India - Kerala
Getting there and away
Our Kerala cycling holiday starts in Trivandrum on Sunday. We appreciate that people join redspokes tours from all over the world and therefore no matter what time you arrive at the airport you and your luggage will be transferred to your hotel. Please bear in mind that if you arrive before midday you may have to wait for your room to be made available. If you decide to arrive before this date redspokes can assist you in booking your accommodation and will organise a transfer to your hotel at an additional cost. Our holiday price does not include your international or local flights.
Our 14 day cycling holiday ends in Cochin on Saturday. You will need to book an "open jaw" ticket that allows you to arrive in one destination and depart from another. If you are flying home on Sunday your transfer to the airport is included in the price with redspokes. If you decide to stay in Cochin beyond the last day of the tour redspokes can help you organise extra accommodation and transfers to the airport if needed.
You must be in possession of a valid passport and visa. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months after date of arrival or 1 month after expiration of visa. Visa application forms for UK residents can be obtained by clicking here.
If you would prefer to pay an agent to get your visa, we would suggest using Travcour (UK) Ltd. They have been in the visa business for 25 years & offer our customers a £5 discount on all visas purchased.
Insurance and vaccinations
It is a condition of joining our trips that you must be adequately insured. All persons are expected to arrange their own insurance. Polices should cover any potential risks involved in a mountain cycling holiday. We ask for copy of your policy to be sent in with your completed booking form.
Snowcard Insurance Services specialize in all mountain sports holidays including mountain biking. Their policies include emergency medical and repatriation expenses as well as mountain rescue. They are also able to insure personal belongings including equipment as well as travel cover for cancellation, delay and missed departure. Follow the link below to obtain full information and a quote: www.snowcard.co.uk.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for foreign visitors although it is strongly recommended that you be vaccinated against Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. You should also take adequate supplies of a suitable malarial prophylactic. You should contact your doctor at least 3 months prior to travel to obtain these vaccinations and the latest advice to travellers.
Cycle support and grading
All of the time you will have the security of a back-up vehicle; either a jeep or a bus. The vehicle will carry our entire luggage (we transport your main baggage by support vehicle from each overnight stop to the next) and yourself if you want. The back up van will be with us throughout the day stopping around every 15 miles. Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems so all you normally need to carry is a daypack, for your camera etc, however, we cannot guarantee that we will be equipped for all repairs, so you must ensure that your bike is in good working order before the tour. If in doubt, have it fully serviced by a bike shop before you travel.
Equipment and bike stuff
Most roads in Kerala are in reasonable condition. A lightweight mountain bike, touring bike or Audax bike will be suitable so long as you are able to carry a daypack or rackpack. Please ensure that you bike is in good working order before you leave on tour. If you are not the most mechanically minded we suggest that you get your bike looked at by a professional bike mechanic. In particularly we would suggest looking and adjusting all wheel spokes, greasing all your bearings, checking your brakes/gears cable, tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamps, tires and put in new inner tubes and check wheel rims are not worn. In addition make sure the bike is well serviced and ride it with as much care and attention as possible. Use good quality touring tyres.
Each participant will be expected to carry sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs. We would advise the following tools to accompany you on your tour: multi-tool, tyre levers, pump, 2 spare inner tube, spare spokes of the correct length to fit your wheels - check with a bike shop, brake pads, a few spare links for your chain, spares for any unique or high-tech items on your bike, e.g. fluid and bleed kit for hydraulic brakes. An accurately calibrated cycle computer is advisable.
Your bike must be carried as a part of your luggage allowance and, to this end, we do ask you to make every effort to keep your total check-in baggage to an absolute minimum. The baggage allowance for most airlines for an economy-class ticket is 20kg per person; although a degree of flexibility is usually extended to groups and the check in staff may accept up to 26kg per person without imposing excess baggage charges.
Your bike (in its cardboard box) will weigh 15 to 18kg. So, that means you will have a small allowance for clothing, etc. You should carry small heavy items in your day pack / pannier which you can take onto the plane as hand luggage.
