Biking within the Himalayas
While you consider Nepal, the very first thing that in all probability involves thoughts is trekking. Whereas on-foot actions are, in reality, arguably the preferred exercise right here, Nepalis additionally provide loads of alternatives to cycle across the nation. Himalayan biking is an effective way to expertise the tallest mountain vary on the planet.
I sat down with Santosh Rai, the co-founder of Himalayan Single Observe, which has been working biking excursions and promoting gear in Kathmandu for the final 14 years. He kindly agreed to speak to me on the spot and provide some ideas about what it’s prefer to cycle on this wondrous mountain paradise.
Santosh’s retailer sits in a quaint little nook amidst espresso outlets that open early to supply breakfast to energetic vacationers wanting to get occurring their every day excursions. Reverse the bike store is a cute little “bicycle bar” the place cyclists can crash for a chilly “Everest” upon finishing a rigorous circuit.
I requested Santosh concerning the nature of his biking excursions, how lengthy they final, and what the particularities of biking on this unique area are.
He defined that issues have modified fairly a bit lately. Because the world begins to get again so as following the worst of Covid, individuals are anxious to get out once more. Nonetheless, having been motionless for 2 years has given many riders a sure diploma of warning with regard to hitting the roads once more full-steam. And whereas biking is a comparatively low-risk exercise in relation to potential illness publicity, the collective paranoia that the world has felt on account of the pandemic made many reluctant to enterprise out anyplace till only recently.
As well as, touring abroad means getting locations, and this has been extraordinarily difficult for a lot of the final two years. Subsequently, touristic companies like Santosh’s are simply beginning to get again so as and journeys are typically shorter in size than they had been pre-pandemic. On common, biking excursions in Nepal now typically run 10-15 days, versus 21 or so beforehand.
Biking and sleeping within the mountains
I requested about lodging preferences on lengthy journeys. For multi-day excursions, each trekkers and cyclists are beginning to favor lodging in “tea homes” nowadays, moderately than tents. These little cottages (which generally take the type of lengthy buildings divided into items) are often considerably Spartan in look, however they provide fundamental services and are a welcome sight on the finish of a protracted day of train. Tour packages embody each lodging and meals.
Whereas using within the slim streets of Kathmandu could be a problem (some would possibly say suicidal!) as a result of velocity and random swerving nature of the town’s many motorcyclists, biking excursions have a tendency to begin properly exterior of city. Santosh defined that the cities of Bidur (about 2h by automobile from Kathmandu) and Manang (about 11h away) are typical beginning factors for his excursions. For extra unique journeys, generally a mixture of Jeep and helicopter is critical to achieve beginning locations.
I used to be curious to be taught concerning the specific attracts and challenges of biking on this famously excessive terrain. Santosh defined that his firm may be very cautious about each facet of their excursions, from preparation to permitting participation to the precise finishing up of every day actions. Initially, he mentioned, individuals should show their current bodily health ranges and move a medical check earlier than becoming a member of any of the excursions. The very last thing they need is for somebody who claims to be tremendous match to abruptly collapse on the primary day of a visit. Inexperienced persons wouldn’t essentially be turned away, he defined, however moderately inspired to do a better trip.
Concerning the demographic of his individuals, Santosh mentioned that it is extremely broad, however that Europeans and Individuals in all probability make up the best proportion of the teams.
Watch out for the altitude
Additionally – maybe much more so than for trekkers – pacing oneself is extraordinarily necessary at such excessive altitudes. Santosh mentioned that his excursions typically take cyclists to peaks of upper than 5000m, however that he requires a number of days’ gradual climb to achieve that peak. Altitude illness could be a severe challenge right here, and naturally cyclists exert themselves much more than hikers do, so exercising warning is crucial.
Behold the view!
Ultimately, it’s at all times value it. The views up within the mountains are unbeatable, and also you is perhaps fortunate sufficient to cross the occasional yak alongside the best way. Skilled guides provide not solely help and historic background, but in addition companionship.
Santosh’s excursions begin at at some point for these not in search of a long-term journey. Excursions can price as a lot as $4000 (in the event that they embody air journey), however given the complexity of reaching among the extra distant locations, his costs make sense. Himalayan Single Observe additionally provides trekking, Enduro journeys, and multi-adventure excursions. Firms like this actually provide a once-in-a-lifetime alternative to cycle on high of the world.