#TravelBucketlist: 5 Thrilling Cycling Trails to Take in India

#TravelBucketlist: 5 Thrilling Cycling Trails to Take in India
Go on a road trip across India. But take your cycle Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In a tribute to the widespread newfound love for cycling in the context of the pandemic, here are five beautiful long-distance cycling routes in India

Karan Kaushik
June 02 , 2022
12 Min Read

I remember rolling in the aisles to a meme back in 2020, when the pandemic broke out. It said that COVID-19 might be a pandemic for the world but for Delhiwalas, it’s a cycling competition. Indeed, with gyms not being allowed to operate even after the lifting of the lockdown, cycling emerged as the most popular form of workout and local exploration across the country. People realised the need to stay fit and are increasingly taking to cycling to improve their immunity and keep the threat of catching the dreadful virus at bay.

And why not? Cycling is relatively safe and lets everyone maintain social distancing easily. From burning calories to promoting weight loss and endurance building to releasing endorphins, cycling offers a plethora of health benefits. While it works some of our core muscles, it also keeps our lungs, heart, and brain healthy.
Adventurers from around the world bike across India
Then there are the big-time enthusiasts who cover long distances and cycle through varied landscapes. Run an Instagram search for #cyclingindia and you’d know what I am talking about. So, now that people are desperate to hit the great outdoors, how about blending cycling with our love for the outdoors? Here's a list of 5 cycling trails across India that you must add to your winter bucketlist.


Mumbai to Daman
Give Lonavala and Khandala a break and head towards Daman for a change. Before leaving Mumbai, grab some snacks from Bhajanlal dairy at Mira Road. The scenic ride takes you through the well maintained NH-8. Lined with trees, the highway is usually less crowded and gives you a break from those endless traffic jams. 

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Happy Faces 🚴🚴🚴🚴😇 . . #friends #friendshipgoals #trip #damantrip #fun #fitness #cycling #daman #MumbaitoDaman #tour #travel #explore #bikepacking #mumbai

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If feeling peckish, stop by at any roadside eatery on the Vapi-Daman route. While in Daman, explore St. Jerome Fort, Cathedral of Bom Jesus, the Lighthouse, and Devka beach. You must also visit the Dominican Monastery and the Gothic structures in Nani Daman. If you are looking for a place to unwind and rest your limbs, look no further than the charming Mirasol Lake.

Route: Mumbai-Thane-Manor- Talasari-Vapi-Daman
Distance: 170 km
Duration: 2-3 days
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Where to eat: Jagjit Veera’s Dhaba, Vapi-Daman road; Varkund, Nani Daman; Hotel Walton Khathiyawadi – NH-48, Sasunavghar

Udaipur to Jodhpur
Riding from Udaipur to Jodhpur takes you through varied landscapes while introducing you to the rich cultural and historic heritage of Rajasthan. Meet camel herders on your way, or spot a deer or blackbuck in the scrubs, or experience the warm hospitality of the Rabari folks, this is a truly enriching experience.

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Apart from Udaipur and Jodhpur, some of the major stops on this journey could be the magnificent Kumbalgarh Fort, the historical Haldighati, the impressive Jain temples of Ranakpur, and the villages of Jojawar and Dhakri, where you can observe desert life at its most authentic. Just before Jodhpur, don’t forget to pay obeisance at the Om Bullet Baba Temple, where the presiding deity is a Royal Enfield.

Route: Udaipur-Kumbhalgarh-Ranakpur-Jojawar-Dhakri-Jodhpur
Distance: 352 km
Duration: 8-10 days
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Where to eat: Gazebo, Club Mahindra, Kumbalgarh; Amrai Valley Restaurant, Ranakpur; Harmony Restaurant, near Roopam Mata Temple

Kalimpong to Zuluk
Featuring thrilling hairpin bends, snow-covered mountains, and deep valleys, this route is pretty challenging in comparison to the others that have been featured in this piece. In Kalimpong, get drenched in colonial charm at Gothic buildings, including the must-visit MacFarlane Memorial Church. From Kalimpong, cycle to the pristine Lampokhari Lake at Aritar and head downhill through the Dalapchand Valley. 

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Take a break at Rongli located on the banks of river Rongpo before taking the uphill road to the tiny hamlets of Sisney and Lingtam. After spending a night at one of these villages, visit the old Buddhist monastery in Phadamachen and finally cycle your way through alpine forests to reach Zuluk. You could also take short treks to Ramitav viewpoint, Tinchuley viewpoint and Silent Valley near Aritar.

Route: Kalimpong-Gangtok-Zuluk
Distance: 88 km
Duration: 6 days
Difficulty level: Challenging
Where to eat: Silk Route Retreat, Pedong; Puspa Restaurant, Kalimpong

Read: Northeast on a Bicycle: A Journey Through Meghalaya

Munnar to Annamalai
From well-manicured tea estates to ancient temples and sandalwood forests, this gorgeous cycling trail will take you through the best of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Cycling through the dreamy Western Ghats, you will pass some of southern India’s most picturesque landscapes. From Munnar, paddle your way through the lush tea estates of Madupatty, from where you can reach Kundala and unwind at the serene dam here. 

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Friday fun in the Kerala monsoon @mistymountainexperience #kerala #mtblife #tea #teatrails #singletrack #adventure #outdoors #nukeproofbikes #spicegarden #pedal #pepper

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Your next stop should be Anamudi Chola, where you can explore the Anamudi National Park perched atop a hill. From here, cycle to Kanthaloore via Perumala. Ride along Kanthaloore’s tea estates to sniff some sandalwood in Marayoor. Finally, embark on a temple run in Palani, from where you can head towards Annamalai via Devikulam Lake.

Distance: 210 km
Duration: 4-5 days
Difficulty Level: Easy
Where to eat: Saravana Bhavan, Munnar market, Munnar; Sandal Breeze Restaurant, Marayoor

Read: 6 Amazing Cycle Routes in Delhi-NCR

Manali to Leh
No list featuring the most breathtaking routes in India can be complete without the road connecting Manali to Leh. Perhaps the longest cycle trip among those featured here, this one is surely not for the faint-hearted and inexperienced. Nothing matches the thrill of riding through some of the world’s highest mountain passes, while stopping at age-old Buddhist monasteries. 

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When in doubt pedal it out #scootcycles #uphillcycling #downhill #manalitolehcycle

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During this almost ten-day-long trip, you can choose places like Pangong Lake, Hemis, and Chang La for overnight stays. Feel the adrenaline rushing as you descend and ascend through unpredictable hairpin bends faced with challenging climatic conditions. This track also gives you the golden opportunity to tick the popular and much-visited Rohtang Pass off your bucket list. Don’t let the inviting snow-capped peaks keep you from visiting the tiny villages tucked away in the Ladakh Valley.

Route: Manali-Pangong Lake-Hemis-Chang La-Durbuk-Tangtse-Lukung-Leh
Distance: 700 Km (approx)
Duration: 10 -12 days (approx)
Difficulty Level: Challenging
Where to eat: Whisky Nala-Leh Manali Highway; Rolling Stones camping and Restaurant, Jispa Chamba


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