Neenan Cycling Logo

Cycle Kerala & Tropical India

Cycle from the Western Ghats to the idyllic coastline of Kerala



At a glance

* 9 nights hotels and 3 nights lodges, 1 night houseboat
* 10 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with full vehicle support
* Group normally 4 to 14, plus local cycling leader and driver. Min age 16
yrs
* Premium departures available

Cycle from the Western Ghats to the idyllic coastline of Kerala

Beautiful landscapes, fascinating towns, stunning beaches and superb food,
southern India is an excellent place to explore by bike. From the cool
heights of the Western Ghats, where the sanctuaries hide excellent wildlife,
to the quiet backwaters of Kerala, where Hinduism has produced elaborately
decorated temples, this trip offers the chance to cycle through colourful
villages where rural life has remained little-changed for centuries. The
final coastal ride to Varkala rewards us with time to relax on the beach and
reflect on an unforgettable experience.

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/mik.jpg?t=1Dl3Ts

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 4 dinners included
* All accommodation
* Transfer for group flights
* Local bike hire

Food:
All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 4 dinners included.

 There is a good choice of restaurants and sometimes there is a choice
between Indian and Western style food. If you are a vegetarian, South India
is an ideal destination. Lunches on riding days are usually taken in local
roadside cafes. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer
is approximately £3 (approx. US), but alcohol is difficult to get hold of
in Kerala. Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow. Water
is provided in the support vehicle, where you can fill your bottle from the
20 litre containers. You should allow approximately £10 (approx. US.00)
per day for lunch and dinner when they are not included, £3 – £4 (approx.
US.80 – US.40) for lunch, and £5 – £6 (approx. US – US.60) for
dinner without drinks. This amount may vary according to how much you drink.
Generally you can eat out very cheaply in India.

Start destination: Mysore

End destination: Varkala

Cycling profile

Day 1

Those on the group flight arrive in Bangalore and transfer by coach to
Mysore, breaking the 3.5-hour journey for light refreshments. Those
travelling independently should meet us in Mysore. After checking into our
hotel there will be a short introductory briefing and time to relax (we may
have to wait until around noon if rooms are not ready). We will meet at
lunchtime and after lunch we have a short walk round the local markets. In
the late afternoon there will be a bike briefing and fitting in the hotel
courtyard. In the evening there will be a full trip briefing before an
optional group dinner.
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 2

Leisurely morning ride to Srirangapatna, the ruins of Tippu Sultan’s capital,
destroyed by the British in 1799 during their final battle to secure control
of southern India. The island fortress stands on an island in the middle of
the Cauvery River, and once over the bridge we cycle around the old ramparts,
enter Tippu Sultans Mosque and the Ranganathaswamy Temple before riding back
to Mysore for lunch. Today for lunch you get your first taste of ‘thali’ –
the southern Indian meal of rice and multiple small portions of curries on a
plate, or the typical south Indian ‘masala dosa’, a thin pancake made
with fermented rice and lentil batter. In the afternoon we have a guided tour
around Mysore Palace. Also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, it is the official
residence of the Wodeyars – the former royal family of Mysore, which ruled
the princely state of Mysore for over seven centuries. The Wodeyar kings
first built a palace in Mysore in the 14th Century, it was demolished and
constructed multiple times. The current palace construction was commissioned
in 1897, and it was completed in 1912 and expanded later around 1940. The
décor is simply stunning, if a little bit over the top, and the former
maharaja is still in residence in his private quarters. 
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 3

We leave the hotel and cycle out of Mysore town up to Chamundi Hill to view
the huge 5m rock carving of Nandi, Shiva’s celestial Bull. There are also
good views over the whole of Mysore. We then cycle back down the hill and
continue along the quiet back roads, along with the children riding a bike or
bus to school. We also share the road with herds of white oxen and women in
colourful saris carrying water pots on their heads. We arrive at the
important pilgrim centre of Nanjangud, with the beautiful 9th Century
Srikanteshwara Temple dedicated to Shiva. We have a tea break here with
chance to look around the temple whilst the bikes are loaded onto the bus. We
then drive for an hour along a busy road leaving the plains for the forested
foothills of the Western Ghats, once the hunting preserve of Mysore’s
Maharajas, staying close to Bandipur National Park. We should arrive at our
hotel in the Bandipur National Park in time for lunch, if not we will have
something en-route. In the late afternoon we have a jeep safari in the park.
We will see lots of peacocks, spotted deer and monkeys. Look out for wild
elephants, Indian Bison and of course the elusive tiger. These can be spotted
at certain times of the year. 
*Standard Hotel*

