"When In Bangalore!": A Mountain Biker's Guide to the City.
Updated: Nov 24, 2022
Planning to experience the rough and rugged terrain Bangalore has to offer? Keep reading!
When it comes to mountain biking destinations in South India, Bangalore is high atop that list with everything from tech to flow, flats to chutes, pedal trails to shuttle laps, and the list just goes on. Here's what I find myself always returning to, visit after visit.
Where should you ride?
In Bangalore (BLR) there are very many places to ride and very many types of trails from fast flow to black diamond tech, to shuttle laps. Here are the best of the bunch.
While this piece will list out the most common locations and things to do, getting in touch with a local is going to be very important!
1. Avalahalli State Forest
About: Avalahalli is the primary hangout spot for most mountain bikers due to its proximity to the city and the trail types. The region is home to Cross-Country (XC) and All-Mountain (AM) trails.* All trails in the region would fall under Green Circle (Beginner) or Blue Square (Intermediate). The trails are fast and have tons of natural flow. The dirt to speak of is a sort of mix of pebbles and dirt, this makes for a loose over hardpack riding surface. It also includes a good few jumps and tight corners.
Distance from the city center: 25km, typically a 45min-1hr drive. Trail Difficulty: Green (beginner) and Blue (intermediate). Stuff to carry: Considering that you are close to many restaurants and shops, you need only bring a bottle of water, a few light snacks, and a few bike spares. Pack light if you so wish.
Where to eat: The list is probably endless so you'll be able to find loads of options!
* - The trails aren't exactly AM and as such, a short travel trail bike or just an XC bike will be fun to ride on. If you have an enduro bike, add some compression damping to stiffen up the fork and shock.
He's okay, and sustained no injuries.
"If Avati had a ski lift, we'd be crushing laps all day!" – Albert Einstein.
About: Just 12km away from the crown jewel, Nandi, lies a craggy hillock with loads of slow tech and raw lines. Plan an all-day adventure if Avati is on the list. Avati solidly comes under Black Diamond (Advanced) territory with the DH track being particularly feisty. Taming the hill takes loads of courage, skill, and control. The trails themselves are raw, rugged, steep, and hidden in plain sight. I highly recommend you visit this place with a local who's been to the hill before. There is technically no dirt to speak of, just rocks. when it comes to bike choice, gravity bikes like All-Mountain, DH, and Long Travel Trail work best, you could use a trail hardtail but expect it to be a test of heart. Full-face helmets, knee pads, and protective vests are highly recommended! Distance from the city center: 35km Trail Difficulty: Black Diamond (advanced) Stuff to carry: Everything and the kitchen sink. In Particular carry ample snacks and water, a first aid kit, and your protective equipment. Where to eat: As with Nandi, the go-to is Nandi Upachar.
My race-run from the BBCh DH, held on June 19th, 2022
About: The Crown Jewel of the city, Nandi! A colossal hill with breathtaking views, breathtaking trails, and literal breathtaking flora if you are unlucky enough to get clotheslined by a stray branch. The trails are 5 minutes or more with some incredible elevation lost per lap. Generally, the BLR crew will do 6 shuttle laps per session averaging over 1000m elevation lost. These trails would come under All-Mountain and rank as Blue Square (intermediate) and Black Diamond (Advanced) in difficulty. The terrain is varied and in a single lap, there's a good chance you will ride terrain that's dry and loose, wet and slippery, and even tight and sticky. while you needn't go in a full face and DH kit, I do highly recommend a full face with goggles, gloves, knee pads, a full sleeves jersey, and a light protective vest. The best way to experience Nandi is to shuttle it, get in touch with the local riders and ask them if you can join. If you are a Masochist, you may opt to climb the hill. Distance from the city center: 35km Trail Difficulty: Blue Square (Intermediate) Stuff to carry: Carry adequate water and a few snacks. A first aid kit will also be handy.
Where to eat: Once the ride has wrapped, the best spot to eat is at the Upachar else at the base of the hill itself where there are plenty of restaurants.
4. Ramnagara (Editor's Pick)(Hidden)
This trail is completely hidden from the public and as such, I am hiding the true name and nature of the trail. This trail is by far and away my favorite place to ride when I'm in the city and since it isn't frequented often, it's an adventure to ride each time.
Need a Doc? A bike Doc?
Sometimes...Things don't go to plan...at all. In those situations, it's important to know where you can go to get help. Getting bike parts is already tricky in India add to that, the lack of a large market for mountain bike parts means there are few stores for MTB parts in BLR. Here is a list of stores and mechanics who can get your bike on the trails as quickly as possible! Mechanics: