Apr 11 2016. view 457
Using pedal power to discover Galle
Offering the bicycle as a mode of transport to explore Galle and its environs Alex Barrett runs Idle Bikes a small business offering cycling tours. Named after an old magazine whose philosophy Alex admired, Idle Bikes was established in the aftermath of the tsunami in 2004 when Alex’s core business was affected by the tragedy and he was forced to diversify.
“Cycling is a joy for all, not just fitness fanatics, so the name Idle Bikes, hopefully encourages those less athletic to put foot to pedal and embark on a journey of exploration” explains Alex.
Currently Idle Bikes has about 50 bicycles in its fleet with plans to add further substantially to the fleet later in the year. Each tour is allocated their own guide and tours can start at times convenient to the cyclists who are encouraged to cycle at their own pace. Tours are always conducted in daylight hours due to health and safety concerns. Explaing further Alex says “ All our Tour Leaders are mountain bike trained and accredited. All staff have first aid training and carry kits. We provide helmets to all, have support vehicles that shadow tourists and most importantly our tours are off the beaten path and away from the crazy traffic”
The tours which are through winding country roads takes in the beautiful rural scenery of Galle. Cycling past paddy fields, streams and hamlets offers visitors a glimpse of rural life at its best. “ There is a wonderful sense of freedom, joy, fresh air, camaraderie and nature which can be experienced during the rides. We also have bikes to suit all ages, even children and we have baby seats too for those who want to bring along younger children” said Alex.
Although Idle Bikes are primarily based in Galle they have extensive experience of cycling elsewhere in the country and would be willing to organise tours in other parts of the island if there is adequate interest.
The easiest ride is the classis Paddy Trail ride which is a gentle and beautiful ride which can be completed by a cyclist of any level. Also available are longer day tours such as the Hiyare Hill Climb for keener cyclists who are not afraid to try out a challenging route. Due to increased interest, Alex is currently working on creating more short and multi day cycling tours.
A perfect respite from the beach or a session of overindulging a cycle tour with Idle Bikes is the perfect prescription. So get cycling!
By Tina Edward Gunawardhana