Puducherry, an ideal cycling destination

The venerable town of Puducherry lying on the eastern coast of southern India is turning into an ideal cycling destination. Two French women have started cycling tour packages to access this Union Territory’s Dutch-styled grid layout, narrow lanes and heritage structures.

Puducherry has a large French-speaking population and is made of narrow lanes, displays vintage French architecture and colonial-style long compounds with stately walls. Two french women Fleur Soumer and Fiona Guerra run a bicycle enterprise to let tourists explore Puducherry streets.

After spending their lives doing what they love, they came up with an idea to organise cycling tours in Puducherry. Firstly, they found it a very cyclable city and secondly the belief that cycling around a town is a great way to explore local culture.

The two partners organize the tour early in the morning when the climate is fresh, healthy and not too hot. This is also the reason why they do only one tour per day and close bookings after the first six tourists. The ‘Wakeup Pondy’ tour starts at 7 am providing tourists with adequate training and a multilingual guide to explore the streets without a hassle.

The tour takes visitors to places like Sacred Heart of Jesus church, the Muslim vicinity of Puducherry, the infamous beach, the Goubert market, the Manakula Vinayakar temple, the Aurobindo Ashram, the Kuruchikuppam village and heritage spots of this Indo-French town.

Fiona with her spouse Idriss Madirtun runs a small company called ‘My Vintage Bicyclette’ that aesthetically modifies bicycles. They want to create an interest for people in cycling because it’s healthy and it’s a perfect combination between walking and speeding a motorcycle. Their bicycles offer combos of bright colours such as green and purple, orange and silver-grey or yellow and blue with comfortable leather seats.

Ms. Soumer and Ms. Guerra are looking to collaborate with the government and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to make cycling popular in Puducherry. They also aim to discover few other routes for their cycle tour in the near future letting tourists explore the town in a an offbeat manner.

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