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5 Must Ride Routes - South India

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5 must ride cycling routes - part 2 south india

With ‘bicycle tourism’ gaining popularity in India, we have put together a series of must ride routes across India. While covering the entire country is a dream to many, we have broken this down into 4 parts - with top routes in the North, West, East and South. Read on for information on the scenic routes of the South.


This route is predominantly in the cool hills of the South. The route starts at Munnar, Kerala and crosses into Tamil Nadu to the elephant shaped hills of Anaimalai. This route covers a total distance of about 160 kilometers, with gradual ascents and descents. This scenic route takes you through tea plantations, sandalwood forests and two national parks - Chinnan and Mannavar Chola. This route can be covered in a span of a few days, all year round.

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If you are for the mountains, explore the Blue Mountains of the South - the Nilgiris. Starting from Mettupalayam, explore the scenic hill stations of Kotagiri, Coonoor and Ooty. The total distance of the route is about 75 kilometres from Mettupalayam going to Kotagiri, Coonoor and ending at Ooty. However, the climbs involved could take some time, especially if you are just starting out in the world of cycling. This route would make for an ideal weekend bicycle tour, or a few days if you want to take time exploring. The summers and winters are ideal times to ride this route, however avoid riding this route in the monsoons.


This scenic route runs along the East Coast of India from Chennai through the beach town of Mahabalipuram and onto the former French colony of Pondicherry. This route can be covered in a day or more. You can get to Pondicherry in one day, if you are strapped for time. You could also break at Mahabalipuram and explore the iconic monuments of the town or even try your hand at surfing! The route from Chennai to Pondicherry is on the East Coast Road, with the gleaming blue ocean visible on your left, for a major portion of the ride. This route is on flat terrain, with a combination of tailwinds and headwinds. It is ideal to cover this route in the cooler months, between October and February.

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A scenic route that runs along the eastern coastline of India. This 305-kilometer route will take you through the smaller towns of South India, through picturesque landscapes of the countryside, ending at the southernmost tip of the country. The terrain is relatively flat and can be covered in 2-5 days, or more if you want to really take your time. A word of caution, the winds get stronger as you get closer to Kanyakumari. The ideal time to cover this route is between November and early March.


Start your tour in Mysore, by exploring the city on your bicycle. A couple of places to ride to and check out are the historical Mysore Palace, the iconic Brindavan gardens and Chamundi Hills. From Mysore, make your way to the “Scotland of India” - Coorg! The distance between Mysore and Coorg is about 100 kilometers and can be covered in a single day. Explore Coorg on your bicycle, taking you through valleys and hill tops with sprawling coffee estates, pleasant weather and unlimited tree cover. This route would be an ideal weekend getaway for 2-3 days.

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When it comes to bicycle touring, I feel that you get to fully experience all that a place has to offer by spending a day or two there and exploring it on your bicycle. If you are crunched on time, you can pick a shorter route and thereby spend less time getting from one place to another. Touring on a bicycle is an experience that will be etched in your memory forever if done right, so remember to plan well, and make the most of your time on the saddle! Happy Riding!


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