Your hand luggage is not included as a part of your overall allowance, as it is not weighed. Please inform your airline that you will be taking your bike on the flight, and attempt to make every effort to secure from the airline an additional baggage allowance - but this is not always granted. Although we cannot guarantee that there will not be excess baggage charges, this is something, which very rarely happens.
For this tour we have mostly Trek 4300 bikes in a range of sizes. They are all are well maintained bikes with Shimano components and suspension forks. Spare parts (tubes, tyre, chains etc.) are included in the price of the bike rental and will be carried in the support vehicle with a tool kit and track pump. The bikes are equipped with flat pedals. Those who prefer to use spd or clip-in pedals, are welcome to bring these with you, along with your own cycling shoes and cleats. You are also welcome to bring your own saddle. The guide will carry some spares and tools for fixing punctures etc. but we suggest bringing a couple of spare inner tubes (26 x 1.75), a pump and a puncture repair kit. If you are able to do a simple repair yourself this will avoid the need to wait for assistance should the team or support vehicle be any distance away. Helmets are not included in the bike hire, you will need to bring your own helmet.
Weather - what to bring!
It will be hot and dry with daytime temperatures up to 30 degrees centigrade. Sun cream is very strongly recommended. Head and eye protection are also essential. A light windproof/fleece may be necessary in the evenings when visiting hill stations and for early morning descents. Modesty is expected in towns and temples. Ladies should cover their legs and shoulders when not cycling (a beach wrap is ideal for this). In terms of clothing this is clearly up to you and we can only supply a rough guide as to what to take. This guide is entirely flexible and should be tailored to your specific needs. Sunglasses, lightweight trekking boots/shoes, cycling footwear, lightweight socks (3 pairs) , heavy socks (1 pairs), underwear (4 pairs), lightweight, long-sleeved thermal shirt, lightweight trekking shorts, padded cycling shorts (2 pairs), shorts, t-shirts (2) lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, fleece jacket/pullover, biking jacket, waterproof (breathable fabric), fingerless biking gloves, sunglasses, toiletries, basic first aid kit, towel (small), sun cream, lip balm. If you have any questions about this list please feel free to contact us.
Maps of Kerala are available from all good map shops. Some of the minor roads we use will not be shown. You will be provided with detailed route sheets.
What's included and what's not
Rooms will be in mid-range/good hotels and a guesthouse with air conditioning or ceiling fans and en-suite facilities. One night will be spent on a houseboat (2 or 3 twin bedrooms with private facilities on each boat). All rooms are based on two peoplesharing.
South Indian food is mainly vegetarian and spicy but not hot curry. There is an abundance of fresh fruit and fish. Mineral water is widely available and will be carried on the support vehicle to be paid for from a kitty. One breakfast, 3 lunches and two evening meals are the only meals not included. Breakfasts and evening meals (vegetarian and fish options always available) will be taken at the guesthouse/hotels. Full board will be provided on the houseboats. On moving on days the support crew will provide light lunches.
Included in this tour: all vehicle transfers to and from airports and vehicle support with baggage transfers. An overnight train from Trivandrum to Madurai and 10 nights guesthouse/hotel, 2 nights hotel 1 night houseboat. The services of an English speaking guide throughout the tour along with all visits/trips as per the itinerary.
The trip does not include international flights, meals in transit, 2 dinners, 3 lunches (Light lunch and refreshments will be provided by our back up crew on moving on days), 2 breakfasts, drinks, including mineral water, other than those supplied with meals, visa costs (£30), gratuities (these are at the discretion of the tour participants), any other personal expenses, travel Insurance.
Government Federal Parliamentary Republic
Currency Indian Rupee (à¤°)
Area total: 3,287,263 km2
water: 314,070 km2
land: 2,973,193 km2
Population 1,210,193,422 (provisional total as per 2011 census)
Language Hindi, English and 21 other official languages
Religion Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other groups including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi 2.5% (2000)
Electricity 230V/50Hz, Indian (Old British)/European plugs
Calling Code +91
Internet TLD .in
Time Zone UTC+5.5