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15 Best Cycling Routes in India

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India is a beautiful country; it is a spectacular mix of cultures, traditions and landscapes. The country along with several beautiful tourist locations is replete with many offbeat destinations, which are not possible to be explored by riding a car. Therefore, cycling is the best way to explore diverse topography and culture of India. Also, it is the most budget and eco-friendly option as one need not worry about pollution, expenditure or petrol.

Imagine cycling over meadows fringed with the towering alpine trees or along the swanky beaches and the beautiful coastal line, also picture cycling beside winding rivers and having the wind in the hair; it all seem picturesque and exciting isn’t it. The experience of exploring new corners of India on cycle cannot be replaced in any way. Some of the best cycling routes in India pass through its most beautiful scenery. Whether the tourist is looking for a short city tour or cross state, given below is the list of circuits that should be experienced once in a lifetime.

Munnar to Anamalai- Witness the Best of South India

Munnar to Anamalai Cycling
The 220 km marked route traces the best of Tamil Nadu and Kerala cycling route. The cycling expedition starts from Munnar, and will go through the hidden hamlets like Madupetty, Marayoor, Amarvathy and ends at Annamalai Hills in Tamil Nadu. The cycling trail will show cyclist the best of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in just four days. The cycling tour will be flagged off from Munnar and further it will pass through Madupatti, Kundala, further leading to Kanthallore. After passing through the manicured tea estates of Kanthallore, one can feel the sniff of sandalwood in the area as the next destination is Marayoor, landscape famous for its sandalwood forest. On this route, one will notice beautiful temples and this signals that the cyclists have entered in Palani. Further paddle through the lush green forest and reach the final destination, Annamalai.

Route: Munnar- Madupetty- Kundala- Perumala- Kanthallore- Marayoor- Amarvathy – Palani- Anamalai
Distance:210 km (Approx)
Duration: 4-5 days
Difficulty level: Easy

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Bangalore to Goa- Experience the Greatness of Nature

Bangalore to Goa Cycling
Bangalore to Goa trip will take one to the different landscapes of Karnataka and Goa. From the busiest streets of Bangalore to the narrow lanes of Chikmagalur to pathways on the side of Gokarna coastline, the iconic trek runs through the state from North to South, further leading to Goa. This 698 km long cycling trail will start from the famed electronic city of India, Bangalore. It will further lead to the heritage city Mysore. After taking the city trip and going through the rich legacy of Karnataka, the trek will lead to Hassan, yet another busy headquarters. The next destination of the trail is Chikmagalur, the hill station that is gaining fame due to its coffee production and scenic views. The trek then will further lead to Gokarna, the coastal station by passing through the hidden hamlets Lokavalli and Banavasi. Clear roads and sparkling beaches of Gokarna will make way to the ending point, Goa.

Route: Bangalore-Mysore – Hassan – Chikmagalur – Lokavalli – Banavasi – Gokarna – Goa
Distance: 698 km
Duration: 11 – 15 days
Difficulty level: difficult

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Chennai to Pondicherry- Journey Along the Coast

Chennai to Pondicherry Cycling
East Coast Road alias State Highway 49 covers some of the most beautiful places in Tamil Nadu till Pondicherry. The cycling expedition starts from Chennai and passes through Muttukadu, Mahabalipuram, Kalpakkam and ends at the former French territory, Pondicherry. Throughout the journey, one will see sparkling water, swaying palms and white sand. There are many places to stopover during the cycling expedition like Dakshinachitra Museum, Murundeswarar Temple and Mahabalipuram. One should plan this trail during the winter months of November to February.

Route: Chennai – Muttukadu – Mahabalipuram – Kalpakkam – Pondicherry
Distance: 155 km
Duration: 2-4 days
Difficulty level: Easy

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Mysore to Ooty via Bandipur- Feel the Adrenaline Rush

Mysore to Ooty  Cycling
This trek will take one on a roller coaster ride as it has too much to offer in 2 days. Smooth and flat roads on the outskirts of Mysore will take one to the lush green jungles of Bandipur. Never know that while doing cycling one might spot tigers or any other wild animals. Further, the roads will take one to Masinagudi and finally after passing through the challenging hairpin bends, the trip will end at captivating hill station Ooty. Bestowed by flowering flora and endangered fauna, the trek will offer one a rewarding experience. Adding more grace to the trail are the attractions like Ooty Botanical Garden, Deer Park, Rode Garden and Ooty Mountain Railway that one can see on the cycling expedition.

Route: Mysore – Bandipur National Park – Masinagudi – Ooty
Distance: 126 km
Duration: 2-3 days
Difficulty level: Challenging

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Mangalore to Goa- Combine Wheels and Water

Mangalore to Goa Cycling
It’s one of the most relaxed and laid-back cycling tours in the list. Throughout the journey, one will see different moods of nature. NH17 is the major highway that directly connects Goa and Mangalore. This trail will take one to the pristine clean beaches, holy temples, chattering cascades, and enchanting national parks, far away from the hustle-bustle of the city. Vistas and landscapes vary immensely, from calm stretches to the lush green jungles. Towns that one may explore throughout the journey are Kaup, Udupi, Bhatkal, Gokarna and Karwar. It’s about a 382 km ride from Mangalore to Goa. Give your bike a break at Maravanthe Beach, a relaxing stopover site where one can relax and enjoy the serene view of the Arabian Sea.

