• Dining and Kitchen tents

    Cross the Himalayas by mountain bike. In 11 days of riding we will cross from the lush green, apple growing region of the Kulu Valley on the South side of the Great Himalayan Range to the high and dry desert mountains of Ladakh on the North side.

    The trip starts in New Delhi, India, where we will immediately head north to the small Himalayan town of Manali in the state of Himachal Pradesh to begin acclimatizing and where we start our ride. Our route travels along a military road cutting through the Himalayas of North India, over some of the highest passes crossable by road in the world and through some of the most dramatic awe inspiring terrain in any corner of the globe. We will ride through deep gorges, lush valleys and the subtle mountain desert and plains of the Tibetan plateau. We will cross the Rohtang pass (3980m/13,100ft), the Baralacha pass (5065m/16,300ft), the Nakeela and Lachung passes (15,500ft and 16,700ft) , the Tangnang pass(5360m/17,500ft) before reaching the Indus valley and Leh, Ladakh and if one chooses, they can ride to the Khardung La pass (5540m/18,200ft) claimed to be the highest motorable road in the world.

    We will be in the saddle for 4 to 6 hours per day and will ride a minimum of 35km/21 miles and a maximum of 73km/44 miles per day over 11 days of biking with one day of total rest for acclimatization along this high altitude route. The trip is entirely supported by a 4wd vehicle and a full team of local staff as well as being guided by an experienced professional mountain guide from the US.

    The road is semi-maintained and is very rough in places and other places where it is pavement. Riders can expect the road to be about 45% paved. However this "pavement" can vary from smooth road to potholed nightmare to packed rocks. Road surface conditions can range from muddy to dusty to wet and/or snowy. It is a very good idea to have a shock- absorbing fork for this trip, and as there are no reliable bicycles available in India you must bring your bicycle from home. Everyday holds very dramatic and different terrain. We start by climbing from the relatively lush Kulu Valley over the Beas Kund range and drop into the Lahaul Valley, where the locals have prospered from decades of apple growing. You will notice the terrain starting to become gradually more arid. The next few days of winding mountain roads and steep valleys brings you into the Rupshu Plains – an extension of the Tibetan plateau within India's borders and home to nomadic shepherds. The moonscape here is vast and awe inspiring. The interesting internplay between the unusual landforms and the local culture can really only truly be absorbed at a human powered pace. The last few days will be traveling through lush cultivated valleys, cut by fantastic rock formations, which drop us into the valley of the fabled Indus River.

    After an afternoon of biking along the Indus River we end our journey at 11,500 feet in the magical town of Leh, also known as "Little Lhasa" due to its distinctly Tibetan influence. It is the heart of the region known as Ladakh and has a distinctly Tibetan Buddhist culture, although Ladakhi society is in reality a mosaic of Tibetans, Ladkhis, Zanskaris, Dards, Kashmiris, other diverse cultures from around the region. It is a peaceful, inspiring place to end the journey and a wonderful place to explore. Leh town is a maze of narrow streets where you can find unexpected shops and restaurants down hidden alleys surrounded by beautiful cultivated valleys, light filled willow forests, and fantastic high mountain landscapes. There are many ancient monasteries, temples and palaces to explore, a plethora of tasty local cuisine to try while you rest and recuperate in this high Himalayan Shangri-La.

    Fitness, Altitude, and Difficulty
    The most important thing will be to have your rear end in saddle shape. You need to spend the time necessary to be "ride ready", to know your equipment well, to make sure it fits you, and to make sure you can handle multiple full days in the saddle. This will require 3 or 4 days of training riding each week as the trip draws closer.

    This trip requires good fitness, however you need not be a superman nor a super-biker. As long as we are trained up, staying healthy, getting rest on our rest days and eating well, everyone should have no problem riding every day and clearing every pass in good style. We have built the itinerary to insure that everyone is acclimatizing properly and gets the rest they need.

    The passes we will be biking over are big...and high... but not often steep. They do sometimes take many hours to get up them, and in places there can be difficult riding conditions, but if you are healthy and have spend good amount of time in the saddle you will be able to make it. On most days we will spend the morning travelling up a pass and in the afternoon we get to ride down the other side to camp. We have plenty of time to ride at very casual pace and there will always be a support vehicle for anyone who simply cannot make it over a pass due to weather, health issues, or fatigue.

    If you have never been to high altitude (above 12,000ft) you will find it is indeed difficult at first. Your ability to perform work is considerably diminished, but with proper planning, and a careful ascent rate everyone will acclimatize properly and will feel very definite improvements in ability and com. fort as the days roll along.

    Logistics and Support FAQs
    What type of bike and equipment is required?

    This route has been done with mountain bikes of all sorts, and touring bikes. Our recommendation is to ride a hard tail mountain bike, a light full suspension mountain bike, a cross bike, or a touring bike with substantial tires. We highly discourage anyone from trying to ride this route on a traditional road bike or touring bike with narrow tires.

