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Enjoy Coast-to-Coast South India Your Way!
20 Jan - 5 Feb 2020
‘Dave wears his sense of wonder and love for India on his sleeve, an emotional connection which is impossible to resist. Dave's genius is in his ability to allow each rider to explore India's modern and ancient cultures in the manner that suits them best. No peleton riding here, instead a relaxed sense of personal discovery, each day bringing exhilaration, laughter, joy and frequent chai stops...but with Dave, it is the laughter - and your India - that you will remember.’
Tour Information - Need to Know
Who is this Tour For?
This tour is an easy-to-moderate, comfortable tour designed for those primarily interested in the culture and adventure of south India. Yes, it is a bicycle tour! But we have carefully designed the route to begin with 8 days of absolutely flat cycling before you reach the Big Hill... your reward: 55km of downhill singing into the backwaters of Kerala. Grand total of about 740 km, but you CAN do it! We do have a backup van, but legend has it that you will desire your bicycle over the van ride...legends are made this way...
Can I Participate if I Have Never Cycled This Distance Before?
Probably 75 percent of all participants have never biked this far before in one tour, and most riders show up with little or no preparation...India is not in any hurry and neither should you be! Just be that person on the bicycle who brings enthusiasm and a keen curiosity. You will reap rewards of increased fitness and a personal connection and sense of life with whomever you meet.
Why India and why this route?
Dave’s favourite route (he has pedalled through 70 countries) is the one he will share with you as THE South India Bicycle Adventure! It’s a coast-to-coast-romp through friendly south India including: agricultural rural India, tea plantations in the mountains, game reserves, fantastic temple sites, Indian festivals, palm-fringed coastlines ...and along the way you will get to know villages, towns, local people - and the delightful bicycle group that you will share it with!
Arriving and Departing
The port of entry for most will be Chennai Airport. From there you will be shuttled to Mahaballipuram, where we have a rest day before beginning the ride. Because of the long flight time to India, consider arriving before the start date so you acclimatize...fortunately our arrival coincides with the Pongal harvest festival. Jet Airways, Lufthansa, British Airways all offer fairly direct routes to Chennai, but there are many options. Dave can put you in touch with some reliable agents. We finish in Cochin. You can connect out of Cochin airport, but you may consider staying longer and leaving from another one of the many available hubs: Goa, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai….Please connect with Dave before you make your final flight arrangements.
You will need a valid passport, one that does not expire within 6 months of entry. A tourist visa takes 7-10 days to process; please check http://www.blsindia-canada.com/index.php for details.
Note that an evisa is cheaper, faster way to go for those spending less than 60 days in India :https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html
The roads are good and comparable to cycling in western countries. We cycle the less busy routes because the quiet roads tend to be more gentle, green and scenic. There are two busy stretches: the van will transport you and your bicycle so that we avoid these entirely. A road bike will work, but we have found hybrid bikes to be perfectly suited to these roads. To ease travel, we recommend renting a bike upon arrival: contact Dave for further information and he will arrange this for you. Our backup van carries enough tools and spares for our purpose, but you will need a small pump and kit to carry while you travel.
Premium hotels will welcome you after each day’s ride. Hotels have been specially selected for their comfort and welcoming atmosphere. Where possible, and specifically for the rest days, we have selected unique heritage homes. Those interested in single accommodation should contact Dave.
Food and Water Situation
When pedaling, a cyclist’s brain moves to the stomach. Take comfort knowing that the food is exquisite, varied and fresh. From Tamil to Keralan cuisine, the food is diverse, flavourful - and plentiful - and the menu changes daily. Vegetarian and non-vegetarians are catered to equally. Famous dishes include the usual north Indian fare as well as shrimp coconut curry, fish curries of various types, chicken fry with shredded coconuts, shrimp masala, malabar biryani, idli, sambar, masala dosa and omelette for breakfast. Rich, flavourful, clean and healthy. It’s easy to eat supreme on this trip!
Typically, January has perfect weather for cycling: 28 degrees max, and 20 degrees minimum. The hill stations can be cooler, so bring a light sweater. Sunscreen is very useful.
$3,900 CAD per person, (no HST) based on double occupancy. This 2020 early bird special is on now – after September 1 the price increases $100 CAD. A non-refundable deposit of $750 reserves a spot, with full payment due November 18, 2019. E-transfer to Dave is preferred, but please contact Dave before sending.
Cancellation fees after full payment:
0-30 days before trip commences: no refund
30 – 60 days before trip commences: 50 % of trip cost is refunded. More than 60 days before trip commences: full refund except non-refundable deposit.
▪ Transfer from Chennai to Mahaballipuram
▪ 16 days of accommodation (double occupancy)
▪ All breakfasts (non-alcoholic drinks included)
▪ All dinners (all beverages extra)
▪ Photography coaching
▪ Support vehicle and local driver
▪ Local guide
▪ Fabulous reflective yellow vest
▪ Hotel tips
▪ A SIM card for your cellphone (credit extra)
▪ All lunches
▪ Your personal expenses
▪ Mandatory travel insurance
▪ Mandatory helmet
▪ Bicycle hire
▪ Small repair kit: inner tube, patches, pump
▪ Transfers out of Cochin (but Dave can help arrange this)