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Cycling up the west coast of Sri Lanka.

go Cycling Sri Lanka.

I have just spend the past 10 weeks in Sri Lanka. Most of the time I have been tour cycling around the island. This is my second time in Sri Lanka cycling. And here are some advice about cycling in Sri Lanka, based on my own experiences here.

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The roads in Sri Lanka.

A quiet road on the west coast.

click here A quiet road on the west coast.

Roads in Sri Lanka vary quite a bit. It’s a country where you have a few bigger roads connecting the main cities. And then a lot of tiny secondary roads with only local traffic. But even the bigger roads have been quite ok for me to cycle. I am ok with a fair bit of traffic, as long as there is a shoulder for soft traffic. And you do have shoulders on pretty much all main roads in Sri Lanka. The smaller roads are really good for cycling. Just make sure no to go there with a racing bike. They are often unpaved and a little rough. But they are mostly very good for tour cycling.

Nice dirt road in central Sri Lanka.

follow site Nice dirt road in central Sri Lanka.

Traffic in Sri Lanka.

Roads can be a little congested in the towns.

http://boersenalltag.de/blog/blog-from/2010-10-01/blog-to/2010-10-31/ Roads can be a little congested in the towns.

I find that when compared to traffic in most other Asian countries, then Sri Lanka is quite ok. There is a lot of congestion in the big cities. And it can be very chaotic at times. But most drivers are quite considerate. I have had very few encounters with cars in Sri Lanka, where I felt it was a problem. And i have never come across a driver there who acted aggressive towards me cause i was a cyclist. Only thing I can complain about in Sri Lanka are the busses. And by busses, I mean those to coney the main towns and cities. These gifs must be working on commission. Cause they drive like maniacs. They are totally irresponsible and almost all of them should not be permitted on the roads. They never slow down, not even when driving through villages, or past schools, where the streets are full of children. But these bastards are the only aggressive drivers I have come across while cycling Sri Lanka.

Bicycle mechanics and bicycle shops in Sri Lanka.

Giving my bike a total makeover for less than 10€.

military singles dating Giving my bike a total makeover for less than 10€.

Quite a few Sri Lankans are cycling. Both as a way to commute to work and school. But also as a leisure activity.  fair number of Sri Lankans like to get on their racing bike in weekends and go for a little race. All that means that you have a fairly decent supply of mechanics. Many of them are tine little shacks by the side of the road. But they have always been good at fixing my problems when I had any. And they are cheap. Like 30 cents for fixing a flat tire. There are also a few shops that are fairly well equipped. But they are only in the more populated cities. One place that I have used a lot is Sugath Cycle that is located in between Colombo and Negombo, on the main road between the two cities. They actually have two shops there. One that sells bikes and spare parts. And one that does repairs only. I have used them both with great satisfaction. I have also once been supplied with a cardboard box for my bike, when I was flying out of the country after cycling Sri Lanka.

Sugath bicycle shop.

go to site Sugath bicycle shop.

there are quite a few bicycle races in Sri Lanka

follow site there are quite a few bicycle races in Sri Lanka during weekends.

Getting my bike fixed again.

ileostomy dating sites Getting my bike fixed again.

Dog chases in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is full of dogs. I have been to very few places in the world, if any, that has more dogs than Sri Lanka. Good thing is that most of them just want to eat and sleep. Dog chases are very few when you consider that they are everywhere. Some are stray and some are owned by people. The few that might chase you are guard dogs that are owned by people. But I have never had a dog chase that was so aggressive that it worried me. I usually use my old trick when I see them come chasing. I get on my bike and shout at them and pretend to pick up a rock. That has so far send all Sri Lankan dogs running a mile. Be ware though, that there is the occasional outbreak of rabies in Sri Lanka. And if you are bitten then you are obliged by law to get a rabies vaccination from a government hospital. The shots are free for Sri Lankans and very cheap for foreigners. Especially when you consider that this is a really expensive vaccine to buy. The fee can very. But you will mostly pay somewhere between 10€ and 50€ to get treated if you are bitten. And make sure to get the jabs if you are bitten. If rabies breaks out, then you can not be treated and will die a very painfull death,

Most Sri Lankan dogs are sleeping the day away.

follow Most Sri Lankan dogs are sleeping the day away.

Best and worst parts of Sri Lanka for tour cycling.

Sri Lanka has many good areas for cycling. I personally like the area from Negombo and north a lot. You can get away from the main road there and follow small roads along the ocean, where people are fishing from the beach and growing coconuts. The mountains in the center of the country are good too. You will have to do some climbing of course, but the roads are all in all quiet and usually well paved. Colombo is a mega city. And because of that, traffic is congested and chaotic. So this is not really the best place for cycling. The east coast of Sri Lanka tends to have more narrow roads with less shoulder. So I am a little less keen on cycling there too.

The Sri Lankan mountains are great for cycling.

The Sri Lankan mountains are great for cycling.

Accommodation in Sri Lanka.

I have mostly stayed in hotels in Sri Lanka. I am simply more of a hotel traveler than a camper. So I can not really advice too much on camping in Sri Lanka. But remember that evenings often see heavy tropical downpours in Sri Lanka. So remember to think about that before selecting a camping spot, if you are camping out. Good news about hotels in Sri Lanka is that they are cheap. They can go as low as 5$-6$ a night sometimes. But I have typically paid between 10$ and 20$ per night for a hotel room in Sri Lanka. For that you typically get a fairly decent hotel room with a private bathroom. Sometimes you will have air con for that price. But sometimes it will just be a fan ceiling. I am personally fine with having just a fan. Air cons are expensive to use, so you might sometimes be offered air con use in a hotel room for an additional cost of something like 5$-6$.

Explore Hostel in NegomboHotel Athina in Chilaw and Hangover Hostel by Sri Lankas main Airport are good examples of bicycle friendly places that are economical.

 

Best time of year for tour cycling in Sri Lanka.

Most of Sri Lanka has it’s dry season from november to march. Because of that, this is the best part to do a longer tour of the island. The east coast of Sri Lanka has dry season in June/July/August though. So if you plan to cycle Sri Lanka during these month, then I would recommend the east coast.

All in all, I Think Sri Lanka is an extremely good place for tour cycling. So if you are looking for a warm place to go cycling during the cold winter months in Europe and North America. Then cycling Sri Lanka is a very good choice.

Happy cycling in Sri Lanka.

Happy cycling in Sri Lanka.

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7 Comments

  1. Sounds like a great time Claus. Glad the dogs didn’t get you!

  2. Sorry that our paths didn’t cross. Just missed you. We only met one other touring cyclists in our 8 weeks on the island. Surprising considering what a fabulous cycle tour destination Sri Lanka is. It now tops our list.
    Graham and Frances

  3. Hey there, Wow! What a read!! I`ve bookmarked this article already. Riding a bike is my passion, and when I visit Sri Lanka I will follow your useful tips, thank you for sharing them!

  4. how did you deal with the visa extension or were you able to get a two month visa straight away? we’ll need a month and a week!

    • You can apply for an extension once you are in Sri Lanka, at the emigration office in Colombo. Be ware though that the lines are very long at the office and you should expect to spend an entire day there in order to get your extension.

  5. Coming from Canada, it would be more practical for me to buy or rent a bike once in Sri Lanka. Any advice on either option?

    • Hi’ Jen. I would say that if you are flying an airline that allows you to bring your bike for free (Emirates and Qatar Airways allows theis), then bring your own. Otherwise i would suggest that you buy a bike in Sri Lanka. The Colombo area has some quite good bike shops with reasonable prices.

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