Exploring a place on a cycle can be a wholly transforming experience for adventurers. Cycling through trails, unlike traveling in a car or a bus, gives you the time to explore and notice even the slightest detail – the texture of the trail, the mountain views, scent of wildflowers, reflection of sunlight in the water, and the bend of the road.
The beautiful Indian Himalayas is one of the most breathtakingly scenic and interesting places to go on a cycling tour. And add to it a bit of challenge encompassing people with different religious beliefs and ethnicities and changing landscapes – this place is an adventurer’s heaven.
Excited to tour the Himalayas on a bicycle? Here are some trails you might want to explore.
Leh – Srinagar Highway
The National Highway 1D, the Leh – Srinagar Highway is an absolute treat to your eyes and senses making you feel paradise on earth. The route takes you through the Zanskar valley along the picturesque beauty of the Dal Lake to Sonemarg’s incredible grassy meadows to Kargil on route to Leh. The best time to explore the trail would be in summer as heavy snowfall leads to closure of highway for vehicular traffics in winter. The 434 Km stretch also takes you through the India – Pakistan Line of Control after Kargil where you’re required to traverse through heavily militarized areas.
Leh – Manali Highway
The 479 Km length Leh – Manali Highway passes through some of the highest mountain passes in the world with an altitude of 2 to 3 miles above sea level. This is one of the most dangerous and treacherous tracks owing to extreme weather conditions, high altitude, barren tracks and mud paths and no permanent civilization. Cyclers would hence be advised to have alternates and extra spares for safety. The road usually is open only around four or five months owing to heavy snowfall. Nevertheless, this is one of the most photographically scenic places to be cycling on.
Siliguri – Gurudongmar
Sikkim’s dramatic unadulterated terrains offers stunning views of the snow capped Himalayan Mountains, Buddhist monasteries and challenging roads to cycle on riding down into valleys, passes up to 2000 m above sea level with Kanchenjunga in the backdrop and ends at the Gurudongmar Lake at an altitude of 4996 m in the Tibetan border. Encompassing routes that range from plains to different altitudes gives an experience of feeling the weather change in this trail.
On route to Shimla from Manali, the Spiti Valley trail is most apt for adventure cycling encompassing stunning vistas of gorgeous valleys and barren patches in Lahaul laden. At an altitude of 4650 m, Spiti valley lays snuggled in the Himalayan Mountains and offers a taste of the rich culture and tradition in this region with its majestic monasteries, Buddhist lifestyle and serenity. Cycling in this terrain is moderate to challenging with temperatures ranging from 10 to 25 degrees Celsius.
Feature Image Source: bikenepal.wordpress.com