Bengaluru’s ‘bicycle mayor’ Sathya Sankaran reckons the bicycling community here is no less vibrant than the ones in other cities. As a hobby, biking has been fast-growing in Bengaluru especially since the pandemic. If you recently started biking and are wondering where to ride, we got you covered. We asked Bengaluru’s expert bikers to suggest their favourite destinations in and around the city.
The Hessarghatta Road in the North-West of Bengaluru is one of my go-to routes for riding. Once or twice a month, on a Saturday or Sunday, I start from Sanjaynagar at about 6am – this way, you can escape the sun and the traffic. Depending on where you want to go, the distance can range from 60 km to 100 km. If you are doing a 60 km ride, you can return by 10-10:30am. The best thing about this road is that it leads to some beautiful water bodies like the Madhure Lake and the Hessarghatta Lake. These are excellent destination for birders. I sometimes go there with my camera to photograph migratory birds. This route also has many tree-lined back roads that take you to some quiet fields and farms. You have small-but-good eateries along the way. Having ridden along Hessarghatta for the last 10 years, it also made me realise how quickly the water bodies have shrunk and the city has sprawled. If urban planning continues to be poor, we will not have these destinations in the next five to 10 years.
Sathya Sankaran, the ‘bicycle mayor’ of Bengaluru, is a part of BYCS, a Dutch social enterprise that promotes cycling. If you have any cycling-related queries, you can reach out to him via Twitter @bicyclemayorblr
Antara Gange Hills
Nandi Hills would be among the favourite destinations of 99 % of the cyclists here, including me. For the same reason, however, Nandi Hills has started to get crowded after a point. So, about six years ago, my friends and I decided to look for routes near Kolar. We stumbled upon Antara Gange Hills. We went there for the first time on New Year’s Day in 2016. Ever since, it has become a ritual: We go there on the first day of every year. Antara Gange is shorter than Nandi Hills but offers a superb vista. It is a great spot for trekkers and cyclists. You can also check out the Antara Gange temple there. We usually start from the Vishnu Bhavan restaurant in Hoskote early morning on weekends and return by 10 am or 11 am. The Chennai highway we take is pretty good, ensuring a smooth ride. Once you reach the hill, however, it gets a bit steep.
Venkateswara Rao aka Bikey Venky is a cycling coach and race organiser. You can reach out to him via his Instagram page @bikeyvenky
The route we usually take these days is the Airport Road just by the virtue of convenience. From Central Bangalore, if you want to go up to the toll gate and return, you get a good 50-60 km ride. It is a straight, smooth road. You have plenty of eateries along the way, if you want to grab a bite or use the restroom. We also go beyond the toll gate and head for Nandi Hills. The tree-lined road with a hill-view is beautiful to ride on. On the weekends, many people do the ‘Nandi Darshan’ when going uphill. While returning, they can have breakfast at Nandi Upachar. Of late, it has become a bit too crowded. So, now we go there on weekdays mostly. There are also many backroads that lead you to some interesting spots. During one of our explorations, we found a quaint, picturesque railway station called Nandi Halt. So, if you want to do a bit of off-roading, you can make a detour to the railway station and spend some time there.
Vidya Chandran runs an all-women cycling club called SpokesWomen. You can get in touch with her via Instagram @spokes_women
As someone who has been curating bicycle rides in and away from Bengaluru, it is hard for me to pick one destination. Among the rides we offer within Bangalore at my venture, Pedal In Tandem, one of my favourites is the Lake Hopping package. You get to ride across a dozen lakes and reservoirs set against a backdrop of rolling hills on the fringes of the Bannerghatta National Park and the Ragihalli State Forest. Apart from enjoying these scenic water bodies, you can also get a glimpse of rural and semi-rural life as you pass through some villages. You ride on dirt roads flanked by fields, orchards, and plantations. You also get to watch flocks of birds hang out on grasslands and backwaters. Depending on your difficulty, you can opt for a 25 km or a 40 km route. We usually start from the MTR at Kanakapura Road at 6 am and end at 10 or 11 am.
Dheeraj Subramanian is the founder of Pedal In Tandem, which offers curated bicycle tours and accessories. You can check out the Lake Hopping and other tour packages at pedalintandem.com or contact +918277580808
The road that goes from Bannerghatta to Kanakapura is great for cyclists because of its greenery, rolling terrain, and more importantly, low traffic. There are not too many settlements or buildings along the way. As a group, we look at riding 50 km, to and fro. It takes about three hours. And, early mornings are the best time to cycle in Bangalore. Usually, we start and end at Jayanagar. Another good route for riding would be towards the west, where you have the Bangalore University – if you go beyond, you will get to the Big Banyan Tree. This is about a 60-km loop, which will take about three to three-and-a-half hours. The first eight or nine kilometers have a bit of traffic but after that, it gets really nice. You can even spot a few peacocks along the way. As a group, until the pandemic, we used to ride every Sunday to discover new routes. We are planning to restart that soon.
Rohan Kini is the founder of BumsOnTheSaddle, a premium bicycle and bike accessories brand in Bengaluru. To join his rides, you can contact