All you bikers out there – listen up! India is home to some of the richest trails and ranges that make for the most enriching bike rides. Once you exit the city traffic, you’ll be treated in most states to gorgeous mountain ranges, beautiful seaside scenery and a lot of lush greenery, coupled with a little snow if you’re lucky! Take a look at some of our favourites.
1. MANALI – LEH LADAKH
Be careful when you’re attempting this one, especially if you’re a new rider, since it is popularly considered one of the most difficult routes to attempt. However, it’s also one of the most satisfying. Make sure you have at least 15 days on hand to do this trip though, you cannot rush through it. You’ll be wrapped in a beautiful valley in Manali and then reach a gorgeous peak in Leh. Think about getting a guide or joining a motorcycle tour for this one, even if it is only to get past Khardung La. The pass is a very tough one to manoeuvre past. Try and pick a route that passes through Rohtang La, Sarchi and Upshi.
What we love about it: Chilly mountain air, the adrenaline rush and the monasteries dotting the path that make it as spiritual as it is thrilling.
2. SHIMLA – SPITI VALLEY
Think of riding through Shimla, on the beautiful highway and right up to an even more beautiful valley in Himachal Pradesh, where you can savour the sights and sounds of nature. The best part is that you will be heading there after a thrilling bike ride! With orchards, shrines and an invigorating resting place, the best route to get this experience would be to go past Baspa, Kinnaur, Kalpa and Kaza to reach the valley.
What we love about it: The sheer beauty of the valley, the invigorating ride and the altitude.
3. BANGALORE – KANNUR
Kannur, in Kerala, is a great destination in itself. If you’re planning a vacation in the state, the best way to do so is to combine it with this long, but brilliant bike route. You have to pass through Nagarhole and Tholpatty and then get to Kuthuparamba from Manandvady, then go all the way to Kuthuparamba before you reach the place. The scenic biking trail is home to several lakes that you can take regular pit stops at as well.
What we love about it: The roving cliffs you’ll be riding past, as well as the delicious local restaurants that dot the area once you reach Kerala.
4. POLLACHI – CHALAKUDY
Another beautiful South Indian bike trail, this one will take you all the way from Tamil Nadu to Kerala along an incredibly beautiful route. There’s no particular season to take this ride, but be careful during the monsoon since the abundance of rainforests along the area means there will always be a lot of wet areas. The best part about the forest cover is that your ride will be incredibly cool, especially through Valparai all the way to Athirapally.
What we love about it: The crazy green cover and all the dams and reserves on the way – so you can spot some wildlife while you ride through.
5. SILIGURI – YUKSOM
Riding through Darjeeling and Sikkim is always a great route, and the best way to do it is to start from Siliguri. Don’t miss out on riding through Kalimpong (and stopping at some of the colourful markets on your way). Pelling and Gangtok are also great pit stops.
What we love about it: The fact that you will be able to see the Himalayas in all their splendour as well as get a peek at the gorgeous Kanchenjunga while you’re at it.
6. BHALUKPONG – TAWANG
Have you ever ridden through a beautiful route that’s also really challenging? Make your way to Arunachal Pradesh to get through this route all the way to Tawang. There’s so much to see on this route that you will not only enjoy your ride there, you’ll also be able to soak up some pretty crazy tribal culture all through. Lots of pit stops on this one!
What we love about it: The snow covered roads at the end of the year make it a great experience.
7. BARMER – BIKANER
Yes, riding through a desert destination can be a little bit daunting. However, if you can get past endless stretches of sand without losing your mind or your willingness to ride (or push!) any further, this is one trip you must take on a bike. The ride is serene and calm because of the lack of population in most of the regions and you’ll feel like royalty when you’re done!
What we love about it: Getting to experience the Great Indian Thar Desert on a long bike ride is enough to make this one of our favourites!
8. GUWAHATI – KHASI HILLS
Be careful on this ride because it can get a little damp and the trail could be wet and slippery. However, once you get past all that, making it through Shillong right up to the Khasi Hills in the east is a great way to have the perfect biking experience. It’s quite the awesome ride, dotted with bridges and waterfalls.
What we love about it: The waterfalls make great pit stops and the living root bridges in Nongriat make the experience different from most other bike trails around the country.
9. MUMBAI – TRIVANDRUM
This seems like an unlikely ride, but it’s trully one of the best. Not only is it a great way to have a complete vacation, it’s also a little easier than most of the rest on this list. The coastal ride is dotted with beaches, and all the places you will pass through including beach hot spot Goa and the tourist friendly Cochin and Allepey, are great places to stop over for a while too.
What we love about it: Riding past the coastline is one of the best experiences you will ever have, not to mention the countless beaches you can lounge on when you’re there.
10. DELHI – MANDAWA
Have you ever wanted to ride for hours and also soak up a little history at the same time? This trip will satisfy both the biker as well as the tourist in you, not to mention how pretty it is. Going all the way from Delhi towards the Taj Mahal, you can also stop at the Fatehpur Sikri falls in between Agra and Jaipur, see some of the forts in the city and get into a cultural mood at Pushkar, where you’ll have to be careful of a slightly narrower trail. See a few of the sights and sounds in the town of Mandawa before you head back!
What we love about it: The cultural richness of the trail combined with all the forts and palaces make it a truly enriching experience.
FOR THE TRULY ADVENTUROUS
We’ve told you what trails you can head over to, but this one is honestly just for daredevils. With hairpin bends and several twists and turns, it’s no wonder that a ride from Salem to the Kolli hills in Tamil Nadu is known as the ride to the mountains of death. It’s a beautiful ride, but it’s exceptionally dangerous so don’t do it alone!
For those who can’t handle a long, adventurous ride but still want to get a biker-like adrenaline rush, there’s several routes for you too! One of our favourites is the trip from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar, because of the winding route, ascent up the hill and spectacular views on either side. You can stop at Panchgani for a while, spend a little time on the second highest plateau in Asia and even eat some strawberries on your way!
What we love about it: This is a chilled out ride, for those who love their bikes but don’t have the time to commit to a full-blown out biking tour. It’s also a good starter kit for those who want to attempt mountain trails in the future.
So there you go! India is quite the bike friendly nation, and you will meet loads of awesome people in loads of awesome local tea stalls, no matter which party of the country you choose!