A Cycling Adventure in India
The two southernmost states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala perfectly depict the contrasting nature of India. Seeing them on two wheels is an excellent opportunity to soak up the rich culture and appreciate the different landscapes as you cycle by. Tamil Nadu sees far fewer visitors than other Indian states, but this is part of the attraction as the trip follows quiet back roads from the fertile coastal plains in the east to the remarkable hills of the Western Ghats which form the border with Kerala. The ride takes in some of the most impressive sites of southern India, including the former French colony of Pondicherry and the magnificent Sri Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. After cycling through the cooler highlands and tea estates of the Western Ghats you reach the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, where a relaxing houseboat cruise offers the chance to unwind and reflect on a memorable journey.
Our client, Mindy Halpern recently took this trip and we caught up with her to chat about the experience
What made you decide to take this trip?
“I always wanted to visit Kerala and Chennai and I like to go somewhere warm when I travel and I also like to be active. I like running, cycling, swimming so thought it would be interesting to explore somewhere new while being active.
I didn’t set out to book a cycling trip particularly but I was looking for an adventure trip. I’d been on a trekking holiday in the summer so didn’t really want to do the same sort of thing again but still wanted to be doing something physical rather than just lying on a beach.”
Did you travel alone or with friends?
“On this trip I travelled alone as my friends wanted to do Kilimanjaro. Whenever I’ve done these sort of trips in the past I’ve always met nice people so I just decided to go alone. I chose to do the trip I wanted knowing I’d meet some nice people once there.
I considered doing Kilimanjaro but I didn’t want the altitude sickness so this trip seemed like the perfect fit.”
What was the highlight of the trip for you?
“There were a couple of 100k rides on the trip that felt like a big accomplishment. In Dubai I normally average around 70k so doing 100k a few days in a row felt amazing. Also being in areas without traffic that were so green, peaceful and quiet was awesome. Riding through some of the most beautiful countryside and being in the middle of nature was fantastic.”
Where there any drawbacks or downsides to the trip?
“Where I cycle in Dubai there are no cars at all and some places on this trip in India meant having to cycle alongside cars, trucks and buses as well as navigating between pedestrians, animals and mopeds. This was more of an experience than a drawback and it certainly made for an interesting adventure cycling along next to animals on the road!”
Do you cycle a lot in everyday life in Dubai? Do you need to be fairly fit to go on a trip like this or could anyone have done it?
“I try and cycle at least once or twice a week – once in the week, once in the weekend. I would definitely say you do need to be fit to go on this trip. There is a support vehicle that can help if you’re not feeling up to it on a particular day so there’s no need to worry if you can’t do as much as some people do however, if you’re not fit enough to cycle most of the trip you may want to consider another adventure.”
What advice would you give to anyone considering this or a similar trip?
“Go for it, you’ll really enjoy. I love Adventures and their partner Exodus have very experienced guides. Our leader was brilliant, he knew the route inside out, even down to where the pot holes were in the road were! He really went above and beyond. If I mentioned bananas, he would have them down from the trees immediately and was very knowledgeable about the area.”
Would you book with I Love Adventures again?
“Yes, hands down I would recommend these guys. Exodus, alongside their partners, I love Adventures have been doing these types of trips for a long time and they really think of all the details and give you a lot of information.
Kripa from I Love Adventures is GREAT! She seems to be always working around the clock and got back to me very quickly whenever I had any questions. She’s super helpful and organised, even giving me information again that she’d already given me without any problems. She’s also very accommodating, I was having issues doing a wire transfer so she happily met me at Lulu’s to pick up the cash rather than let me struggle on any further.
My experience with I Love Adventures was better than other trip organisers because on the fitness trips they push you further. Others I’ve been with perhaps don’t do as much on the physical side and if this is was you’ve come for you really want to go for it rather than doing one hour when you’ve got three hours left in you.
My experience with ILA has been very positive, they organised all the plans so I didn’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying myself and my physical fitness. Their guides are really knowledgeable and the support was great.”