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Mountain cycling in India | © Subhashish Panigrahi / flickr.com
Mountain cycling in India | © Subhashish Panigrahi / flickr.com
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The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in India

Picture of Aditi Mukherjee
Updated: 15 September 2017
Are you the outdoorsy, adventurous kind? India, due to its varied terrain, has bicycling tracks for leisure cyclists and more serious riders. The Himalayas, long winding coastal roads… Let’s take a look at the best cycling tracks in India.

Manali to Shimla

The Himalayan Adventure Sports & Tourism Promotion Association organises a bicycle race from Shimla to Manali (and back) every year. The mountain cycling track crosses Shimla, Kullu and Mandi, and is said to be one of the most difficult in the world! However, you can try cycling on this track even if you’re not participating in the competition. Just be warned – it is not for the faint hearted those who just enjoy a gentle ride.

Distance covered: Approximately 500 kms in 8 days.

The hilly road from Manali to Shimla
The hilly road from Manali to Shimla | © _paVan_ / flickr.com

Chennai to Pondicherry

From the mountains in the north, we come to the coastal region in the south. The East Coast Road, or State Highway 49, is a beautifully made roadway along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It starts from Chennai in Tamil Nadu and ends at Kanyakumari. The track is easy and can be tried by both leisure and serious cyclists. It’s a good way to approach Pondicherry, an old French town of India.

Distance covered: Approximately 156 kms in 2 days.

The sea is a constant companion on the way to Pondicherry
The sea is a constant companion on the way to Pondicherry | © Pratheesh Prakash/ flickr.com

Kalimpong to Zuluk (Old Silk Route)

A short but difficult one! This track is part of Sikkim’s old silk route, a roadway used between India and China to trade silk, wool, horses, etc. for centuries, until the Sino-Indian War in 1962. It is not an easy road at all and is meant for professional cyclists and those with experience in tough, mountain cycling.

Distance covered: Approximately 88 kms in 6 days.

The rocky roads on beautiful green mountain in Zuluk
The rocky roads on beautiful green mountain in Zuluk | Tirthankar Gupta/ flickr.com

Shillong to Cherrapunji

This track is on the Cherrapunji-Shillong-Guwahati highway. With mountain peaks on one side and deep valleys on the other, this route is an expert cyclist’s dream. It’s not advisable to ride this track after sunset because the highway has little to no street lighting.

Distance covered: Approximately 54 kms in 2 days.

The winding road that leads to Cherrapunji
The winding road that leads to Cherrapunji | © Focus_Redefine_Fotography / shutterstock.com

Mumbai to Trivandrum

The Mumbai-Trivandrum track on the old National Highway 17 passes forests and beaches, caves, wildlife sanctuaries and waterfalls. It’s a delight for cyclists who are as intrigued by the journey as the destination. This road has a lot of attractions along the way, like pilgrim’s village Udupi, Bekal’s 16th century fort and many temples. It’s best not to attempt this during the monsoon season.

Distance covered: Approximately 1,721 kms in 15 days.

Beautiful landscape on the way to Trivandrum
Beautiful landscape on the way to Trivandrum | © AjayTvm / shutterstock.com

Mumbai to Daman

This route covers a beautiful part of the Western Ghats in India. Daman is part of the Daman & Diu coastal Union Territory region, which was part of Portuguese India until 1961. The road from Mumbai to Daman is a flat roadway and moderately easy.

Distance covered: Approximately 180 kms in 5 days.

The clean and plain road to Daman
The clean and plain road to Daman | © O'SHI/ shutterstock.com

Roads of Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram is located in the southernmost region of India, on Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu. The roads here are a cyclist’s dream. The best way to explore this island with beautiful temples and a gorgeous coast is to cycle.

The roads of Rameshwaram are flanked by the Arabian Sea
The roads of Rameshwaram are flanked by the Arabian Sea | © Denis.Vostrikov/ shutterstock.com

Leh to Khardung La

This is one for the experts. Although the distance is short and most of the track is paved, some is simply dirt track and is littered with rocks and rivulets of melted snow. It’s also very high, starting at Leh (11,484 ft/ 3,500 m) and rising to Khardung La (17, 582 ft/ 5,358 m). It’s a very difficult bike ride, but the breathtaking landscape is equally rewarding.

Distance covered: 39 kms in 2 days.

The road to Khardung La, not a ride for amateur cyclists
The road to Khardung La, not a ride for amateur cyclists | © Dmitry Rukhlenko / shutterstock.com