Day 4

After breakfast we go for a short circular ride along the villages outside
the forest areas to wittness the local farming village life. This ride is
followed with a tea break before we transfer by jeep to ‘Wild Haven’. The
afternoon is free to wander the grounds of ‘Wild Haven’; a rustic planters
bungalow with fantastic views of the Nilgiri mountains one side and Mudumalai
jungle on the other. There is a spotting platform and it’s not unusual for
elephants and deer (and occasionally a tiger) to wander right up to the
lodge. There will also be the opportunity to go on a village walk on the
outskirts of the forest and visit a local farmhouse. 
*Standard Hotel*

Day 5

For some today is the highlight of the trip, ascending 1251m to Ooty
(Ootacamund), an Indian hill station and the former summer capital of the
Raj. It’s a very steep ride up 36 hairpin bends with stunning vistas at
every turn, and there’s an immense sense of achievement at the summit.
Although steep there are plenty of photographic opportunities that provide a
resting spot. Enjoy a relaxed morning and journey up the hill in the support
vehicle. After tea and cake at the top we have an undulating ride into Ooty.
Set at an altitude of 2177m, the cool climate of the Nilgiri Hills gives us a
break from the hotter plains below. Arriving late morning, we take lunch in
our comfortable hotel. The afternoon is free to explore the town and to
sample some of their famous cardamom tea. Ooty is called the ‘Queen of the
hill stations’ and although now it is a busy little town there is lots to
see and do. Originally occupied by the tribal Todas, the area came under the
East India Company at the end of the 18th Century. The British introduced tea
to the area and the hillsides around Ooty are covered in tea gardens. The
Nilgiri Hills are called the ‘Blue Mountains’, the blue colour coming
from the many eucalyptus forests surrounding the area. Both the Botanical
Gardens and the Rose Gardens are a short walk from our hotel. In the town
there are many shops selling locally grown tea and oils and homemade
chocolate. If there is time and it is running there is sometimes the chance
to go for a ride on the UNESCO listed Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a steam train
built by the British (your leader will give you details at lunchtime if this
is possible). 
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 6

After breakfast we have a stunning ride across the rolling Nilgiri Hills, the
backdrop for many Bollywood movies, before starting the dramatic descent,
dropping 2000m through the hills and tea-covered slopes of the Western Ghats.
The ride offers fantastic views over the hills below and there are some
viewpoints that should not be missed. 54km later we reach Gadalur, a typical
Indian town with one long high street selling everything, its shop-fronts
covered with colourful adverts and cheap children’s toys. Here we have a tea
break before heading towards Kerala with the final 20km descent through
tropical rain forest and bamboo covered slopes to our end point at a typical
Keralan road side restaurant. The bikes are loaded whilst we enjoy lunch and
then transfer to Guruvayoor (3.5 hours) to avoid busy roads. (Please note
that although the road is not very busy the road surface today is probably
the worst of the trip. There are many potholes and the road surface is not
even. Please take care and concentrate whilst cycling). Arriving in
Guruvayoor, we have time to relax before wandering into town and sample
delicious Keralan street food and have an evening stroll outside the temple,
which comes alive at night. It is one of the most important places of worship
for Hindus in Kerala and the fourth largest temple in India. The town is
filled with devotees dressed in traditional Keralan costume, who come here in
their thousands to offer rice, flowers and gold to Lord Krishna, an
incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The ritual starts with bathing in the temple
pond, then lighting an oil lamp on the huge 7m-high pillar of light, just in
front of the heavy temple doors. A truly beautiful spectacle. Only Hindus are
allowed beyond this point.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 7

Today we cycle by the Shree Krishna Temple. A few kilometres further is
another religious centre, Palayur Church, which is one of the oldest churches
in India and founded by the apostle St Thomas, who landed in India in AD 52.
From here we head towards the coast, cycling along country roads lined with
mango and coconut trees. There are plenty of photo opportunities as we
observe traditional life. Later, we board a ferry to Vypin Island, arriving
at Cherai Beach early afternoon. The rest of the day is free to enjoy this
stunning location and swim in the Indian Ocean. Cherai is known for its mouth
watering fresh seafood. For dinner, try the Jhinga Kachcia Aam Kari, a
speciality dish from Kerala, made with green mango and prawns simmered in
coconut milk and spices. 
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 8

