Long Distance Cycling Tips

This is for cyclists like me who travel on a self-support basis, as lone wolves. Cyclists travelling in groups have a different profile. It is best to travel in buddy pairs but not always possible. The idea is to get from point A to point B, as comfortably as possible. The fact that we have to cycle all the way means that we need to have a certain level of fitness and the proper equipment.

If we plan on covering something like 500 kilometres (km.) and above, then we need to cover at least 110-130 km. daily. This may vary according to terrain, steep hills can restrict the cyclist to 70-80 km. ; and it is important not to over stretch oneself, injuries can mean ditching the bicycle altogether and making it back using some other transport.

Carry along stuff should include a first aid kit, our clothes specially undergarments. A few chords just in case we need to extra strap our luggage. Our smartphone ( ahem ! ) and the charger. Moving on, we would definitely need bicycle spares like an extra tube, puncture kit, lubricant and bicycle cleaning stuff. On longer journeys, an extra chain and gear freewheel, along with brake and gear wires would definitely help. Spare rear and front derailleurs could make life easier.

We would also need a toolkit with wrenches, spanners and tools to open the gear flywheel or other stuff. A spoke tension tool would also help. An odometer helps to set our pace. Lastly, a strap on air pump is a must. The air pressure in the tyres must be on the higher side to avoid punctures, throughout the journey. I have never had a puncture on any of my long trips because of this.

Did I miss something ? Yes ! A helmet, rear view mirror, warning tail lights and a front light, are a must to go along with a loud cycle bell here. Battery operated lights are more convenient. Hydration is another issue and bottle holders/hydration bags are always welcome but there is a limit to what one may carry. 

My region has a lot of vehicular pollution, so I wear anti-pollution masks and good cycling eye wear to protect against flying debris. Padded cycling shorts will make our life bearable as our behinds are rubbed raw after hundreds of kilometres. There is the issue of toe clamps or cleats to bind our feet to the pedal. People swear by it but other cyclists do not like it. Personally, I wear shoes that lock in to pedal cleats. However, one must be very careful with this. A mistake can mean a good fall.

This isn’t an exhaustive check list by any means and I may keep adding to this, just so that everyone knows this is going to help me too !



Khajuraho is an ancient temple site in the state of Madhya Pradesh (M.P.), Central India, bordering my own state of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) in the north. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and gets a healthy amount of national/international tourist traffic. More details about Khajuraho can be checked online. It’s definitely deserves the world heritage site tag and is worth visiting at least once.

As a college student, I had visited it along with my college mates, way back in 1988. This time around I wanted to check it as it was super budget friendly and had some good adventure trails. I based this off my own travel as a college student and the internet. 

I started the journey in October, 2017, when it’s autumn here. The distance was 250 km. approx., one way and then back. I plotted the track on Google map and then set off. It was the same Kanpur-Hamirpur-Maudaha route which then goes on to the city of Mahoba; crosses the M.P. border and then into Chattarpur from where the track branches into Khajuraho.

Kanpur-Khajuraho road map

Except for the granite blasting quarries of Kabrai, a town preceding Mahoba, the route is scenic and enjoyable. Kabrai must be what they call Dante’s Hell. By the time I crossed it I was plastered in granite dust and looked like a ghost from the Evil Dead. My MTB was having issues too as the dust had settled on the gears and chain, which meant that I had to take a night halt in Mahoba, the last town of U.P.. The morning started off bad as some kids in the hotel had played around with the bike gears in the night, which meant that I had to spend precious time trying to fine tune them. 

Our towns are notoriously overcrowded and the traffic is chaotic, hence long distance cyclists like me try to cross them as early as possible, but I started late from Mahoba and consequently went headlong into the peak hour, chaotic traffic of Chhatarpur, the next town. Anyway, I did take a stop or two along the way to fiddle with the gear system.


Small hillocks on the road to Chhatarpur above, it’s also unbearably hot even in October. I felt it was close to 38° C in the afternoon.


Roadside eatery about 20 km. before Chhatarpur town. I have stopped here often on my other trips too. The owner thinks I am crazy going around India on my MTB.