    One does not need overly knobby tires, but they ought to be at least 1.5" wide. Our personal favorites for this trip are the Hutchinson Python Classic or Maxxis Crossmark (or similar tire) in a 2.0" wide. Call or email if you have any questions about the appropriateness of your bike.

    What will we eat?
    Meals will be a tasty and healthy mix of Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Continental dishes freshly prepared by our staff every day.

    Breakfast will consist of porridge, cornflakes, bread, eggs, sausage, marmalade/jam, peanut butter, cheese etc. If there are special wishes, like red beans in tomato sauce or a rice congee soup, our cooks can usually accommodate.

    Lunches will be either a cold lunch bag, given to the rider to carry for the day with sandwiches, boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, flatbread, biscuits, fruit, and/or fresh cakes. Or it can be a hot lunch, which is prepared by our staff and will be eaten at a pre-designated lunch stop along the route. Hot lunches will generally include soup, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, nuts, breads and fruit. Some of the support crew will go ahead to prepare lunch on these days.

    Dinner will be a variety of Continental and Asian dishes that will include soups, pastas, curries, chicken, mutton, and Chinese style rice and vegetables. Even local trout will feature on the menu.

    Food will be healthy, nutritious, and safe and there will always be plenty of clean water and hot drinks for rehydration every morning and evening. There will also always be plenty of biscuits and snacks available at all camps.