We set off from our beach location towards the coast to Cochin, cycling south
and passing through small fishing communities with their colourful fishing
boats hauled up along the sands. Turning inland, we see grand houses built
with the remittance money from the Gulf States work force, as well as older
houses built during the British colonial period. Please bear in mind that the
traffic levels are high for the last 8km as we arrive at the main road to
board the ferry to Fort Cochin (Kochi). This town has a unique place in
Indian history, and to soak up the atmosphere we spend the next two nights in
Fort Cochin. After check-in at the hotel, we wander down to one of the
restaurants in the old harbour area of Kochi for lunch. Those wishing to
visit the Indo Portuguese Museum should do this today as it is closed on
Mondays. 
*Standard Hotel*

Day 9

A free day to explore the town of Cochin (Kochi), its bazaars and old harbour
area. Merchants began trading spices such as pepper and cardamom with the
Chinese, Arabs and Portugese more than 600 years ago. The Portugese
established a base here, followed by the Dutch, who were forced to hand it
over to the British in 1841. A potpourri of Indian and international
communities, it is now the bustling commercial capital of Kerala and consists
of several islands connected by ferries. Most of the major sights are close
by on Fort Kochi and Mattencharry. Warehouses filled with the smell of tea
and spices are lime-washed bright green, yellow and blue; rickety old bikes
and hand-painted trucks piled high with goods fill the narrow streets and
food stalls stand on every corner. St Francis Church is close to the hotel
– built by the Portugese in 1503 it is the burial place of Vasco de Gama
and his tomb is inside the church. Further along you come to Mattancherry and
the Dutch Palace. Constructed by the Portugese in 1568, it was gifted to the
Maharaja of Kochi before the Dutch took it over. Close to the palace is
Jewtown and the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568 for the Jewish members of
Kochi’s trading communities, it is adorned with hand-painted tiles from
China and elegant Belgian chandeliers, all donations from wealthy merchants.
The area around the synagogue, called Jew Street, is a heritage zone with
many antique and handicraft shops and is excellent for shopping. For a
culinary experience you should try the fish market near the Chinese fishing
nets, where you can buy the day’s catch and have it cooked to your own taste.
There are also plenty of shopping opportunities here.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 10

Riding out from Fort Cochin we pass 500 year old Portuguese villas, a
striking contrast to the tiny fisherman’s huts dotted along the beach road
with their long wooden boats pulled up under the palm trees and nets hung out
to dry. Many of these fishing villages are Christian; at Arthungal the old
stone church dominates its surroundings and is best viewed from the shade of
a coconut tree whilst we have a tea break. Continuing along the coast road we
head to Muhamma, famous as the start point for backwater trips. We spend the
night in a backwater resort overlooking the lake. The tranquil gardens are as
relaxing as the Ayurvedic massage and treatements on offer to its guests. In
the afternoon and early evening, relax on the veranda as backwater life
unfurls before you. 

*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 11

After a lie-in you can enjoy an optional 22km bike ride to explore the
village. Alternatively you can relax for the morning. Around midday we board
a fabulous backwater houseboat for an unforgettable trip to Trikunnapuzha.
These converted rice barges have 2-berth cabins with en-suite bathrooms and
come with their own cook. With our bikes stacked on the side of the boat you
won’t see the saddle for another 19 hours, just relax and watch the world go
by. Vessels of all sizes use the lakes and canals that make up this
fascinating network of waterways. The smaller boats ferry passengers and
goods between tiny hamlets perched on narrow spits of land. On one side of
the canal vast paddy fields of iridescent green stretch as far as the eye can
see; on the other are fishing nets and coconut trees. As the sun begins to
set, the boats are moored together and we gather on deck for sundowners. 

*Overnight Houseboat*

Day 12

We have breakfast on the houseboats as they move from their overnight mooring
point to our disembarkation point. Here we meet the support vehicle and set
off along a quiet coastal road to the Valaazhikal ferry crossing. We load the
bikes on a local fishing boat to cross the river estuary; we pass by
Amrithanadamayi Ashram, better known as the Hugging Mama Ashram, a spiritual
retreat overlooking the backwaters. We then join the main road to Quillon and
have lunch at a seaside guesthouse: the fish is bought fresh from the market
and cooked in mild spice and served with Poratta, a favourite Keralan bread.
After lunch we are back on quiet roads for the last 30km to Varkala, a small
laid-back community with coffee bars and yoga schools perched along its
cliff-top. We spend the next two nights here. 
*Standard Hotel*

Day 13

Today is a full free day to relax and enjoy the beachside location. There are
a number of beach shack restaurants for lunch which serve excellent seafood.
Try some of the Tandoori dishes – the clay ovens give a more authentic taste
to breads and curries. The last night’s meal is generally at the hotel with a
fusion of all your favourite Keralan dishes.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 14

Those on the flight inclusive package will be transferred to Trivandrum
airport early in the morning, for the daytime flight back to London. Land
Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

Prices & Dates

Date: 2017-10-152017-10-28

Trip code: MIK171015

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2085

Book now

Date: 2017-10-222017-11-04

Trip code: MIK171022

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2035

Book now

Date: 2017-10-292017-11-11

Trip code: MIK171029

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2095

Book now

Date: 2017-11-122017-11-25

Trip code: MIKP171112

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2605

Book now

Date: 2017-11-192017-12-02

Trip code: MIK171119

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2095

Book now

Date: 2017-11-262017-12-09

Trip code: MIK171126

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2095

Book now

Date: 2017-12-102017-12-23

Trip code: MIK171210

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2035

Book now

Date: 2017-12-172017-12-30

Trip code: MIK171217

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2135

Book now

Date: 2017-12-242018-01-06

Trip code: MIK171224

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2135

Book now

Date: 2018-01-072018-01-20

Trip code: MIK180107

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-01-142018-01-27

Trip code: MIK180114

Availability: Available

Price: €2235

Book now

Date: 2018-01-282018-02-10

Trip code: MIK180128

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2155

Book now

Date: 2018-02-042018-02-17

Trip code: MIK180204

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2155

Book now

Date: 2018-02-112018-02-24

Trip code: MIKP180211

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2795

Book now

Date: 2018-02-182018-03-03

Trip code: MIK180218

Availability: Available

Price: €2155

Book now

Date: 2018-02-252018-03-10

Trip code: MIK180225

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2155

Book now

Date: 2018-03-042018-03-17

Trip code: MIK180304

Availability: Available

Price: €2155

Book now

Date: 2018-03-182018-03-31

Trip code: MIK180318

Availability: Available

Price: €2155

Book now

Date: 2018-03-252018-04-07

Trip code: MIK180325

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2155

Book now

Date: 2018-04-222018-05-05

Trip code: MIK180422

Availability: Available

Price: €2155

Book now

Date: 2018-09-162018-09-29

Trip code: MIK180916

Availability: Available

Price: €2115

Book now

Date: 2018-10-072018-10-20

Trip code: MIK181007

Availability: Available

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-10-142018-10-27

Trip code: MIK181014

Availability: Available

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-10-212018-11-03

Trip code: MIK181021

Availability: Available

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-10-282018-11-10

Trip code: MIK181028

Availability: Available

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-11-042018-11-17

Trip code: MIK181104

Availability: Available

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-11-112018-11-24

Trip code: MIKP181111

Availability: Available

Price: €2855

Book now

Date: 2018-11-182018-12-01

Trip code: MIK181118

Availability: Available

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-11-252018-12-08

Trip code: MIK181125

Availability: Available

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-12-092018-12-22

Trip code: MIK181209

Availability: Available

Price: €2255

Book now

Date: 2018-12-162018-12-29

Trip code: MIK181216

Availability: Available

Price: €2345

Book now

Date: 2018-12-232019-01-05

Trip code: MIK181223

Availability: Available

Price: €2345

Book now

Date: 2019-01-062019-01-19

Trip code: MIK190106

Availability: Available

Price: €2385

Book now

Date: 2019-01-132019-01-26

Trip code: MIK190113

Availability: Available

Price: €2385

Book now

Date: 2019-01-272019-02-09

Trip code: MIK190127

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-02-032019-02-16

Trip code: MIK190203

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-02-102019-02-23

Trip code: MIKP190210

Availability: Available

Price: €2915

Book now

Date: 2019-02-172019-03-02

Trip code: MIK190217

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-02-242019-03-09

Trip code: MIK190224

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-03-032019-03-16

Trip code: MIK190303

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-03-102019-03-23

Trip code: MIK190310

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-03-242019-04-06

Trip code: MIK190324

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-04-142019-04-27

Trip code: MIK190414

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-04-212019-05-04

Trip code: MIK190421

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-09-152019-09-28

Trip code: MIK190915

Availability: Available

Price: €2285

Book now

Date: 2019-09-292019-10-12

Trip code: MIK190929

Availability: Available

Price: €2285

Book now

Date: 2019-10-062019-10-19

Trip code: MIK191006

Availability: Available

Price: €2375

Book now

Date: 2019-10-132019-10-26

Trip code: MIK191013

Availability: Available

Price: €2375

Book now

Date: 2019-10-202019-11-02

Trip code: MIK191020

Availability: Available

Price: €2375

Book now

Date: 2019-10-272019-11-09

Trip code: MIK191027

Availability: Available

Price: €2375

Book now

Date: 2019-11-032019-11-16

Trip code: MIK191103

Availability: Available

Price: €2375

Book now

Date: 2019-11-102019-11-23

Trip code: MIKP191110

Availability: Available

Price: €2985

Book now

Date: 2019-11-172019-11-30

Trip code: MIK191117

Availability: Available

Price: €2375

Book now

Date: 2019-11-242019-12-07

Trip code: MIK191124

Availability: Available

Price: €2375

Book now

Date: 2019-12-012019-12-14

Trip code: MIK191201

Availability: Available

Price: €2375

Book now

Date: 2019-12-152019-12-28

Trip code: MIK191215

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

Book now

Date: 2019-12-222020-01-04

Trip code: MIK191222

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

Book now

Customer Feedback

Far exceeded expectations

Summary:
It’s a wonderful trip. Every last detail has been meticulously planned from
the routes to the choice of hotels, where to have lunch, where to rest during
the cycling… It was my first cycling holiday and I enjoyed that part of it
more than expected – if you’re reasonably fit, with the exception of Ooty
Hill it’s perfectly manageable. In that sense the heat and humidity is the
hardest part of the cycling. However, the standout for me was the food –
simply incredible… I like Indian food in the UK but this was another level
entirely – a huge variety of flavours and certainly not crazy spicy.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Getting to the top of Ooty Hill. Physically, the toughest thing I’ve ever
done (it’s brutal) – despite taking on electrolyes and other fluids, being in
shape and generally sporty (I’m mid 30’s and not carrying any weight) I got
badly dehydrated and must of stopped 12-15 times. However, I was enormously
proud of myself for cycling the full 13km /1,300m of height gain. And next
time I’ll know the sort of training I need to do! The other highlight was
seeing an elephant in the wild for the first time on the game drive, which
again was a lot more fun that I expected.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Safi was easily the best group leader I’ve had and I’ve done these group
tours all over the world. He was incredibly conscientious and kind as well
as being exceptionally well organised – time and again he went the extra
mile. He’d always phone ahead so everywhere we stopped was expecting us and
his advice on things like what not to eat was greatly appreciated. Finally,
when he needed to put his foot down with either us or his team he’d do so in
a gentle, understated way – often with a chuckle. He had a great sense of
humour.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Go when it’s a bit cooler, padded cycling shorts are a must and take
electrolytes if you sweat a lot. Oh and try the Kerala bread – kind of a
cross between naan bread, a pancake and puff pastry (I couldn’t get enough of
it!)

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Most of the cycling is in the morning so there is time to relax or go for a
wander in the afternoons – assuming you’re willing to brave the heat that is!

Read full review

Cycle Kerala and Tropical India

Summary:
A great trip – with huge diversity of experience and atmosphere

My first time in India, and Kerala was probably the right place to start

Good cycling, paced by time in Kochi city/time on the backwaters/a brief time
on the beach

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling through the winding roads between vivid green tea plantations

Dusk viewed through the tracery of Kochi’s fishing nets

Lunch on the family terrace in Kochi

The general Indian assault of colour and light

The genuine sense of welcome from schoolkids and passers by

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Joseph/Shibu (not forgetting Harry the driver) were all lovely
Calm, assiduous and unfailingly patient and courteous – in what could have
been a v stressful and dangerous context (some of this cycling is really
quite dangerous if you cease to concentrate for the wrong moment!)

