Explore Goa all you want, and you’ll still find that there’s more to do in this tiny state of ours – be it getting up close and personal with nature while kayaking through the mangroves or attending a soulful Noite de Fado concert. But the latest exciting new thing to do in Goa happens to be in line with the Go-Green movement that’s rightfully taking the world by storm.
If you haven’t heard already, you can hop aboard an electric cycle and set off on a cycle tour in Goa with B:Live! This initiative by the Goa Tourism Department in partnership with Arcis Tours has locals and tourists zipping along the quiet streets of Divar or busy bylanes of Panjim on fun cycle tours in Goa. But these aren’t just regular cycles….
ABOUT B:LIVE CYCLE TOURS
B:Live offers power assist cycles for you to explore Goa differently. When you jump on a bike, you can either pedal (as you would on a cycle), accelerate the throttle (like you would on a scooty), or both, together – for an extra boost. Once these electric cycles are charged, they go up to a speed of 25 KM/PH and can last for a ride of up to 40-50 kms. These bicycle tours are enjoyable, safe and great for the environment – all in keeping with B:Lives philosophy of ‘Fun over Fuel.’
The bikes are GPS enabled and the tours stretch between 3-4 hours long. Each consists of a group of 5-6 people, including the tour captain.
PEDALING THROUGH DIVAR ISLAND WITH B:LIVE
When given the choice between the Divar and Panjim cycle tours, I picked Divar, without hesitation. Riding through open fields, alongside meandering streams and past old Portuguese villas – some crumbling to the ground, and others, as regal as ever – sounded like a fabulous way to spend an afternoon.
Every B:Live tour starts at a hub point from where you can pick up your cycle, meet your captain and other group members and get a few minutes of training on how to use the bike. Ours was no different.
For the Divar tour, the starting point is at Old Goa Residency, a stone’s throw away from the magnificent Se Cathedral. We met Deepak, our tour captain who gave us a quick rundown on how to use the bike – demonstrated the three settings – low, medium and high – that would send the bike gliding forward when with a twist of your wrist on the throttle.
My last cycle tour was with City on Pedals in Amristar, just a few months ago, so I knew that my bike-riding skills weren’t rusty. We hopped on and rode around the compound to familiarize ourselves with the cycle, make adjustments to the seat and take care of other minor things. And with that, we were off in the direction of the ferry, which was to take us across the river to the island.
Close to 20 minutes later, our cycle tour in Goa had begun. We rode in a straight line down wide roads, following a set route. Every once in a while, we’d stop and Deepak would give us some quick info about what we were seeing – be it the Ganesh temple, a church, or the Saptakoteshwar Tank, that looks similar to something you’d expect to see in a place like Hampi. Being close to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, we also spotted some interesting species of birds, too, as well huge monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
What was great was that we didn’t only learn a bit of the history and geography of Divar, but also a bit about the the Kadamba Empire, the Portuguese rule and even about the local economy – such as how fishermen used sluice gates to fish using a traditional fishing method called Khazan, a system that is still used today! I won’t go into too much detail, because these Goa tours are something you should experience yourselves.
But I will say this – At no point was I bored or tired during the entire 18+ km journey. In fact, when I booked my tour for 3 PM, one of my biggest concerns was that cycling in the blazing afternoon sun would be uncomfortable, which wasn’t the case, as I wasn’t actually exerting myself.
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One of our last stops was at Island House, Divar – a two-centuries-old mansion, for a tea break. This immaculately-kept property was renovated while keeping its façade intact for the last 150 years. We sat around a table by the poolside and devoured sandwiches, rich chocolate cake, tea and coffee, before setting off again, this time to the our Lady of Piety Church, the highest point on the island.
With the accelerator at full throttle and a teensy bit of pedaling here and there, we made it up the long, steep slope with utmost ease and enjoyed a magnificent sunset over Divar island before heading back to the ferry.
The Divar Cycle Tour was perfectly planned, keeping our comfort and convenience in mind. Right from giving us a bag with a water-bottle at the start of our journey, to switching on our cycle tail-lights on our ride back at sundown, every detail had been thought of and taken care of by B:Live and our captain, Deepak. If you’re looking for an offbeat thing to do in Goa, I’d highly suggest this experience to you – regardless of your fitness/stamina level. At the end of 3 and a half hours, I can honestly say that I felt refreshed, not tired.
So go ahead and immerse yourself in history, culture, and Goa, in general! Book your tour with B:Live and get in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – I’d love to hear about your experience.
More cool stuff in my next post! Toodles!