From its inception in 2008 to now becoming one of the largest and most loved bike tours in India, Tour of Nilgiris (TfN) in 2008, has grown from strength to strength attracting more cyclists from different parts of the globe.
The tour spans nearly a thousand kilometres, through the three wildlife sanctuaries of Bandipur in Karnataka, Waynad in Kerala and Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu. Its riders get some of the most astounding terrain in South India on which to test their endurance, temperament and physical and mental limits.
When: December 16- 23 every year
Where: Route goes through Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Kerala!
The green and clean mountains, with their spectacular scenery and varied flora and fauna - they contain some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet, with hundreds of species found nowhere else - often make cyclists embrace their beauty, turning it into a memory to be cherished. At other times, it turns into a life-changing experience for the cyclists, presenting them with tough challenges; even for the most accomplished bikers.
“Tfn is gradually growing into one of the toughest and prestigious biking events in the country”
- Sports Illustrated, Feb 2012
With ever-increasing cycling enthusiasts coming in, TfN too is seeking and embracing new challenges and frontiers. The last two editions brought new exciting elements to an already successful tour.
Of course the 900km challenge through curves and speedways and undulating tough terrain was continued. Apart from that, they featured competitive time trial sections throughout various stages, which pushed cyclists to display their craft and grit.
Each day of the tour also includes a competitive segment where the riders battle out on the tough terrains to be the King of Mountains. To be the leader, the rider must tame some of the toughest terrains in this part of the world for seven days.
While an average day at TFN ranges between a 100 to 160kms, the last two years have had time trial on climbs or on flat courses. The individual TT distance even though they do not surpass 25-40kms on each day, it tests the rider’s grit and endurance since some of the TT sections are designed to occur on the most difficult bits of the route.
The cycling community across the country has been consistently growing and many events have sprung up. And we love this growth of events - it's an opportunity for all of us to try different aspects of cycling. There are also a slew of single day rides that put a cyclist's skills to test, but the Tour of Nilgiris remains the only multi-day road cycling tour in the nation that attracts the highest calibre of cycling talent.
What to look out for
Blue Jersey: The leader of the tour gets to wear this coveted jersey!
Individual day winner jersey: Whoever wins each day’s race gets to wear this – this rider is the one to beat to have the honour of wearing the colour jersey on the next day!
What truly makes TfN stand out are the charity riders who ride for chosen not for profit organisations who work on environment, children and education issues. Every year there have been riders who have taken up various causes and added their little bit for a better future.