The one thing that was really lacking was the cultural/historical input
And quite reasonably, Joseph/Shibu cannot be good at everything
However, the 2/3 one off guides hired to do this in situ were all terrible –
the one in Mysore took a 10 minute call to sell carpets in the middle of our
Palace tour, another local guide outside Mysore at the temple was
incomprehensible
This could I imagine be easily sorted with some better on the spot
recruitment

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
You WILL get ill (unless perhaps you are a v seasoned Indian traveller)
Pace yrself as the combination of cycling and heat and illness can be
difficult

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I much preferred the second week of holiday
Mysore was OK
but the Tiger Reserve/Ootey were not terribly interesting – may have been bad
weather we had
I would happily have had a longer time concentrated in Kerala
The last venue was pleasant – hotel/beach etc, but it was surrounded by
tripperish shops and outlets which was a pity after so much of genuine India

Read full review

5000 miles away from my life in rural England!!!

Summary:
What a shock to the senses arriving in Mysore on the first day of what was to
be an amazing 2 weeks! The colour and noise of India was exhilarating! Such a
brilliantly varied trip – I loved it! So much more than just a cycling
holiday! A real snapshot of Southern India that I would recommend to anyone
who loves to see and do a lot whilst away.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Just arriving in India and realising that my 2 week adventure was about to
begin!
Against all odds, seeing a tiger drinking at the waterhole in Bandipur
National Park!
Mysore Palace at night (I nearly didn’t go cos it was the first night and I
was SO tired!)

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Safi was a nice enough guide but could have been a bit more forthcoming with
info about places visited and things seen along the route.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take: a bag for front of your bike to avoid bumbags/rucksacks (it’s too
hot!), shower gel if you don’t like soap (that’s what most of the hotels
provide), loo roll (not provided in loos out of hotels), electrolyte tabs for
your drink, concentrated squash (makes that warm water a little more
interesting!) and BINOCULARS for the safari (a must!)

Add as many extra days in Varkala at the end of the holiday as you can (one
day just isn’t enough!) but book it yourself (Exodus charged us double the
going rate!!). We used the group flight but left 2 days later than everyone
else and were so glad we did!

Read full review

Enjoy South India from the comfort of a bike saddle

Summary:
Described as “moderate/challenging”, this cycling adventure produced
everything promised – varied cycling experiences in Indian towns and
villages, backwater houseboat cruise, fabulous food and a relaxing beach at
the end.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Hard to pick just one inspirational moment when there were many, but for me
the houseboat trip felt like a privilege: the leisurely pace of the cruise
and the photography opportunities as the evening light changed, not to
mention the beautiful meals cooked on board for us.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our leader was Joseph, and together with his team he kept everyone on track
and ensured we were well fed, safe and gave us good direction. He let people
go off on their own when it was safe to do so, and kept everyone in check and
under his wing when cycling through busy urban areas. His management skills
ensured that we kept to time, while at the same time allowing us flexibility
to visit local homes, tea shops and tourist areas if we wanted. He made
staying in Indian hotels easy – no worries about accommodation, food safety
or what to tip. He also anticipated some of us needing to know if we could
get a beer at the hotels, ensuring we bought in advance if there was going to
be a no-alcohol policy at the next hotel.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
I took my own saddle cover for comfort – not a necessity, but a little luxury
for the last day which is the longest cycling and some roads a bit bumpy.
Always carry hand wash or soap leaves with you – taps for washing hands were
normally available at snack stops, but not always soap. Anti-mosquito spray
was needed in the evenings at the National Parks and Verkala.
Don’t be put off by other road users/traffic in India – Indian drivers are
much more sensitive to cyclists than British drivers in my experience. They
want you to survive, they take care to avoid you, they beep their horns as a
warning that they are there, not to tell you to get out of the way. I felt
much safer cycling in India than I do cycling in my own home city – London

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I have been on quite a few Exodus cycling trips now and can highly recommend
this one for the itinerary, the varied experiences, the cycling (the uphill
day was hard but exhilarating, the downhill day exciting), the views,
photography opportunities, and the Leader is experienced. The last you can
only appreciate when you have been on other trips where the Leader lacks
skill.

