Most people in India live in the rural areas and nowhere is more beautiful than South India. A cycling tour to the southern part of the country takes you closer to the people and the local culture, introduces you to magnificent beaches and provides you with a great chance to explore impressive ancient architecture. Below are some 10 tips for cycling south India.
1. Choose Your Route Carefully
Route choice is extremely important when cycling in South India. Fortunately, there are many small tarmac roads connecting the rural areas and often connecting to the main roads. Nonetheless, some of these roads are inadequately signposted. If you want to meet the natives, you may have to ask for directions. Otherwise, it is also advisable to get a GPS device so that you can find the right direction at any particular time.
2. Carry a Mirror and a Horn
You can buy a mirror and a horn from many South Indian bike stores at an affordable price. On busy roads, it is important to ensure 360 view as traffic rules and lanes are often ignored, and motorists might not always be ready to slow down or veer off to avoid a collision with a cyclist. Individuals usually pull into the main roads without observing and that is when you have to blow your horn. On the other hand, most motorists drive quite slowly and will respect other road users.
3. Learn a few works in the local languages
In South India, there are a number of languages spoken and it is important to learn some basic works in the local languages. Try to learn how to great people as the locals will love it. By knowing a few words, you can easily follow the route to the next village. Being able to start a conversation is also extremely important if you understand some words in the local language. People will usually ask you similar questions, so be sure to know the answers to ensure effective communication.
4. Use Tires with Proper Grip
You can find dirt stretches on certain roads and if you have to swerve for an oncoming car or a cow, you need a bike with good tires. The proper grip provided by good tires will help you avoid slipping from time to time.
5. Carry some coins from your country
Collecting coins is a major pastime in south India and people will appreciate coins from your local country.
6. Learn importance of waggling your head.
The art of head waggle can imply ok, yes, and no problem, hello, thank you or good bye. This is a gesture that you will observe in south India on a daily basis. Nodding your head to indicate yeas might be met with confusion, so be sure to waggle your head instead.
7. Get used to the fact that curious people will want to fiddle with your bicycle
The idea of personal space and possessions may not be well defined in India. When the locals are curious, they will keep looking at your bike or even start fiddling with it. They are usually harmless, but it is advisable to carry your valuables whenever you leave you bicycle.
8. Find alternative cuisines
Indian cuisines are delicious, but sometimes you may feel overdosed with the breakfast menu options. Fortunately, there are plenty of choices available in popular restaurants. Make sure you go to top restaurants to get more food choices.
9. Be Traffic-Savvy
If you are biking in a heavy traffic area or on a narrow stretch, stay clear of the way. In addition, it is advisable to attach a rear view mirror to the bike to improve your vision.
10. Exercise patience
The countryside can also be intense so try to exercise patience when there is heavy traffic and try to follow the flow.