Pondy Must try: Blive ebike tours- Experience and Review

This post shares my experience exploring Pondicherry (Puducheri) with Blive ebike tour. I've covered most FAQs here in a previous post.

We arrived in Pondicherry by afternoon and had lunch at Garden Cafe. Then we visited Hotel Palace De Mahe where B:Live's ebikes are parked. The tour began from here, after signing indemnity bond. We started at around 4 PM and tour went on till 6.15/6.30 PM.

About the Blive ebikes:
There were two types- one with fat tyres and another with regular tyres. I took the fat tyre one for the fun of it- no difference in terms of riding speed etc, both are same but this one feels better. Fat tyre ebike comes with a disc brake, multiple gears while other one has regular cycle brake and no gears. When I checked online these are available for about INR 27000 onwards.  They are regular cycles with a battery + motor installed inside the rear wheel hub. They have peddles and can be used as regular cycles as  well. (word of caution- in some models it may be difficult to peddle with battery off, due to motor assembly- cross check before purchase)
How to ride?
These ebikes have a rotating throttle like in bikes, so we need to gently twist it to let the motor run and push the cycle forward. Recommended practice is to peddle initial few meters and then use throttle. Bike has 3 speed mores, 1, 2 and 3 but I didn't see much difference. These bikes are limited to 24.9 kmph. This is because bikes that can go faster than 25 kmph will need license, registration etc- more complex for both operator and guests. A digital display shows remaining power, temperature, speed, power output etc. A mobile holder is provided.
If you know how to use the gears in a cycle you can possibly use them too, but it is best left in default setting as motor will take care of pushing.
How the tour works?
Captain leads from the front, we follow him in single file behind. At each place of interest captain will give a quick briefing. Guests will be given a bag with a water bottle, in case they feel dehydrated. Helmet will be given to each rider, a support person followed from a distance in case any bicycle develops any issues.

Moni was our captain. He is a certified tour guide in Pondicherry and speaks french, Tamil, English.

Places we visited:
  • Gandhi Statue & War Memorial: Pondy's most iconic memorial
  • French Institute of Pondicherry (from outside)
  • French Embassy: Used to be a consulate earlier, now we have to apply via VFS!
  • Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple
  • Pondicherry's first modern building
  • Bharathi Park/Governor's residence (from outside)
  • Our Lady of Angels Church and a burial ground opposite to it
  • Sacred Heart Church
  • A Hindu temple near Sacred Heart Church
  • Immaculate Conceptual Cathedral- A 135 years old church
  • Muslim Street & Mosque
  • Tamil Street
  • Intach Pondicherry: We could see various enhancement projects being considered.
  • Maison Peruman Hotel (for refreshment)- Had nice filter coffee and vadai
  • Back to Palace De Mahe- end of tour and cab ride back to Chennai.
While some of the above are popular spots known to all, few are hidden in interiors and you may not be able to locate on your own- like Tamil Street.

Below map gives an idea of places visited- it is not 100% accurate- we took several small streets and had few more stops, but this will give you an idea of coverage.
Itinerary may vary a bit depending on opening/closing hours, customer requests, time and other factors.

Why B:Live ebike tour is unique?
  • Expert guide will take you around and show lesser known places usually missed by tourists
  • It is fun to zip around Pondicherry with a group of friends on ebikes everyone is curious about.
  • Get the essence of Puducheri in a brief, purposeful tour.
The blive ebike tour of Pondicherry costs about INR 1500- includes use of bike & helmet, a guide, some refreshments.  It is a must try activity when in Pondicherry- get a tour of key places with Blive, then explore on your own in leisure.

Watch this 10 min video that summarizes our tour of Puducheri with b:live [Watch on Youtube]


Some suggestions/possible improvements
1. Child seat/Pillion seat- At present family with small kids can't take ebike tour with kids- if a small child seat can be added the kids can possibly sit there and enjoy the ride-of course this comes with safety concerns. Similarly one who can't ride can't sit behind. An e-bike which supports pillion seat might be more useful. It may be too early to get into these- may be based on actual customer feedback and demand Blive can decide on these.
2. Turn indicators: We gave hand signal during turning, which works, but since the vehicle has battery, couple of lights and a switch is all it takes to provide turn indicators- will be a good idea I think.
3. Reusable water bottles: Instead of giving single use plastic bottle, better to give a Tupperware reusable water bottle with RO treated water and collect the water bottle back end of the trip.
4. GoPro mount on helmet and handlebar will be nice.

Related: 48 hours in Pondicherry-best places to visit * Budget hotel- Treebo Red Lotus Pondicherry *

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