Cycling on India's new bicycle highway from Agra to Etawah.

Cycling on India’s new bicycle highway from Agra to Etawah.

A brand new bicycle road opened in India this november. It runs from Agra to Etawah, starting just a stone throw from the entrance to the Taj Mahal. 

Etawah is a little over 100 kilometres from Agra. The bicycle road takes a scenic road to Etawah though. So the entire trail is more than 200 kilometres long.

I took the Agra to Etawah bicycle trail last week. This is really a great road to cycle in India. Especially if this is the first time that you experience India by bicycle.

It is away from the trafficked road most of the time. The trail takes you through small villages that have never seen tourists before the trail was built.

The road surface is paved almost all the way and it is very well sign posted. They were still finishing a couple of stretches when I cycled 80 kilometres of it last week. But these were minor parts and they were busy working on them. So with a bit of luck it should be finished in the near future.

Cycling from Agra to Etawah.

Cycling from Agra to Etawah.

For cyclists who do not want to venture out in the chaotic traffic you have on many Indian roads, but still would like to experience India by bike, this is just perfect. 

Cycling past the locals on the bike trail.

Cycling past the locals on the bike trail.

The project really has a lot of potential from a tourist perspective. Many tourists like to combine being active with cultural activities.

I have worked more than 25 years in travel & tourism. And this is exactly what many modern day tourists are hoping to find when they are on holiday.

Being close to a top attraction like the Taj Mahal, there will naturally be a percentage of tourists who would like to spend some time cycling on a trail like this.

Since the trail goes through some small villages who normally do not profit very much from the Taj Mahal tourism, this is a very good way to spread the tourist dollar to a few more people. The trail certainly has potential to make tourism around Agra a little more sustainable.

I saw that some Indian cyclists were complaining a bit that local villagers were sometimes using the trail to dry cow dung and to put some of their work stuff on. But this was not a big deal when I cycled there.

At the moment, this is only at a scale where foreigners like me think it just adds a bit of local flavour to it. Foreign tourists using the trail will only be happy that the trail has a real village flavour. They are not looking for a trail where they can race fast. But a trail that has local flavour they can enjoy, while enjoying the experience of cycling through India.

It is very important that the trail will not turn into something that is used for driving and parking cars though. This is a major problem with bicycle trails in many parts of the world.

It’s also important that the local authorities are making sure that the trail is only being used for non motorised transport, if they want it to succeed in tourist terms. But please let the farmers use it for their animals. Tourists do not mind this. And it also shows a little respect to the locals who farm the land in the area. 

The bicycle path is well sign posted.

The bicycle path is well sign posted.

It’s important that the cycling trail from Agra to Etawah becomes an instant success, so that it’s not forgotten by the local authorities.

Should any Indian tour organisers read this, then I would highly recommend that you start offering supported bicycle tours on the trail for visiting foreign tourists. And trust me guys:

You can sell this product quite easily. You are most welcome to contact me if you need any advice on how to run these tours.

The trail also needs to be properly maintained by the local officials who should make sure that it is being cleaned regularly for sand, rocks and so on. Like any other road, it will deteriorate if it’s not taken care of. So it’s important that it receives regular maintenance.

Locals drying cow dung on the bicycle trail.

Locals drying cow dung on the bicycle trail.

The trail from Agra to Etawah is really scenic. Especially if you are a visitor looking for a village experience.

I personally really enjoyed cycling through the small villages, where the pace of life is slow. Meeting the farmer with his animals, as well as the women walking home from the market.

So get on your bike if you are in Agra to see the Taj Mahal anyway and try India’s new bicycle trail. This will show you that India is not always about huge crowds and constant noise.

The trip I did on the Agra to Etawah trail was part of a much longer bicycle journey I took around India. If you want to read about my 1800 kilometre bicycle journey from Delhi to Kolkata, then you can do so on this link.

You might also bump in to a few goats on the trail between Agra and Etawah.

You might also bump in to a few goats on the trail between Agra and Etawah.

 

India's new bicycle trail.

India’s new bicycle trail.

Cycling through a village, on the way from Agra to Etawah.

Cycling through a village, on the way from Agra to Etawah.

10 Comments

  1. Hello 🙂 Sir, I wanted to inquire about the cycle path and if the path is advisable for a group of 20-30 cyclist.
    It will be great if we can talk to you directly. Thank you so much.
    Ankita Gupta
    Communication Manager
    Manas Foundation

    • Hello Ankita.
      The path is suitable for larger groups as it is mostly fairly wide. I would happily take a group there for a bicycle ride. I am actually in Denmark at the moment, so talking to me directly would be via Skype, but i am happy to help if I can.

  2. Hi Claus, Can you take a road bike? or do you recommend taking on an MTB ?

    • Hi’ Abhijit.
      A roadbike should be fine on that road, as it is paved almost all the way. Thee was a tiny part which was not paved when I went, but there was work going on to pave it, so I think you will be fine with a roadbike there now.

  3. Hej Claus.
    Hvordan var asfalten. Tror du at den er egnet til rulleskøjter? Hvor mange og hvor lange strækninger er uden asfalt?
    Har kørt en del på rulleskøjter i Delhi men dette lyder som en spændende tur/udfordring. Arbejder jævnligt i Delhi.

    • Hej Christian. Det er bedre end Delhi. Men det er ikke glat hele vejen. Som du kan se, så skal man til tider lidt af vejen, når de tørrer kolort og lignende. Og der kan også være noget ral på vejen til tider. Men er du vandt til at køre på rulleskøjter i Delhi, så tror jeg nu nok det skal kunne lade sig gøre for dig at køre der.

  4. Hi, I do a smaller tour the other way round in 3 weeks. From Merida to Celestun, Uxmal, Loltun, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Coba, Tulum, Cozumel to Cancun. Flying home from there at the 12th Feb. Maybe we meet.

    Great reports Claus!

  5. Hello Sir,

    Is this good for solo ride? is this mostly flat or combination of some climbs?

    Thank a lot
    Vishal

    • It’s a fine solo ride. I did the trip alone myself. And there is little elevation on the route. You have a couple of hills, but that is it. Mostly the route is quite flat.

  6. Great info Claus. Thinking of doing similar route. Would you make any changes or do you think heading to Kathmandu Nepal would be more exciting. My name is Anthony sorry been cycling in cuba for the best few years with a dear friend from Germany. Still not tied but willing to try new experiences. Hope I am not a bother would be nice to here from you. Usually cycling December to feb. from canada cheers.

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