  • Highlights
    Type Mountain Biking
    Duration 16 nights / 17 days
    Best Time June to Sep
    Grade Strenuous
    Max alt 5065m / 16613ft
    Trevase through the deep gorges and high passes of Trans Himalayan, Zanskar ranges and Rupshu ranges.
    Hotel envisage
    Delhi The Park / Metropolitan Nikko / Lebuba 5*
    Leh The Kaal / Noble House / Cho Palace / Silk route inn
    In Nalagarh Nalagarh Fort
    In Manali Orchid Green
  • Itinerary
    Day1: Arrival at Delhi - After immigration and custom formalities you will be met at the airport. Welcome and transfer to hotel.
    Day2: Delhi to Manali (morning flight) - Transfer to Domestic Airport. Board flight to Kullu and 45 minute drive to Manali. On arrival in Manali, Check into Hotel. Down time, rest and bike assembly. In the Evening make a visit to Manali town.
    Day3: Manali - After breakfast we have a full day of sightseeing visiting Hadimba temple, Manu Temple, Tibetan Monasteries, the Mountaineering Institute, Vashisht Hot Spring and Temple, Nehru Kund, the Solang Valley, Arjun Gufa (cave) and the Rohtang Pass. Optional short acclimatization ride to Jagatsukh village and Naggar castle.
    Day4: Begin Biking - Manali to Marhi (3354m/11,050ft) - 35km/21miles - After breakfast we will slowly start biking up to Marhi along the Beas River on the Leh- Manali road, passing through some settlements, roadside shops, and small chai tea shops.We will slowly start biking uphill on switchback roads to Marhi. En-route we will meet withour support crew for hot lunch. Overnight in camp at altitude 10,890 ft.
    Day5: Marhi to Gondhla (3160m/10,400ft) via the Rohtang Pass(3980m/13,100ft) - 56km/33miles - After breakfast we will start biking towards the Rothang pass for about 13 kilometres, which is the gateway to the lovely Lahaul valley. The Rohtang sits at 13335ft. Cycling down the switch back roads you will come to the settlement of Koksar and cross the Chandra River which flows down from the Kunzum Pass and finally reach our destination for the day: Gondhla. Overnight in Camp at 10,428ft.
    Day6: Gondhla to Jespa (3142m/10,350ft) via Keylong village -43km/26miles - After breakfast we will continue biking down hill towards Keylong to the confluence of the Chandra and Bagha Rivers at Tandi. Here both rivers join to form the Chenab River. Crossing the bridge we will bike up to Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti districts. We continue for another 25 kilometres to reach the picturesque village of Jespa. Overnight in Camp at 10,560 ft.
    Day7: est Day in Jespa - We can spend the day relaxing, acclimatizing and exploring the nearby market in Keylong and shooting out emails from the local internet café.
    Day8: Jespa to Zingzingbar (3900m/12,680) - 40km/24miles - After leaving camp you will continue to Darcha the last settlement of Himachal Pradesh state on the Leh-Manali road. From here the road gets steeper and more barren leaving the Juniper trees behind and crosses a small plateau to reach Patseo, a small army base. Continue to Zingzingbar which is at the base of the Baralacha Pas. Overnight in camp at 11,220 ft.
    Day9: Zingzingbar to Sarchu (4300m/14,200ft) via Baralacha La Pass(4950m/16,300ft) - 45km/27miles - After breakfast we will continue uphill biking to the Baralacha La Pass. On the way you will pass by Suraj Taal, a beautiful tiny lake. On the top of pass we will hang our prayer flags and say the "Kiki Soso Lhargyalo" Prayer (may good triumph over evil), and enjoy the spectacular view of the Himalaya and Zanskar ranges. From here we descend through a gorge to Sarchu. Overnight in camp at 14025ft.
    Day10: Sarchu to Whisky Nala (3950m/13,000ft) - 60km/36miles - We will cross the check post and enter into the Ladakh part of the Leh-Manali road. We travel across wide open plains with sparse green vegetation, mountain goats and herds of sheep. Overnight camp at Whisky Nala at 13,000ft.
    Day11: Whisky Nalah to Paang (4630m/15,250ft)via Nakeela and Lachungla Passes (4550m/15,030ft & 5065m/16714 ft) - 44km/27miles - This is one of our harder days with a significant climb and a double pass. After breakfast we will start ascending biking towards the Lachung La, the third highest pass on the trip. The day will be longer and the air thinner as we pedal steeply up the "Gata loops" – 21 switchbacks with 464m/1500ft of elevation gain over 7 kilometers - to reach the Nakeel pass at 15,030ft and after a short descent, we ascend once more to the Luchung (or Lachalung) pass at 16,714ft.. The scenery and view are ample reward as it gets more spectacular with astounding rock and sand formations all the way to Paang. Paang, is a busy, dusty roadside settlement with many makeshift tented caravan-serai style restaurants set up for the summer season. We will camp just before Paang in a more pristine location at 15,250ft.
    Day12: Paang to Tsokar Lake (4500m/14,800ft) - 55km/33miles - Leaving the camp this morning we will pass the roadside settlement of Paang and the tented "Dhaba" restaurants. After few switchbacks, we will come to the beautiful More (pronounced Mo-ray) Plains. We have mostly flat cycling day after the initial ascent. We will pass through settlements of the Changpa people - nomadic shepherds - and hopefully see herds of Kyang, the Tibetan wild ass. Overnight in camp at 14,800ft.
    Day13: Tsokar Lake to Rumtse (3384m/11,150ft) via Tangnang La Pass (5360m/17,490ft) - 73km/44miles - A simple up and down day but a challenging one! We climb for about 20 to reach the Tangnang La (or Tanglang la) pass, the second highest pass on the trip. From the summit of the pass we will enjoy spectacular views of Ladakh, and the Zanskar and Karakoram mountain ranges. We continue downhill from the pass to Miru, a small and beautiful Ladakhi village. Overnight in Camp at Rumtse at 11,150ft.
    Day14: Rumtse to Leh via Hemis (3506m/11,500ft) - 51km/31miles - An easy day of biking: to the village of Miru, we will come to a bridge and cross the Indus river and then bike along the Indus for 3 hours to Leh. We will pass through the monastical villages of Thiksey, Shey and other prominent villages, finally arriving to our hotel in Leh. After shower we can visit the market for a stroll, enjoy some well deserved refreshments, and relax in the peaceful surroundings of Leh.
    Day15: Indus Valley Explorations and Celebration. OPTIONAL: ride up Kardung La (5540m/18,250ft) - 60km/36miles - After breakfast we will visit Ladakhs most prominent monasteries of Hemis, Thiksey and Shey or for those who feel like one last challenge we will bike up to the highest motorable pass of our trip, the Khardung La Pass at 18,250ft which crosses over into the fascinating Nubra valley, where the locals raise and ride two-humped Bactrian camels.
    Day16: Leh to Delhi flight - Early morning flight to Delhi. Sightseeing in Delhi, Chandi Chowk, old Delhi, the National Museum.
    Day17: Farewells and Flight Home.
  • Cost
    Minimum Paying pax Per pax cost in USD Per pax Cost in EURO
    02-03 3285/- 2316/-
    04-06 2867/- 2021/-
    07-09 2151/- 1516/-
    10-12 1863/- 1314/-
    Single room Supplement 247/- 174/-
    Accommodation on twin sharing basis, Delhi accommodation with breakfast only All meals during Leh, Return airport and round trip transfers along with all sightseeing tours by Private Non AC Innova / Scorpio / Tavera, All monastery entry fees, English Speaking Guide, All taxes.
    During Biking
    Sherpa Cook (01), Assistants, English speaking guide, All camping, wildlife fees, All meals, All camping equipment; such as tents, Utility backup throughout the trip, dining tent, kitchen tent, toilet tent, mattresses, sleeping bags, etc. All required kitchen equipment, Pony, Utility, Pick-up and drop from trek starting and ending point.
    Cost does not includes
    Airfares, Meals in Delhi, items of any personal nature such as drinks, tips/ gratuities, etc, extra hotel nights due to flight cancellations, sightseeing in Delhi, extra expenses incurred due to mishandled luggage.

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