Having travelled to north India previously, Head of Customer Sales & Support Tanya was excited to discover Kerala, the laid back southern part of India, on our Backroads of Kerala cycling trip.
Here she tells us about her top reasons for cycling in this beautiful region.
I’d probably describe this trip as a 2 week food tour on two wheels – and what better excuse to eat your way around a region than burning off energy as you cycle. Kerala is famed for its curries and sampling a wide variety of these was by far one of the highlights of the trip. We dined daily on delights such as fresh fish cooked in banana leaves, egg curries, dosa , grilled fish, jackfruit – the lastest health trend sweeping the UK, chicken momos – fare from the Nepalese influence in parts of Kerala –whilst sipping lots of chai and refreshing lemon soda to keep us hydrated. We sampled an array of unusual snacks during our cycling breaks including the most delicious curried egg sweet pastry, a variety of baked sweet and savoury pastries with the odd ice cream thrown in! Vegetarians are well catered for and if you’re not a spice fan this can easily be adjusted for you. Kerala is also famed for its paratha bread and I’m sure we consumed our own body weight in it throughout the trip – guilt free!
These were a highlight for me I felt immediately at home and relaxed - which is just what you need after cycling through the day. I felt transported back in time as we sat in rocking chairs on the verandah sipping beer at the Planters Homestay and watched the most incredible thunderstorms roll over us. We were able to wander around this fantastic colonial building and the old plantation garden where fresh vegetables, herbs and spices were grown, and then sampled daily in the fantastic food produced. Our hosts were also incredibly welcoming and gave us an privileged insight into local Keralan life.
Cruising the Backwaters
It was a relief to get off the saddle for a while and enjoy what Kerala is famous for – its backwaters. We spent three hours drifting along these lagoons and lakes watching the locals go about their everyday lives. It was great to watch the world go by without having to peddle!
It’s not just a means of transport – it’s an experience in its own right. You see far more on two wheels and can really immerse yourself in local life. From being spurred on daily by the children waving to you and shouting hello along the roadside to stopping for refreshments at the local coconut seller. Don’t underestimate your ability as everyone on the trip made it along most of the routes and the sense of achievement (and the snacks!) made it all worthwhile.
With our superb support crew anticipating all of our moves there was always the option to grab a lift if needed. Cycling in the UK can sometimes put people off cycling holidays – but in Kerala it’s a completely different experience. Drivers beep their horn to acknowledge that they have seen you. This seemed strange at first and oddly comforting at the same time. I felt far more confident cycling on the roads in Kerala than I do in the UK – drivers appear so much more considerate there!