Route: Mangalore- Kaup- Udupi- Bhatkal- Gokarna- Karwar-Goa
Distance: 382 km
Duration: 8-10 days
Difficulty level: Moderate

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Pune – Panshet Dam -Meander around the Metropolis

Pune - Panshet Dam Cycling
People from Maharashtra love this cycling route, not only because its adventures but also for its scenic beauty. Beautiful hills, gentle slopes and lush landscapes make it a delight for riders. The strenuous stretch from Panshet till Panshet dam is worth all the effort. The trek will kick-start from Pune and it will take one through the Ramnagar, Gorhe, Khanapur, Panshet and will finally end at Panshet dam. Also, don’t forget to visit the Sinhagad Fort and end your cycling trail by enjoying a laid back boating ride at Sinhagad Fort. Monsoon and winter are the best time for this cycling expedition.

Route: Pune- Ramnagar – Khed- Kodanpur – Gorhe Khurd – Khanapur – Malkhed- Panshet- Panshet Dam
Distance: 77.3 km
Duration: 1-3 days
Difficulty level: Moderate

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Gangtok to Darjeeling-Recreate Famous Bollywood Scenes

Gangtok to Darjeeling Cycling
Verdant landscapes, cloudy sky-that is, in short, how cyclist describe the experience. Roads from Gangtok till Darjeeling are dotted with monasteries, tea estates and will show one a different side of Himalaya which is opulent. The cycling expedition will start from the colonial hill station, Darjeeling and the trail will further lead to Sikkim. In Sikkim, the first destination will be Pemayangtse where one can witness the beautiful Pemayangtse Monastery. Next destination on the trail is Yuksam, a beautiful hamlet known for its mythological importance. Further, the roads lead to Temi by crossing the trails like Tashiding and Ravangla. Aroma of tea and manicured plantations around signifies that one is in Temi, a region famous for its tea plantations. After passing through Martam, the trek will end at Gangtok.

Route: Darjeeling –Pemayangtse – Yuksam – Tashiding – Ravangla – Temi – Martam – Gangtok
Distance: 456 km
Duration: 8-10 days
Difficulty level: Moderate

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Shillong to Cherrapunji- Cycle in the Abode of Clouds

Shillong to Cherrapunji Cycling
One of the least explored yet a pristine cycling route in the list. Narrow road stretch starts from Shillong is sprinkled with gushing cascades, verdant mountains, hidden hamlets, wettest lands, floating lakes, cleanest village in India, living root bridges, peaceful monasteries and a series of ‘grand canyon’ valleys around the region. Cycling trail will start from Shillong and will pass through the beautiful villages like Mawphlang, Mawsynram and Cherrapunji. All the Cyclists will ride through the West Khasi and neighboring Jaintia hills overlooking the plains of Bangladesh. It’s a perfect cycling stretch for people for an introduction to magnificent North East India. The cycling trail is ideal for the winter season.

Route: Shillong- Mawphlang- Mawsynram- Cherrapunji- Mawlynnong
Distance: 75 km
Duration: 6-8 days
Difficulty level: Moderate

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Old Silk Route – Kalimpong to Zuluk-Meant for Brave-Hearted People

Kalimpong to Zuluk Cycling
Challenge seekers, the cycling trail from Gangtok to Zuluk is meant for you all. When it comes to cycling expedition, the old silk route is a goldmine to be traversed. Here the roads are a tad more challenging as compared to other trails, but the scenic view and tribal interaction will make it all worth it. Cyclists will travel along the snow covered hills and will pass through the narrow roads and hairpin turns. This challenging trail starts from Kalimpong and after passing through the precipitous mountain ridge, descending hillsides of Gangtok, the cyclist will end their journey at Zuluk.

Route: Kalimpong- Gangtok- Zuluk
Distance: 88 km
Duration: 6 days
Difficulty level: Experts

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Leh to Khardung La: Paddle to the Top of the World

Leh to Khardung La Cycling
Stretching over 500 km, the highway pass from Manali till Khardung La via Leh is one of the most scenic roads in India. Cycling in Leh takes one through the Himalaya across changing landscapes redefining the concept of dimension. The cycling expedition starts from meadows and alpine forest of Manali and extends towards deep valleys of Lahaul across Rohtang and continues towards the plains of Sarchu before entering Ladakh. At pang, one can see the world’s highest transit camp. Further, cyclists will proceed to Leh by crossing the tiny towns like Debring and Rumptse. After spending a day in Leh, tourists will move to the ending point, Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world. Ladakh boasts of many cycling routes that can excite neurons.

