Bicycle tours in India are becoming increasingly popular as more and more travelers choose to get off the beaten track. It's a novel and adventurous way of experiencing India. While short one or half day city tours are possible in some places, multi-day trips will take you out into India's unforgettable rural countryside. While some of the trips require a high degree of fitness, many of them are relaxed and suitable for most people. Here's the pick of what's available.
Like being active? Then jump on a bicycle and explore Rajasthan on an epic new 15 day tour offered by award-winning G Adventures! Rest assured, you won't be cycling the whole journey. However, you'll have fabulous opportunities to do so in most of the destinations, including to visit some remote rural communities. The itinerary includes Delhi, Udaipur, Jhadol, Jodhpur, Chandelao Garh, Jaipur and Amber Fort, Sawarda, Tordi Garh, Ranthambore National Park, Karauli, and Agra.
For a different experience of Delhi, take to the streets on a bicycle and immerse yourself in the various colors, smells, sounds, tastes! Delhi By Cycle, a company started by a journalist from the Netherlands (the Dutch are known for their love of riding bicycles!), offers a range of bicycle tours in the city. These include tours through different parts of Old Delhi and New Delhi, so you can explore different corners of the city. The tours start early to avoid the traffic.
Try exploring Fort Kochi on a bicycle! The Art of Bicycle Trips offers an early morning, small group tour around Fort Kochi and the Old City. You'll get to hear the stories of this 500 year old city's glorious past. See the Indo-Portuguese Museum, where you can learn about the colonial influence on Kochi. Visit the Dutch Cemetery, the oldest European cemetery in India, and the Chinese fishing nets. Admire the murals at the Dutch Palace. The absorbing scenery along the way includes Kochi's fish market and main bazaar, filled with tea, nuts, and spices. As you head back into the town center, you'll also be able to get a glimpse of the dhobi-wallas, skillfully scrubbing and beating clothes clean by hand.
Want to enjoy more of Kerala? Check out the wide range of longer duration, casual and premium private bicycle tours offered by Kerala Bicycle Trips. Their 10 day Spice Trail Tour starts and ends at Kochi, and visits secluded villages, the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations of Munnar, Periyar National Park, the Kerala backwaters, and unspoilt Marari beach. Expect to see a lot of nature and wildlife along the way. Kerala Bicycle Trips also offers day tours of Alleppey and Munnar.
See some of Mumbai's most recognized landmarks on this four hour, early morning, small group bicycle tour from Viator. It starts off through the historic 18th century Fort business district, then heads to the famous Victorian Gothic revival style Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus), before continuing on to Mumbai's markets -- Crawford Market, Kalbadevi and Bhuleshwar. You'll get to stop at Bombay Panjrapole cow shelter, Mumbadevi Temple, and also ride along Marine Drive on the way to Sassoon Dock, a major fish loading and trading center in south Mumbai.
Want a longer bicycle tour? Try this 11 day trip from Mumbai to Goa, along the Konkan Coast!
Sita Cultural Center has partnered up with My Vintage Bicyclette (a company that transforms old bicycles into groovy, retro-style masterpieces) to offer early morning bicycle tours of Pondicherry. On this guided tour, you'll get to hear insightful stories about the town and explore its various areas including the colorful houses of the Muslim quarter, Goubert Market, Kuruchikuppam (fishermen's village), and Beach Road.
Meaningful travel organization Grass Routes Journeys provides opportunities for tourists to engage with local communities in Odisha. Their easy bicycle tour will take you along rural roads, through picturesque villages with traditional mud huts, and to Raghurajpur handicraft village. Located around 15 kilometers from Puri, every person who lives in this renowned village is an artisan. Many have even won national awards for their work. Wander around, admire the beautiful painted murals on the houses, chat to the friendly artisans, and see them in action.
Rural Karnataka, around Bangalore
The Art of Bicycle Trips also offers some fantastic bicycle trips through the scenic rural countryside around Bangalore, for occasional to active riders. The full day Passage to India tour departs every Saturday and reveals visions of old India. Highlights include a 400 year old Banyan tree, exquisite handcrafting of wooden toys at Channapatna, and local Kannadiga style cuisine.
The half day Morning Raga tour departs every Sunday and heads along dusty village roads past vegetable gardens, paddy fields, grape farms, and mango orchards. Highlights include the dance school of renowned Odissi artist the late Protima Bedi, and Hessarghatta Lake.
Sikkim and Darjeeling
Another tour from the Art of Bicycle Trips, this is a lengthier one for fit and active riders! Starting from Gangtok in Sikkim, you'll ride from one mountain to another over the course of 10 days. The landscape abounds with terraced paddy fields, dense forests, and the evocative chants of monasteries. Highlights include Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim's lone Temi Tea Garden, Yuksom village, Pemayangtse Monastery and a mesmerizing view of the Kanchenjunga Range at Pelling.
Started by two French women, Cyclin' Jaipur offers casual bicycle tours along three routes in the Pink City of Jaipur. Choose from seeing the Maharaja's heritage, eclectic mix of modern and traditional bazaars and places of worship, or the narrow streets of the Old City including a meal with a local family. Tours depart daily at 7 a.m. from the Karnot Mahal heritage hotel. The cost is 1,800 rupees per person.