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Sunita and Vandana one of the first women to cycle to Kanyakumari in 2014.

Mumbai to Kanyakumari Cycling | What does travelling evoke in you? For some it breaks the monotony of daily life for others it is an opportunity to introspect.Many find that meeting people and observing cultures is one of life’s sublime learning experiences. But do all kinds of travel invoke these emotions, probably not. 

Most cyclists endorse cycling because one can in the true sense slow travel, stop and meet real people on the road.

In India people often shun long distance cycling due to bad roads, worse traffic and absence of cycling infrastructure.However we found out that as a first time bicycle tourer, most cyclists prefer to take the ‘Mumbai to Kanyakumari’ route and we wanted to understand why?

Scenic route



Seaviews like these from Goa to Kanyakumari.Picture courtesy: Chidambaram

Who needs a reason when the route to ride has endless views of blue sea and white sands? Starting one’s journey from the ‘good bay’ (what Bombay translates to) as you jaunt towards the tip of our country you realize what it is to get out of the cities in India. As you cross the four states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala you will find countless breathtaking spots unknown to the Instagram world.Karnataka is more about its vast water bodies and numerous river crossing which take you through many temple-towns like Murdeshwar and Udupi along the way. As one enters Kerala the sudden increase in all things green is apparent. You can be forgiven for thinking that you aren’t in India with the never-ending carpets of green and sparsely populated towns and villages.

Diverse topography


Prisiliya Madan taking a break on the ghat section of the ride.

Travelling through India is not just unique because of over 22 languages being spoken but also because of its diversity in topography. Which other country in the world can boast of having expansive mountains, scores of rivers and a 2000 mile long coastline?

Crossing Maharashtra is considered one of the toughest parts with climbing steep Ghats to meandering coastal cliffs. As you approach Goa and thereafter it is mostly a coastal highway. The transformation that you see from Karnataka to Kerala is almost unbelievable as the roads become narrower, albeit smoother.But at the same time the houses start getting bigger.The lagoons and the numerous coconut trees simply make for a delightfully gorgeous setting.The lagoons and the numerous coconut trees simply make for a delightfully gorgeous setting.


Not a road less travelled





Some Navy men riding from Mumbai-Kanyakumari in 1980!- picture course: xbhp forum

There are reports of people having cycled this route as early as in the 1980s. Every year several cycling enthusiasts plan this route and almost always cyclists bump into a few fellow cyclists on this route. Like Sachin,the founder of Eccentrips met Chidambaram who was doing his maiden ride in December 2018. Both of them were cycling in opposite directions. This makes the research and planning a little easy. Most often one can find detailed blogs of people who have done this route or meet people within cycling communities who can provide valuable information.

Though it may not be a road less-travelled, that does not  take away the thrill and excitement one bit.


Chidambaram with Sachin and Sarika at Velas, both were riding in opposite directions.

Better learning experience

There are several popular routes for cycling in the north like the Manali to Leh, some routes in the northeast and even Mumbai to Puri. However, in most of these routes Hindi is spoken and the basic food habits and culture of people remain similar. The west coast on the contrary crosses states with five different languages.In Maharashtra even in an urban city like Pune it is hard to survive without a moderate knowledge of Marathi and when it comes to cycling through the interiors of these states the local dialect becomes the primary and maybe the solitary form of communication.

It is in such situations that trust becomes a major learning; we just learn to trust people we come across and foster bonds without much talking. It is often observed that Kerala although still very traditional in lifestyle, encourages such cycling expeditions and welcomes even solo female cyclists as compared to a conservative north.

These are some of the reasons, which probably make the Mumbai-Kanyakumari cycling route a favorite for many. It also acts as a good prelude to the perilous but famed Kashmir to Kanyakumari route.If you are a cyclist and have been on this route let us know if you have other reasons which made you choose this route in the comments.