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chennai-madras

Florence
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chennai-madras

I intend cycling Chennai-Lahore in Jan/Feb 2013. My hope is to travel through the remotest areas, staying if possible in homestays.I would be very grateful for any help with the following questions:

1 What is the condition generally of minor roads- is 75km per day, six days a week, a realistic plan?

2 Am I safe travelling alone?

3 Is it sensible to take a water purifying device?

4 How easy will accommodation and food be to find in the more remote areas?

Thank you for any help.

Tiruchirappalli...
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1. Re: chennai-madras

i think you need to carry a sleep bag. in TN i can comment you wont be having safety problems. water purifying device is a nice idea.

minor roads will be mostly a single lane,

hope you are aware of road sense in india. have to be very careful.

Florence
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2. Re: chennai-madras

Thank you for your reply.

Do you suggest a sleeping bag because I might not find somewhere to sleep or in order to ensure a clean bed?

chennai
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for Chennai (Madras)
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3. Re: chennai-madras

Hi Eric O

It is really a brave decision it demands will power hard work and much patience I really appreciate your effort

1.Road condition will be pathetic in many stretches It depends on your stamina to cover 75 km

2 it is very relative question and cannot be predicted

3 carry a small less weighted purifying machine

4. you will not get accommodation in remote areas , food will be available in road side and small shops but you will have to compromise in quality taste and hygiene

It is because you want to make any social service or want to know Indian villages or an adventure ?

Edited: 12 February 2013, 14:16
Coimbatore, India
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for Chennai (Madras), Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Thekkady
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4. Re: chennai-madras

Hi...

Minor roads would not be much of a problem for cycling as the general infrastructure in Tamil Nadu is good but for some exceptions. But, I am not qualified to comment on the time/speed/distance as I have no experience in biking.

Travelling alone should not be a problem, but, I would suggest you to stick to populated areas and have a clear route map, on which we might be able to recommend which and when to avoid.

Bottled water is available all along and I would not recommend to add on weight by way of a purifier.

Decent, low budget lodges are available everywhere, just that they may not be very speck and span but should be able to manage with some mosquito repellents and creams.

The above are very generalised like your question. We can be even more specific, if you can share your route plan in detail.

You may also check on the various terrain bikers pages on FB, where you would be able to get tips from like minded bikers. There is also one very active group in Coimbatore.

Regards

Prasanna

Florence
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5. Re: chennai-madras

Hi Alen,

I cycled thye Tour d'Afrique 2 years ago (Cairo-Cape Town) and now I have itchy feet again. My main reason for doing that was to raise money for an orphanage in SAfrica where I had helped out the previous year. This time it is for the hell of it. India has always fascinated me, since I was young-I am now 63.

When you say that there will be no accommodation in the really rural parts, do you mean the only alternative is to sleep outside? I was hoping to be able to find homestays, which I accept might be primitive, but by so doing I would be contributing also. Am I expecting too much?

Florence
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6. Re: chennai-madras

Hi Prasanna,

Thank you for your reply. I am not expecting anything spick and span so long as I can have a bed, toilet and food. The lodges sound fine. I would like to send you my provisional route to the halfway mark which is Chennai-Varanasi if you do not mind looking at it. I am away from home at the moment and I have those details there. I shall be back on Friday. Can I post them then?

Regards,

Eric.

Edited: 12 February 2013, 23:57
Chennai
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for Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu
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7. Re: chennai-madras

Hi Eric

My 2 cents would be to approach this from a demographic perspective; else you will be ending up withgeneric responses. Like Prasanna says, it is important to get a fix on the route based on which your other points can flow out. Let me try to explain the demographics of Tamil Nadu.

As you know, Chennai is the state capital and the state is further divided into many districts. Most of the districts are linked very well by good tarmac roads. The districts are broken down into Taluks which are essentially the smaller and possibly remoter part of the geography and here is where your issue of the condition of the roads begin. Each district and Taluk has different conditions of the roads due to many factors like economics, density of traffic, rains (which wash out roads often) etc. Similarly, each of these districts and Taluks differ in terms of availability of stay options, medical facilities etc, depending on their economic ranking within the state. For example, districts of Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy etc, leading Districts of the state in terms of Economy, Business, proximity to tourist locations etc. All of them have better setz of roads, lodging facilities, medical help etc compared to other districts. So, your choice of the route is the key to your questions.

