Explore India on two wheels
Cycling Tours in India
A tour can be a great way to get to know the history and culture of a place, but a lot of the time, it doesn’t quite meet expectations. Many of these whistle-stop trips simply whizz past landmarks and attractions without giving you the chance to really see or experience anything at all? Well, we’ve got the solution - and it involves two wheels. A cycling tour allows you to soak up the sights at your own pace and really immerse yourself in a destination, rather than just travel through it. No car or bus windows. No strict schedules. Just you and the open road.
Exploring India on a bike means you can really engage with the country’s charismatic cities and beautiful rural landscapes, whether you’re steering through the hectic streets of Jaipur or speeding across the picturesque plains of Tamil Nadu. Oh, and don’t worry - lycra shorts aren’t mandatory.
Ready to start pedalling? Here’s our pick of some great cycling tours in India.
Cycle tour of Jaipur
One corner of India’s popular Golden Triangle, Jaipur is a city of majestic forts, regal palaces and colourful temples. A cycling tour gives you the opportunity to experience a more authentic side to the iconic Pink City and really get beneath its skin. History and culture buffs won’t want to miss this one, that’s for sure.
As you navigate through the winding streets, you’ll have time to explore iconic landmarks such as the City Palace, practice your haggling skills at the bustling markets and soak up the vibrant street life. You’ll also be able to chat with the locals and try some mouth-watering cuisine along the way. There’s no need for guide books either. Got a burning question? Your cycling guide is on hand to answer them and offer insight about the local culture. By the time the tour is over, you’ll have enjoyed some truly unforgettable experiences that would have been missed if travelling by vehicle.
Cycling in the plains of Tamil Nadu
This one is for those who want a taste of India’s rural culture. Venture off the main tourist trail and embark on this epic cycling tour from Madurai to Thekkady through the spectacularly scenic plains of Tamil Nadu. This southern state is renowned for its unspoilt landscapes and rich heritage - what better setting for a refreshing bike ride?
On this cycling tour, you’ll visit landmarks such as the Mullaperiyar Dam - one of India’s finest examples of engineering and ingenuity. You’ll learn the fascinating history behind the impressive structure and how it provides a valuable source of water for the surrounding farmland, as well as making a pit-stop at a market for a glimpse of local life in action.
To give your aching muscles a rest, this tour can be done part car, part bike. You can also break up the journey with some authentic excursions, such as exploring the tranquil backwaters of Thekkady or visiting a rubber plantation.
Cycle tour of Udaipur
Set around a series of glittering lakes with the forest-clad Aravalli Hills as a backdrop, Udaipur is one of India’s most attractive cities. It’s known for its royal residences, including the magnificent City Palace that overlooks Lake Pichola. While the lakes and palaces are a major draw, a cycling tour allows you to dig a little deeper into the city’s captivating culture and heritage.
It’ll take you just a few hours to cover Udaipur by bike, during which time you’ll get to enjoy a fantastic array of sights. Pedalling through the labyrinth of streets, you’ll pass old havelis, ancient temples and bustling bazaars. You’ll also have the chance to interact with passionate craftsmen and artists and gain insider knowledge of the city’s flourishing creative scene. Not only does cycling give you the chance to experience Udaipur on a more personal level, but you’ll also be helping to reduce the city’s every-growing carbon footprint.
If you want to escape the bustle of the Udaipur city centre for a few hours, the surrounding countryside is calling out to be explored on two wheels. You can also skirt the edge of the lakes for a closer look at the palaces and historic monuments, and round off the day with a sunset boat cruise.
This unique tour was designed to allow tourists to engage with the local communities of Kerala through cycling. Journey into the little-explored countryside and gain insight into the everyday lives of the locals. Unlike vehicle-based tours, this part adventure, part culture excursion allows you to explore freely without the worry of sticking to a set schedule.
Cycling through the paddy fields, alongside gushing rivers and down narrow back roads, you'll get to see the ‘real’ Kerala that many visitors miss. Watch fishermen bring in their morning catch and women weave coir mats by the side of the road. At various points of the trip, you can hop off your bike to explore quaint fishing villages, mingle with the locals and take scenic canoe rides along the river. You’ll also visit a traditional farmhouse by the backwaters to re-energise with a hearty home-cooked breakfast.
Cycling in the Himalayan foothills
If you fancy a challenge, the Himalayan foothills offer some of India’s most scenic (and leg-burning) cycling routes. Think hair-raising mountain bends and steep valley ascends. Riding a bike through the Himalayas requires some real stamina, but the breathtaking views make it more than worthwhile. And the best part is that you can stop whenever you fancy to appreciate the mountain vistas and access some spots that are inaccessible by car.
Starting at the picturesque hill station of Shimla, follow the cycling trails and dirt paths through the hills surrounded Narkanda and Kasauli, passing forest-clad valleys and remote villages. Depending on your fitness levels and the amount of time you have, you can tailor your journey to suit your needs. Cycling in this part of India is particularly special from June until November when the landscapes become covered in a blanket of snow.
Whether you’re keen cyclist or looking for a way to engage more deeply with the scenery and people of India, we offer a variety of a cycling tours here at Meraki Travel. Why not take a look at our itinerary builder and see how you can incorporate cycling into your next trip?