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       Find adventure in the countryside on motorcycles with Pondy’s Royal Riders

    Cruising on the highway on a bike is a thrill on its own. But finding new paths to familiar places is what makes biking more than just a ride. And that’s what the motorbike tour company, Royal Riders, offers.
    Looking back
    Launched two months ago, the team of Gregory, Raul Amoros and Gaetan, are continuously working on adding more guided motorbike tours to their list (the current number is eight). While Gregory is the administrative brain behind the initiative, Amoros and Gaeten are bikers who double up as guides. Between them, the Spaniard and the Frenchman have explored thousands of miles of Indian roads. The business idea took shape from a desire to share the adventures from taking roads less travelled.
    “We spent one-and-a-half-years putting together these tours and mapping routes,” says Amoros, adding, “We avoid the highways whenever possible and take the traffic-free lanes through villages to absorb the local colour and enjoy the landscape.” Their office at Serenity Beach, with an entire wall replaced by an open view of waves crashing on the beach, is proof of their inclination to stay amidst nature. “We have always found the villagers welcoming, as bikers usually don’t pass their way. They sometimes ask us to take a selfie with them,” grins Amoros.
    Road map
    For weekend travellers, trips to destinations near Pondicherry fit the bill — a half-day drive through the forests of Auroville is the shortest trip. These tours incorporate stops like a temple at Irumbai,  a Chettinad house in Karaikudi or a picnic at Gingee fort. “Even people who’ve been to these places, tell us it was a different experience on our bike tour,” says Gaeten. “No two trips are the same — what you see and who you meet on the road makes the experience different.”
    Tours across South India traverse coastlines, mountains and backwaters — from Tranquebar, Pichavaram and Rameshwaram to Kodaikanal and Munnar. While bikers cross rugged terrain by day, they come back to luxurious accommodations at  night. A support car with spares and luggage also trails them on longer journeys. The longest expedition, for now, is the Goa tour  that goes down the East Coast to Kanyakumari and then curves up the Konkan Coast.
    Safety in numbers makes the tour ideal for women bikers who are hesitant to travel solo, points out Amoros. Travellers can also ride pillion (for 50 per cent of normal rates, if one of a duo rides the bike). Tours can also be customised according to preferences. “Adventure, culture, nature, local life — we mix a bit of everything, but ultimately we want to have fun,” he concludes.

    From Rs 7,100  (including a 500 cc bike, petrol, food, accommodation, toll and guides). Details: theroyalriders.com
    — Olympia Shilpa Gerald

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