As a wildlife photographer, I do use some of the remote forest routes often (not on a bicycle but on my cars) especially off roading trails that require an SUV. I do see quite a bit of cyclists on even remote trails.

Chennai today, is becoming the hub of Cycling (mostly road bicycles, remember, mountain biking is still in its infancy in the country) in the state. Apart from the fitness cyclers, there are groups (even one within the popular Chennai Trekking Club) that embark on cycling tours around Chennai. So with Coimbatore which not only has a decent sized cycling community, but is also blessed with a whole range of rural, mountain and forest trekking routes all within your target distance of 75 to 150 Kms.

For example, if you choose a route like Coimbatore – Pollachi – Valparai – Athirampally: the complete distance being around 160 KMS one way, you are assured of decent cycling roads, your preference of some remote villages can be done in and around Pollachi and Valparai, you can experience a bit of a mountain riding (similar to the Table mountain trail at Cape Town), pass through a forest range (between Valparai and Athirmapally), experience some of the most scenic route on the way to Valparai some great dams like Aliyar, Sholayar etc and find comfortable homestays enroute (right from Pollachi all the way up to Athirmpally).

Safety is not an issue on these kind of routes (though it may be prudent to tag behind other motorists on the forest sections) and bottled water by leading companies are available all through the route and you can avoid unnecessary weight of purifyiers. Alternatively, you can look at the Cycling water bottles with the small purifying stems in them (Camel) which you can fill up pwith bottled water to be doubly sure.

So, the bottom line is: Your Route decides what to expect along the way.

Hope this helps

Regards

Rajan

chennai
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for Chennai (Madras)
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8. Re: chennai-madras

Hi Eric O

In India around 70% percent people live in rural and remote rural areas When you move in these rural areas you will come across villages where population range vary from just a few hundred people to thousands live

In those small villages you will hardly find a home stay or lodge

But when you move to smaller towns you will get accommodation

Chennai-Lahore ? Lahore located in Pakistan do you really plan to cycling such a long stretch ?

I really feel proud of you that you want to contribute to Indian people hats off

feel free to discuss more

regards

Alen_10

Florence
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9. Re: chennai-madras

Hi Rajan,

Thank you for your hugely informative post.

My wife has emailed me the route I have provisionally mapped out to Varanasi and it is as follows: Chennai-Tada-Tirupati-Rajampur-Badvel-Cumbum-Srisalam-Velturu-Ghatuppal-Akaram-Sircilla-Jaipur-Bhopalpatnam-Kutra-Belnar-Gidam-Narayanpur-Dalli R.-Dongargaon-Kawardha-Lormi-Belgahna-Pendra-Anupper-Jaisinghnagar-Sidhi-Lalganj-Mirsapur-Varanasi.

Each place is an overnight stop point. I am using only Google maps to try to identify areas and roads and I do find it very difficult, well impossible, to guage road quality. I do not mind non-tarmac as we did a lot of off-road through Africa, but the type of bike I envisage using-a touring bike-would not be suitable for the worst of conditions. Whata is your assessment of the route?

Best wishes,

Eric.

Florence
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10. Re: chennai-madras

Hi Prasana,

As promised, my provisional (much guesswork!) plan to roughly the halfway point:Chennai-Tada-Tirupati-Rajampur-Badvel-Cumbum-Srisalam-Velturu-Ghatuppal-Akaram-Sircilla-Jaipur-Bhopalpatnam-Kutra-Belnar-Gidam-Narayanpur-Dalli R.-Dongargaon-Kawardha-Lormi-Belgahna-Pendra-Anupper-Jaisinghnagar-Sidhi-Lalganj-Mirsapur-Varanasi.

Regards,

Eric.