Traditionally Cycling has been the preferred mode of transportation in the plains of North Bengal. People here have a natural penchant for cycling. With time as the economic condition in the towns and villages of North Bengal improved, the ubiquitous cycles of North Bengal were replaced with motorbikes. No wonder then, that if you mention "biking" to a local in North Bengal, people understand motorbiking and not cycling.
We at naturebeyond have always felt that cycling is one of the best ways to visit unknown destinations. It is pollution free, noise free, unobtrusive, healthy, and also helps visitor live a destination rather than seeing it through the windscreen.
Pioneering Mountain Biking in North Bengal
The first cycling tour we organized was way back in 2002. It was an amateurish attempt to introducing tourism through biking in North Bengal. We used local bikes and local gear. Our first guests were a couple from Germany who were amused by our effort. It was, arguably, the first effort to introduce mountain biking in Darjeeling hills.
We soon learned the basics of international mountain biking. Good bikes were not available in India then and we had to import our first set of bikes from Europe. Soon we found several European biking groups working with us.
Our area of biking activity
Today naturebeyond organizes regular mountain bike tours to the entire north-Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan and rest of North East India. In fact, we have also organized mountain biking tours to places such as SriLanka, Ladakh, Bangladesh, and Myanmar too. All mountain biking tours are customized as per guest specification and requirement. The most common routes include Dooars, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, West Sikkim, etc. Please follow the link for a sample tour itinerary for a biking tour to Siliguri - Mirik - Darjeeling - Kalimpong - Lava - Siliguri (of approximately 10 days duration).
Mountain Biking is the best way to see the most exotic sights of the Himalayas such as ancient trade routes of Trans-Himalayan traders and the mystifying rural life of the hill towns and villages. In fact, biking and hiking make the best adventure options to witness the timeless cultural celebrations and lifestyle of the hill people and the rich bio-diversity of the Himalayan region.
The biking tours we organize are relaxed programs for general tourists with little or no experience. Although good physical fitness is a must, you do not have to be a racing champion to join them. Do give your body some time to acclimatize with the Indian temperatures, especially the ones at the higher altitude, where bikers are exposed to ultraviolet rays, dry weather, and less oxygen.
The bikes we use are all of the international standards as you would get in Europe or the US. Many of our more avid biker guests also bring their own bikes while we take care of the ground support and logistics.
You do not require any special permit for biking in India or for traveling within North-Bengal. But if you are an International tourist and have plans to bike in Sikkim or Bhutan, you will need permits which we will help you in organizing.