The image of cycling is undergoing a transformation in the country. More and more youngsters are waking up to the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and, more importantly, eco-friendly tourism. So, when two friends from France, who love cycling, found themselves in Jaipur some years ago and fell in love with the Pink City’s heritage and culture, it was inevitable they wanted to showcase the place through their eyes. Thus was born Cyclin’ Jaipur, a responsible initiative that gives tourists a wholesome Jaipur experience on cycles along with the upliftment of the local community.
“We work with seven to 10 local guides whom we’ve trained and three families on our tours,” says co-founder ElÃ©onore Gaspa. Cyclin’ Jaipur, started in 2013, offers cycling tours as well as walking excursions and day trips. The tours, about three hours long, take place early in the morning, and give tourists, Indians and foreigners alike, a taste of local Jaipur. While this exercise has benefited the local guides and their families with a significant increase in income, tourists get a chance to go to places they wouldn’t have otherwise visited.
“Our core objective is to keep working with the local community,” Gaspa says. Founded with her friend OphÃ©lie Teyssandier, Cyclin’ Jaipur’s most popular tour is the Pink Inside tour where tourists eat a traditional breakfast in an Indian home. “We work with local stores and markets, and take visitors to nooks and crannies of the city they wouldn’t have known of. It’s about going beyond the tourist attractions and becoming a part of Jaipur. It’s about rediscovering the city.”
There are about six cycling tours on offer. Apart from the three tours based in the city, the rest take place slightly outside the Pink City. The Royal trail is perfect for the adventurous as they get to cycle 20km to Amber and back (in a rickshaw). One is treated to a heritage trail of the Amber Fort with a delicious local lunch later. It's a perfect blend of cycling and sightseeing.
Apart from cycling tours, the company offers other local experiences too. One can try traditional cooking classes, indulge in local street food, learn to play cricket, or even take yoga lessons. It’s a complete hands-on experience for a visitor, and Gaspa even noticed a significant rise among young Indians signing up for tours.
For more information, call +91-7728060956 or visit cyclinjaipur.com; prices for tours from Rs 1,150 onwards