial hand wash and insect spray
- Head torch and spare batteries
What if my travelling companion doesn’t want to cycle as much as me?
No problem. Tours are 100% supported so you can cycle as much or as little as you want on cycling days. Non-riders or those that want to take a break ride in our support vehicle that follows us along the route.
What is the accommodation like?
Each itinerary gives a breakdown of the standard of accommodation used and where we typically stay each night on tour.
Accommodation is selected on value, quality, location and hospitality. India Cycle Trails also take into consideration responsible tourism initiatives and community involvement when selecting properties.
In Rajasthan we stay in a mix of Heritage Properties & Palaces combined with some modern 4.5 star Hotels. On the Konkan Coast we stay in a number of beach resorts and some of the accommodation simpler but is the best available. On our South India tour from Bangalore to Cochin, boutique properties, plantation homestays and a traditional houseboat are all used.
What food is included and where do we eat?
Most meals are included (apart from some dinners) and are eaten at our accommodation, local restaurants or cafés. You can expect familiar breakfast fare to be available (toast, cereals etc) in the majority of places we stay. Other meals will mostly be Indian but you could expect some Western foods in some restaurants. You guide will happily demystify menus for you. Not all Indian food is hot or heavily spiced.
On a number of days lunches will be prepared by the India Cycle Trails team, picnic style. These picnic lunches include seasonal fruits, local snacks (Samosa, Kachori, Biscuits, Namkeen), soups, tea, coffee and soft drinks.
Do you include refreshments when we are riding?
Cycling is thirsty work and keeping you well hydrated is a priority. Snacks, bottled water and fruit juices are included on cycling days only. Typically there will be a refreshment break every 15-20km. This also give everyone a chance to regroup, talk about what we have seen and ask any questions.