Route: Manali – Marhi – Keylong – Zing Zing Bar – Pang – Debring – Rumptse – Leh – Khardung La
Distance: 514 km
Duration: 9-12 days
Difficulty level: Expert

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Manali to Leh: An Unmatched Experience

Manali to Leh Cycling
It doesn’t matter that a cyclist is a seasonal cyclist or a novice; the roads of Leh and Manali have been heaven for the adventurers since ages. The thrill of passing through some of the highest mountain passes in the world and of witness some of the best Buddhist monasteries is exciting. Cycling trail from Manali till Leh can be covered in 10-12 days with overnight stay options at places such as Pangong Lake, Hemis, Chang La to name a few. Fantastic scenery and breathtaking views are highlights of this trip. April to August is the ideal riding season.

Route: Manali – Pangong Lake – Hemis – Chang La – Durbuk – Tangtse – Lukung – Leh
Distance:700 Km (Approx)
Duration: 15 -16 days (Approx)
Difficulty Level: Challenging

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Delhi – Agra – Journey to Royal Grandeur

Delhi – Agra Cycling
Here is a wildcard for all maverick riders. The first thing that comes to one mind when they think about Agra and Delhi are the heritage sites. This 282 km stretch from Delhi to Agra can be best explored on cycle. The cycling expedition starts from the cultural capital Delhi and after passing the spiritual places like Kosi Kalan and Mathura, the trail will further lead to the stunning imperial ancient city of the Mughal empire, Fatehpur Sikri and finally to the wondrous town Agra. Ride through the historical sites like Red Fort, Jama Masjid, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Taj Mahal. Also, you can paddle through the local markets of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Old Delhi. Both the destinations have good roads, but one should have a little experience of cycling as one will be passing through the bustling streets and traffic jams.

Route: New Delhi – Dankaur – Tappal – Kosi Kalan – Mathura – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra
Duration: 5-10 days
Distance: 282 km
Difficulty level: Moderate

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Rajasthan –Udaipur to Jodhpur- Tryst With History

Rajasthan –Udaipur to Jodhpur Cycling
Another different terrain to ride a cycle on is the dunes of Rajasthan. Rajasthan forts and palaces cycling expedition will render one with some beautiful experiences that they will cherish for many years. This trek can enchant anyone with its luxurious opulence. On every corner, the cyclist will witness the magnificent monument, giant forts, pious temples and never-ending desert. The journey to witness the best of royal and regal Rajasthan starts from Udaipur, the city of lakes. Next destination after Udaipur is Kumbhalgarh, this is the city where tourists can see the giant and the enigmatic Kumbhalgarh fort. Get a flavor of Rajasthan by travelling further to Ranakpur to see India’s biggest and most important Jain temple complexes. The trek will end at Jodhpur after passing through the tiny villages Jojawar and Dhakri.

Route: Udaipur – Kumbhalgarh – Ranakpur – Jojawar – Dhakri – Jodhpur
Distance: 352 km
Duration: 8-10 days
Difficulty Level: Moderate

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Garhwal Himalaya –Rishikesh to Mussoorie – Enthralling Experience

Garhwal Himalaya Cycling
Nature’s best secrets are stored in the Garhwal Himalaya. What can be the best way to explore the splendors of Himalaya then cycling? Cycling tour from Rishikesh till Mussoorie will help one to explore the inner beauty of Uttarakhand. This beautiful cycling trail starts from Rishikesh and after passing through the scenic villages like New Tehri, Uttarkashi, Gangotri, Uttarkashi and Barhmakhal, Mussoorie will be the final destination. At the end, the trail, generally cyclists are found lost in the opulence of Garhwal. During the journey, one can witness the beautiful sunset, blooming flowers. Whispering woods, alpine meadows filled with blooming flowers in fascinating hues and radiant river water.

Route: Rishikesh – New Tehri – Dharasu – Uttarkashi – Bhatawari – Harsil – Gangotri – Gangnani – Uttarkashi – Barhmakhal – Barkot – Nainbag – Mussoorie
Distance: 483 kms
Duration: 10-15 days
Difficulty Level: Moderate

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Somnath- Diu-Paddle through the Jungle

Somnath- Diu-Paddle Cycling
The state known for its charming heritage is flooded with many picturesque trails. Cycling trail will start from Somnath and will end at the beautiful Diu by passing through the verdant landscapes of Gir National Park. Don’t be shocked if one hears the roar of the Asiatic lion during the journey as the train will pass through the outer roads of Gir National Park. From rugged trails to beaches to coastal rides, the route is multi-faceted like a colour palette.

Route: Somnath- Gir National Park-Diu
Duration: 2- 5 days
Difficulty Mode: Easy
Distance: 143 km

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From North to South, East to West, there are numerous cycling trails in India. If the tourists are cycling buffs or an adventurers who wish to seek some thrill then loads of scenic trails along with quirky cultural attraction awaits. If there is any trail that we are missing and deserves to hold a place in top 15, then do revert in the comment box. For now grab a knapsack, hop on your cycle and get going!

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Having an experience of more than 16 yrs in the Himalayas, Arun is the main driving force & mentor at the Peak Adventure Tours, a leading adventure travel agency in India offers trekking tours in Indian Himalayas including Nepal, Bhutan & Tibet. A long history with exceptional experiences he is the “Marathon Man” in the field of adventure. Today Arun looks after the Peak Adventure and shapes & designs the venture of the organization. He is contributing to this blog as a regular guest author.

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