Read full review

Cycle Kerala

Summary:
It was an amazing holiday. We saw a variety of landscapies and interesting
items. The routes were varied and entertaining. I had the option to ride the
bus when the road was too steep or too busy.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Riding down hill from Ooty in the mist through the eucalyptus trees.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Safi was informative, helpful and fabulous.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Mmske the most of all the trip has to offer.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
It was a great experience and I would highly recommend the tour.

Read full review

Savouring a section of India at bike speed

Summary:
It would be foolish to try and get a taste of all of India in two weeks. You
would need to spend at least half your time flying and busing from one corner
to another. This tour allows you to savour a corner of India at a reasonable
pace. We had a chance to experience the moderately sized city Mysore, see the
beaches, the hill country, national parks and cycle both in moderate traffic
(hint- don’t look back) and on quiet back roads.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Loved -seeing the people washing in the river outside Mysore
-recognizing the extent of our disposable plastic problem
– the range of climate from dry land in the parks to the canals of Alleppey
– seeing a tiger. Yes we were that lucky.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
I appreciated that our leader Safi allowed us to cycle – when reasonable- at
our own pace. Safi has a quiet sense of humour. He was sensitive to the
groups various food needs, always calm and in control of the situation.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Look out for the tuk tuks in Kochi. They will try very hard to get you into
‘tourist’ stores. That can be fun, but be prepared to wonder about the value.
Consider Dukoral to reduce the chance of stomach upsets.
Pack your sense of humour. It is all part of the experience.
Enjoy the people. I found that a smile or wave, especially to small children
would be rewarded with wonderful welcoming smiles in return. We spent some
time before and after the biking on our own. People were helpful friendly and
happy to share their lovely country.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
You don’t have to be an expert cyclist to do this tour. It is possible to opt
out of some of the more difficult areas. I only managed to cycle 1/2 way up
the nasty switch backs to Ooty. The rest I enjoyed on foot.
Be prepared to enjoy some very good food. Pack expandable clothing.

Read full review

Kerala

Summary:
All in all this was a fabulous trip ! Food was excellent. Hotels etc
excellent. Cycling challenging enough to give you something to think about
each day. Local people wonderful ! Just do it !

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling all the way up Ootty !

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Saafi and his team were EXCELLENT !!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Ladies don’t worry you can cycle in Lycra and vests all the time. I packed
all sorts of cover up clothes that never came out of my bag !

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I packed mozzy stuff, Imodium, and pain killers – NONE WERE NECESSARY. –
fabulous trip !!

Read full review

Fantastic trip

Summary:
This was a whistle stop tour of southern India with a great variety of
scenery, some absolutely amazing food & fantastic accommodation. The cycling
was straightforward & the Exodus tour guides were great. Can’t recommend it
highly enough.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
I managed 30 of the 36 hairpins going up Ooty Hill before waiting for my
partner who wasn’t feeling well. Big achievement for me & one of my personal
highlights.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Joseph (leader) & Shibu (driver) were a fantastic team & they gave us
everything we needed & more besides on the trip. Unfortunately there were
only 3 of us on my departure (because the other guests cancelled the day
before) so Joseph & Shibu spent a lot of time with us, talking about India,
their lives & ours. I cannot speak highly enough of them. They are absolutely
lovely people & made the trip for us.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Don’t be nervous on the roads – they are insane & chaotic but you get used to
the traffic & soon start understanding how they work. Confidence is the key!

The cycling really isn’t very challenging so don’t worry about doing loads of
training before you take the trip. Only Ooty is tough but that’s optional &
you can take your time if you do go for it.

Jump in with both feet & enjoy the culture shock! Oh & eat as much food as
you can manage, it is amazing.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I can’t fault this trip. It offers an amazing array of scenery (seaside,
city, mountains, forest, tea plantations) & the accommodation & food is
fantastic.

The only slight downside was the fact there were only 3 of us (we are a young
couple & the other guest was an older solo traveller). This meant we couldn’t
enjoy the group holiday experience which we had hoped for (& enjoyed on a
previous Exodus trip) but it was outside Exodus’ control so was just
unfortunate.

Read full review

Sensational!

Summary:
I did this trip with some trepidation as to whether it would live up to a
previous cycling trip I had done with Exodus (IndoChina & Angkor) which was
brilliant, no worries there, this was an amazing experience in so many ways.
Firstly the variety stands out for me, each day offering new unseen before
sights, giving another view of India.
The organisation was very good, accommodation and eating arrangements all
hassle free. Bikes were in excellent condition and easy to ride with their
smooth tyres. The trip is classed as ‘challenging’ but don’t be put off by
this as only a short ride on first day and the 36 ‘hairpins’ are a
challenge. Neither are compulsory and quite a few walked without bikes
instead. The rest is fairly flat and downhill and many days are short as you
start early to avoid the heat. The roads are mainly quiet with a few busy
bits but the drivers in India seemed more accommodating than those in UK!
We were a group of nine and the group gelled really well, we had a lot of fun
🙂 one of the group even had a guitar which added to the entertainment!
It was very hot in March and it is essential to drink lots of water at every
opportunity. One particularly good part about this trip is the very few
transfers (on the bus) that is has, some trips have quite a few I have noted.
Overall India was a revelation to me, quite different to what I was
expecting. The people are friendly and keen to speak to you as they practice
their English. I took away so many memories and am so glad I decided to do
this trip.
In summing up there is nothing not to like about this trip.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Well some might say completing the 36 hairpin climb which was a sense of
enormous personal achievement however 2 things stand out for me….seeing
and managing to get some really good photos of a leopard, truly amazing to
see this amazing creature in the wild. Also the ride after leaving Ooty where
you have a long downhill, the bit before this as you pass through the tea
plantations, the peace and array of colours did it for me.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our leader was Safi, an experienced rider who has done this trip 70+ times I
believe. He was organised, friendly and sorted out any issue or request we
had. He was well supported by Vipen our other biker and Maneesh who was our
water and banana man along with being the driver of the bus in which all our
bags went. They were a really good team together. They joined in our fun and
made the trip so much better for it. I felt safety was high on the agenda and
always felt so at all times.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take a good camera, one with a zoom lens and one you can carry on the bike,
also get a cheap handle bar bag to carry it in too. Handy for phone, hand
gel, sun protection etc.
Padded shorts are essential and a gel seat or seat cover will help too.
Hand gel/wipes at every opportunity! Travel light, don’t take any super smart
clothes, you won’t need them!
Buy clothes and haggle but be reasonable.Take cash £ to change, its easier
as sometimes an ATM is not always available. India is cheap for most things
so your money will go a long way.
Do the kitty the notes advise, makes for much less hassle and is in fact good
value on reflection.
Don’t delay..book it!!!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
We arrived a day early to get the best flights and took the opportunity to do
a cooking course in Mysore, time well spent.
Travel from Bangalore to Mysore is a good 3.5-4 hours, taxi from airport is
best way if traveling independently.
Sun protection absolutely essential

Read full review

Cycling Kerala and Tropical India

Summary:
Our first Exodus cycling trip and we will definitely be travelling with
Exodus on our next adventure. It is a great introduction to India if its your
first trip (its relative prosperity makes for less hassle from residents) and
it offers a different perspective to the hustle, bustle (and many more
tourists) of Rajasthan if you have travelled further north in the country.
Beautiful and varied landscapes with an interesting itinerary and most
memorable for us for time spent simply chatting with our guides along the way
about life in India.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Our favourites:
scenery: ascent to Ooty hill station and the dramatic descent through the
hills and tea plantations
sight: tiger in the wild in Bandipur National Park
town: exploring Cochin
relaxation: night and day on the houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The whole support team were great company and worked hard to ensure that
everyone in our group had a fabulous trip. What they may have lacked in
detailed “technical knowledge” about the history, geography and culture of
our surroundings they more than made up for with their friendly manner,
determination to protect us all from the madness of the indian traffic and
their delightful company.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The fitter you are the more you will enjoy this trip (although the Ooty climb
is the only really challenging ride so hop on the bus for the scenic drive or
walk if you wish to avoid it). Leave your cleated cycling shoes at home – the
traffic in towns is very challenging and we felt safer unclipped. Keep really
well hydrated (salt and sugar – not just water). we avoided all meat for the
duration of the trip and remained fit and well. Be prepared for very basic
accommodation and if you can do upgrade to the premium trip for a bit more
comfort. if you get chance take an extra few days at the end to rest and
reflect on the experience – we opted for a beautiful spa resort further south
along the coast – never has luxury felt so welcome!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
don’t be deterred about being over-organised. we were very wary of any group
trip but found our fellow travellers a delight and there is opportunity along
the way to do your own thing too

Read full review


Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


Facebook
SHARE