It’s very well said, that the best way to see a place you are traveling to is to go at a slow pace and in your own vehicle. So what can be a slow-paced vehicle?
You guess it right friends – it’s a Cycle. And for me, it always has been a great vehicle to explore the destinations I am visiting.
Goa too is best seen on a two-wheeler – I did that on a bike last year and this year it was on a cycle. Goa, as I have always been saying is a quintessential place, perfect for experiencing the sun, surf, and sand. Every year people flock to the beaches in Goa to stroll along the coastline or sunbathe on the sandy shores.
Last year and this year too, I noticed a lot of local and foreign tourists riding cycles and going around the heritage Portuguese houses, along the Mandovi River, the emerald green rice fields, and the hard-packed white sandy beaches.
When you are on a cycle, you have all the time with you, you can stop anywhere and enjoy. And whether familiar or off the beaten track, Goa has a different story to tell when explored on a bicycle. If one recalls, Bollywood movies like Ek Duje Ke Liye and the most recent Dear Zindagi have shown actors Rati Agnihotri, Shahrukh Khan, and Alia Bhatt rediscovering themselves in Goa while on a bicycle.
Today many Goans are conducting guided tours and solo expeditions. “Cycling around Goa is a unique experience that tourists want. One can cycle in and around Goa throughout the year. Even monsoons are a perfect time to cycle around and enjoy the scenic beauty of the state in the hinterlands. New cycle trails are being chalked out by cycle tour operators between June-September,” informed Mr. Nilesh Cabral, Chairman of Goa Tourism Development Corporation, adding, “We have received many inquiries during international roadshows and travel fairs from foreign adventure groups for cycling expeditions in Goa.”
Professional cyclists find Goa appealing because of its quiet lanes, vast coastline, beautiful hinterland, and hilly terrain. Apart from renting a simple bicycle for Rs 100 a day or a high-end geared one at Rs 250 a day, cyclists can be seen purchasing one ranging anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 to engage in this thrilling activity. With a helmet snugly fitted to the head, and food and water packed in a bag, many opt for long tours ranging from three to eight days to experience the local life of the state. This includes living in a rustic farmhouse relishing authentic Goan food to camping under a clear night sky.
Enthused by the growing response, Goa Tourism through Goa Tourism Development Corporation is planning to introduce battery-operated cycles for cycle tours and trails to give tourists a unique experience. Mr. Cabral said, “GTDC is known for successfully conducting adventure activities in the state. Our hot air balloon rides, hop on hop off bus tours and white water rafting is huge successes. We are now looking at introducing battery-operated cycles which will give tourists a different experience altogether.” He further stated, “Goa Tourism is serious about conserving the environment. Hence, it is imperative that we look at new innovations to reduce rising pollution and road congestion by introducing environment-friendly modes of transport in the state.”