It takes an effort to negotiate the chaotic town traffic even for a normal cyclist, but if you have about 130 km. under your belt; and your bums have rubbed raw on the saddle, the chaos can become a nightmare. Added to that was my own 10 kg. backpack on the mtb carrier. It took me about 2 hours to cross Chhatarpur, about 15 km. from one end to another.

Once I was on the Khajuraho highway, everything settled down except for the blaring of bus and truck horns, which often means that you climb down the road and hit the dirt track, to avoid them knock you off the road.


Road to Khajuraho, all clear except for the occasional crazy traffic. 

All along the way it was the usual inquisitive people on mobikes and the occasional tea-samosa break. Khajuraho itself was uneventful and it was getting dark when I arrived there. I checked into my hotel and then slept like a log. Next day I was up and took off to Raneh Waterfalls about 20 km. from Khajuraho town. It is also a wildlife sanctuary. 


Raneh wild life sanctuary, inside the gates.

It has wild boars, deer, leopards and bears. The display board says tigers too, but the forester rangers told me that there were no tigers in Raneh Waterfall Forest Reserve.


The Waterfall itself, it’s a raging roaring thing in the monsoon season. 


Pools created by the Raneh Waterfall.

Went back to Khajuraho and took a few snaps of the Temple Complex. Khajuraho has several temple complexes, so if you do visit, make sure you look up all of them.


The architecture and wall sculptures are breathtaking, this is just one of the several temples in the main temple complex.


Another temple in the complex, notice the sculpted stairs, although a lot has been lost.

That’s it ! It took me 4 days to and fro from my city to Khajuraho and 2 days in Khajuraho itself. Nice memories. 

My Wanderings

Let’s see, I started with 20-40 km. runs then started on 50-100 km. ( abbrev. for kilometres ) runs on my MTB. The roadie came somewhat later and was also single gear, now modified with 21 gears. The first long run i.e. 200 km. was on the roadie, will be posting it’s pic soon as it is now being serviced by yours truly; courtesy broken spokes in the back wheel.

The journey was from Kanpur to Allahabad, now called Prayagraj and then back after meeting with friends lasting 2-3 days. It was about 210 km. one way. The return leg was marred by a broken back wheel hub and I had it repaired at 11 pm in the night, thanks to a local mechanic. Thereafter I decided not to use the roadie for journeys exceeding 150-200 km.

Kanpur – Prayagraj Google Map

That set me up for my long outreaches. I started on another route i.e. Kanpur-Hamirpur-Maudaha and further into Bundelkhand, hitting around 200 km. to and fro., same day runs, both on my MTB and then on the roadie. This route is scenic after Hamirpur as the population thins out.

Kanpur-Maudaha Google Map

A few pics of Hamirpur city, which lies in the middle of two rivers, Yamuna and Betwa.


This was December 2017, Hamirpur Betwa bridge ( I often get confused between the two rivers, apologies if I got it wrong here ).


Hamirpur, Yamuna bridge. It’s about a 100 feet down there on the bridge.

Check my other blogs for the super journeys exceeding 200 km.


P.S.: km. stands for kilometres. We follow the metric system here. Am not using kms. cause its also a short for ‘kill myself’ in chat language.

Small Beginnings

My cycling odyssey started in 2016. I was just coming out of obesity and illness that had dogged me for several years. In my enthusiasm to cut down on obesity I started on long distance running, which resulted in a few injuries and that made me to switch to cycling.

Went to the local cycling shops here and purchased a 26″ MTB, in case you are wondering about 29’ers, well …. we are in the backwoods here and that’s all I could get. It was only 5000/- rupees and that is where it all begins.


The above is what it is now ! The wheels have been replaced by alloy rims rather than the heavy aluminium ones; it was single gear, but it’s now a 7 gear freewheel, with a thumb index shifter too, there is a new handlebar and a triathlon arm rest. The seat pipe has been replaced along with the seat and seat cover. The front fork has also been replaced to add a disc brake, and another at the back too ! The new stand is lighter and sturdier than the earlier one.

Is that all ? No ! The pedals are Shimano clipless SPD type to along with bike shoes that can lock in to these. I could go on and on, but enough of this. This is what I use to travel over 150 kilometres.