Cycling in South India articles
Staff member Phil Normington travelled on this trip and you can read his article to get a personal viewpoint of the holiday.
Do I need to be super fit for Day Five's climb to Otty?
This climb is very achievable for all standards of cyclists. The best approach is frequent short water stops (with salt tablets ideally), take your time and find a comfortable rhythm. The main climb consists of 36 numbered hairpins, which vary in gradient between sections; the emphasis being almost entirely uphill. Few sections require you to actually peddle off the saddle. As you climb the temperature drops and there are frequent stopping points for rehydration and rest - the views do improve the higher you climb! The support vehicle will always be available for anyone wanting assistance or a breather, and the leader will be monitoring those less confident on the climb. The reward of reaching the top, along with the stunning views, make the ascent very special indeed - only to be matched by an exhilerating descent the following day, through the tea fields of the Western Ghats and onto tropical Kerala!
Phil Normington - Marketing Executive
What temperatures can I expect in South India?
Average temperatures range from 20C to 30C in the regions covered. The main monsoon in Kerala will start up around May and finish in September. The driest months are October through to March. Temperatures at Otty can drop to single figures as you will be approx 2200m above sea level. A jumper for the down-hill ride is advisable.
Olly Leicester - Sales
Will the hotels have towels?
The hotels you stay at will all be good quality, with en suite facilities. As such, towels are usually provided but it's always a good idea to pack a small emergency one in the end of your bag as well, just in case. You may have an odd night where the standard is slightly lower but this will usually be due to where you are and, as such, limited by what is available.
Charlotte Taylor - Customer Operations
Tips from staff who have cycled Kerala and Tropical India
While I doubt anybody would say something directly to you, you do pass through some remote villages and areas where the lifestyle is quite conservative and definitely not used to western people in anything particularly revealing. As such, I think you need to quite sensitive to the local culture and err on the side of caution when it comes to clothing. So this means no lycra, or at least baggy shorts over lycra.
Long sleeves are good for evenings, as mozzies can be out. Just layer up with Deet on anything exposed, so hands and feets (they love ankles and wrists, think becuase your veins are more exposed), neck.
Costs are hard to specify, but roughly £50 for snacks, water etc, £50 for tips at the end and £100 for meals not included. You can obviously spend over and above this and shop as much as you like. You can take some extra cash for this, or just use ATMs at different points.
I think we changed a little at the airport for a drink on the way, and then the leader pointed out the banks the next morning in Mysore - it was very early anyway! It definitely wasn't a problem, and we got a good rate when we changed the larger portion, so shouldn't be any problem.
The cycling is mostly very pleasant, with lots of quiet back roads and more undulating than anything else. The hill to Ooty was tough, I won't deny it, but about half the group went the whole way up, a few dropped out along the way and a couple took the van. There's no pressure, as people can drop out whenever they want, it's not a forced march and it's still a beautiful drive, for anyone who does take the van.
Emma Garrick - Product Manager
I've heard the 'Delhi Belly' rumours in India -will this be a problem?
India has delicious food to cater for all preferences but, like anywhere in the world, hygiene is important. Keeping your hands well washed before eating, staying as hydrated as possible and sticking to bottled water is the best protection against an upset tum. Otherwise, mashed potato is apparently a good cure!
Brendan Phelan - Customer Operations
Is it possible to get visas upon arrival?
No. Indian visas must be pre-arranged in advance. Check the Indian embassy website for details.
Will Shoubridge - Agency Sales
India country guide (including plugs!)
Please visit the Exodus Travel Guide to India where you can find out what plugs they use, as well as more detailed Country information in the menu on the left of the page.
Exodus staff - expertise on hand to help
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