(meals key: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner)
Day 1: Arrival - Negombo
You will be met on arrival at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport Airport Code: CMB) and transferred to our beachside hotel in nearby Negombo, where you will be met by your tour leader. Your day is free to relax and rest after a long flight. The group will meet early this evening for drinks, a briefing, and our first dinner together.
Day 2: Negombo to Yapahuwa
We leave Negombo with a ride of 110kms ahead of us. Once away from the town, our day is spent on quiet byways where we are introduced to a rural land of terracotta roofed cottage amidst verdant rice fields and palm trees. During this first day on the bikes, we will quickly learn what friendly people Sri Lankan’s are.
Not long before reaching our poolside resort we will have the opportunity to climb the 100metre high granite rock, atop which sits the 750-year-old Yapahuwa Fortress, boasting stunning views across the plains below.
NB: The first 15kms is some of the busiest of the tour traffic-wise, and although some will be more than happy to ride, there is the option to keep the kilometres down by riding in our support vehicle until the first break.
Cycling: 110KMS or 90KMS
Day 3: Yapahhuwa to Anuradhapura
A wonderful day’s cycling awaits as we set out today. The route is an even mix of sealed byways and gravel lanes.
Again the roads are flat as we ride through a scene of tropical vegetation and rice fields. Our journey passes numerous lakes and we can expect to encounter wild peacocks, mongooses, monitor lizards, and even wild elephants.
Our destination is one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capitals, Anuradhapura. A UNESCO World Heritage site, there is an abundance of ancient Buddhist architecture, and for those wishing to explore a little of the surroundings, we can arrange a short tour with a local guide after settling into our resort. Those more interested in relaxing after a day on the bikes can enjoy a swim and a beer by the hotel's pool.
Day 4: Anuradhapura to Dambulla
Sri Lankan’s will tell you that Sigiriya Rock is the jewel in the crown of their undoubtedly impressive ancient heritage. Here, perched atop a 200 Meter Hight rock looking out far across Sri Lanka are the magnificent archaeological remains of an ancient city.
Our ride to reach this site is once again rural, through a landscape varying in colours from vivid bright and vivid greens to the dry beige of sun-dried savannah. Today's ride is on 80% sealed roads and with the first stretch being the 85KMS to Sigiriya Rock which we can take the time to climb and explore.
Those for whom eighty-five kilometres of cycling and an uphill walk to an ancient city is enough can call it a day at this point and transfer to our poolside resort. For those who wish to ride on, the remainder of the day is on quiet rural roads through a lush landscape that includes the slightly surreal Kandamala Lake, where long-dead trees reach from the lake.
Cycling: 110KMS or 85KMS
Day 5: Dambulla to Kandy
We are now heading into the hill country. Although today we have no major climbs, with a culmination of 1000 metres climbing this is a good warm-up for what is ahead. The main roads toward Kandy are hectic, and so an eclectic mix of gravel, tatty pavement, regular tarmac, brick, and perfectly paved lanes lead us through Sri Lankan countryside en route to our rest-day in Kandy.
DAY 6: Kandy: Rest Day
Kandy is an ideal rest-day venue. Whether you enjoy wandering the streets and local markets with your camera, visiting sights such as the sacred Temple of the Tooth, enjoying some of the Western food you may by now be missing, or simply relaxing by the pool with a book and a beer there is something to keep everyone happy in Kandy
DAY 7: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Tracing a route past the train station, botanical garden and university we are soon out of Kandy and on the open road. An undulating ride through small rural communities brings us to the real focal point of the day, an awesome winding climb on back roads that lead us up into the highlands of the tea country. Here friendly workers picking the tips from fragrant tea bushes wave at the rare sight of passing foreign cyclists as we ride through Tamil villages and past characterful colonial era tea factories. As challenging as it is beautiful, this 2300 meter climb culminates in the temperate climate of the lost in time town of Nuwara Eliya.
Cycling: 95KMS or 0KMS
DAY 8: Nuwara Eliya to Ella
Charming back lanes lead us around Nuwara Eliya and behind the boating lake to one of the great descents of the tour. Twenty-two kilometres of smooth asphalt downhill provides a wonderful ride as we sweep through endless curves losing a thousand vertical meters in altitude with a backdrop of stunning views.
The following twenty kilometres involve two eight kilometre climbs on gentle gradients, before another eight-kilometre descent and a final short climb to the lovely little town of Ella. With a fairly short day and plenty of downhill, we should arrive with time to wander through the tea plantations, hike up to Little Adam’s Peak, explore the delightful little railway station, or relax with a beer.
Day 9: Ella to Udawalawe
Another dramatic 25 kilometre downhill starts our day as we descend from the cool of the high country to the hot dry plains on a well surfaced winding road. Upon reaching the low country a wider undulating road allows those keen to stretch their cycling legs to power on for a while. before reaching the second half of today’s ride with a meander through the savannah of the low country.
At around the halfway point, our route becomes more rural as turn west on smaller rural roads and tracks. here the tour splits. Those who wish to cycle on can do so with the tour-leader, but those interested in a jeep safari can now load their bikes into the support vehicle and transfer to our resort at Udawalawa National Park. This 30,000-hectare park is an important habitat for birds and elephants, as well as jackals, leopards, wild boar, and monkeys, to name but a few. The tour will last around three hours and is included in the tour.
NB: For those interested, there is the option to take a three-hour jeep safari in the national park.
Cycling: 110KMS or 60KMS
DAY 10: Udawalawe to Mirrisa
The theme for our final full day on the bikes is rural and begins in fine style with an early start following rivers, canals, and lakes along quiet sealed roads and gravel canal paths. Leaving these trails behind at the first small town we settle into a series of undulating rural byways laced together with some busier wider roads. Today really gives us a deep insight into the rural living of Southern Sri Lanka as we head through pastoral scenes towards our destination amongst the beachside hotspots of the south coast.
DAY 11: Mirrisa to Galle
A fitting finale to our exploration of Sri Lanka is a lovely half day ride passing villages, paddy fields and lakes, with the familiar and ever-present smiles and greetings of the locals all around. Our destination is one of Sri Lanka's finest jewels, the wonderfully preserved ancient port town of Galle.
Day 12: Transfer to Negombo
This morning we transfer by minibus back to our joining hotel in Negombo. The afternoon will be free to pack for your journey home, wander along the beach, or relax with your fellow cyclists and reminisce about a wonderful cycling adventure through a most exotic land.
Day 13: Finish
The tour officially ends this morning. For those heading home a transfer back to Negombo airport will be provided.east and easily reached by tuk-tuk or bicycle as a day trip from Galle. For those heading home, we provide transport back to Colombo Airport or to our joining hotel at Negombo where we will happily book you any extra nights you may require.
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