Bicycle Tours in Kerala
Join us for a cycling tour in South India and Kerala that you will leave you mesmerized! Meander through the sandy beaches of Kochi, the perfect landscape of Munnar to the splash of backwaters that is Kerala! A wondrous mix of beaches, plantations, wildlife, lakes create an exciting mélange of scenic fabric of South India.
When to go cycling in Kerala and South India
With varied terrain, starting form below sea level in costal plains to 1900m in the mountains, Kerala has a diverse climate. A typical tropical climate, it remains cooler in the highlands and hot and humid in coastal plain through out the year.
Mid-November to end of February is the winter time is Kerala, which is best experienced in the highlands with pleasant climate in mornings and temperature falling below 10°C during night. A fleece jacket or warm sweater and long pants may be needed for the cooler evenings and mornings in hill stations. The temperature in plains averages between 25°C to 31°C during this time.
From Beginning of March till end of May, it’s summer. The temperatures go above 40°C during some days in coastal pains and generally remains very hot and humid. The highlands still offer some relief during this time with comparatively cooler climate.
Start of June is the beginning of Monsoon season in Kerala. Kerala receives two cycles of Monsoon. From June till September, it’s southwest monsoon, which brings heavy rainfalls till mid of August and it slowly weakens towards end of September. The second cycle, North east monsoon, starts from beginning of October till mid November with light to heavy showers mainly during the evening hours.
We take you through the south western half of peninsular India. A fabulous journey which passes through thick jungles, tropical rain forests, verdant tea plantations, rice fields, terraced vegetable gardens and Eucalyptus trees. The rides cover flat plains, rice fields and the hills of the Western Ghats.
The Western Ghats also known as the Great Escarpment of India is one of the top bio- diversity hot spots in the world and is home to many rare species of flora and fauna, some of which are still yet to be discovered. It runs parallel to the western coast all the way from Mumbai till the tip of the Peninsular.
As we ride through this fabulous landscape we are greeted with the regular chorus of the jungle!. Chirping birds and noisy crickets add a musical note different from the beep and honks of Crazy Indian Traffic. The routes are full of ups and downs and at times the climbs can be challenging as we ascend to altitudes close to 2000 meters above sea level.
Birds such as – Pelicans, King fisher, hornbills, Indian roller, Peafowl, Jungle Fowl, Hawks, Eagles, Minivets, Bulbuls and Sun birds which are all endemic to this region.
Mammals such as – Indian Gaur, Elephants, Leopards, Tigers, Spotted Deer, wild boar, bears, Sambar, Giant Squirrels and monkeys.
Having said all that, it should be your lucky day to spot them!
Food: Keralan spicy fish curry along with boiled tapioca sauteed with little turmeric and mustard Kerala vegetarian meal on banana leaf, variety of spiced-up local side dishes and curries prepared with beef, chicken, mutton, clams or prawns
Drink: Chaaya(milk tea), Sulaimani (a black tea), toddy(naturally fermented sap brewed from coconut flower bud)
Art: Cultural show with traditional dance forms like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Theyyam, Ottanthullal and Kalaripayattu, Kerala’s own martial art
Culture: Hinduism, Fort Kochi with its fusion of 7+ communities, profuse influence of Christianity along the coast, backwater village life, tea plantation culture.
Recommended reading list
“Nine Lives: In search of the sacred in modern India” by William Dalrymple – explores the lives of 9 people in India and their religious paths.
“Portrait Kerala” by Aruna Nambiar – presents Kerala, it’s land, people, faith, rituals, art forms through more than 200 photographs
“God of small things” by Arundhati Roy – a story set in backwater village of Kerala, capturing aspects on communism, Kerala Syrian christian way of life and caste system
“Kerala – land of palms” by I.H. Hacker, a peek into life in Kerala during early 1900
Ease back into a Kerala cycling holiday
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Reviews from our friends
Thang Nguyen from AU5.0
had a great trip
We had a great trip, biking from Kochi to Chennai. Our group of 3 made up of one avid young cyclist, and two elderly newbies. The avid biked ahead at twice the speed, so Ajesh, the van driver, followed/led her thru the daily course. Muthu - the guide- and the newbies followed later. Muthu helped shield the crazy Indian traffic from the newbies. We all had a good time. We rode early into sunrises over beautiful countryside, sampled exotic fruits and local cuisine, stayed in historic mansions or local boutique hotels, smelled different Indian spices, visited old majestic temples, and took photo with many warm wishers from villages. There were not many foreign tourists back roads, so we were quite noticeable and welcome. The traffic was just crazy and nerve-racking at times for us newbies coming from the US and riding on the right side of the road (not that it mattered), although Muthu did his best to shield us from the traffic, and re-route the route to less traveled rural roads. Experienced bikers might be more comfortable with traffic though. We would rate the trip higher otherwise. Guide Muthu and driver Ajesh were great: friendly, helpful, professional, timely. We enjoyed their company.
Sheila Wong from UK5.0
true immersion in the sights, sounds, and smells of South India
The Kochi to Chennai ride is a true immersion in the sights, sounds, and smells of South India. It is suitable for adventurous riders. There’s some tough hills going through the Western Ghats (days 3 & 4), with rest of the ride through Tamil Nadu mostly flat. The guide and driver were friendly and attentive. The lodging and food are good. The historical sites visited, especially the ones in Mahabalipuram, are wonders.
Philip Hemsted from UK5.0
Wonderful two week experience
Wonderful two week experience of Kerala backwaters and mountains. Biking 40-60km day, couple of days hiking and a day kayaking, with plenty of time to relax and explore. Great for wildlife. Highlights include watching sunrise from Western Ghats, nature walk in Periyar wildlife sanctuary, kayaking through backwaters. Additional visits to spice gardens, tea factory, boat builder and toddy restaurant made it feel more than a holiday and more of an education. Knowledgable guides and good minibus support made the daily routing comfortable. Cycling in Indian traffic does take some getting used to, especially frequent use of horns and buses running to a timetable. Our guide Dibin was very safety conscious and had no problems in traffic.