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Manali to Leh Ride

The ride of your life – cycle six passes amidst the breathtaking Indian
Himalaya!



At a glance

* 8 nights hotels, 8 nights full service camping
* Group normally 4 to 15, plus leader, driver and camp staff. Min age 18 yrs
* 11 days cycling with full vehicle support

The ride of your life – cycle six passes amidst the breathtaking Indian
Himalaya!

This unique region, home to traditional Tibetan Buddhism, is the scene for
one of cycling’s epic journeys. The ride takes us from verdant forests and
flower-filled valleys to barren lunar landscapes with towering peaks and
hanging glaciers. As our route weaves its way across the Indian Himalaya we
get a taste of the rich Ladakhi culture and see monasteries majestically
perched on high spurs, and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of a genuinely
untouched land. Running the trip in this direction entails more climbing
overall, but offers the best opportunity to fully acclimatise and cycle the
whole route.

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/mih.jpg?t=1DiWcy

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 8 dinners included
* All accommodation
* Transfer for group flights
* Local bike hire

Food:
All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 8 dinners are included.

This is all meals except meals in Delhi, Mandi, Manali and Leh. Please allow
about £70-100 (US0-160) for these. In Delhi, Manali and Leh there are
many restaurants serving all types of food including Tibetan, Indian, Chinese
and Continental. Manali and Leh are famous for restaurants serving Tibetan
food – try the meat or vegetable momos, a steamed or fried stuffed dumpling.
There is always plenty of choice for both vegetarians and meat eaters. Whilst
camping we have a cook and assistants who will prepare simple but plentiful
and nutritious food. Breakfasts will be porridge, cereals, eggs and toast
with plenty of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Lunches will usually be a picnic
lunch with soup, various kinds of local breads, cheese, eggs, tinned fish and
meat and fruit where available. There will be afternoon tea and biscuits on
arrival at camp followed later by dinner which is usually soup, a pasta, rice
or potato based main course with fresh vegetables, followed by dessert, tea,
coffee or hot chocolate.

Start destination: Delhi

End destination: Delhi

Cycling profile

Day 1

The group flight arrives in Delhi in the morning and we will then transfer to
our hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax and recover from the flight
or for individual exploration of Delhi. Rooms in the hotel are usually
available from noon. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will
join us at the hotel during the day. Bikes will be transported from Delhi to
Manali by road ready for your arrival in Manali.
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 2

This morning we have an early start and transfer to the railway station
before boarding the train for a 4 hour journey to Chandigarh. From Chandigarh
we will drive to Mandi (approx. 145km/6 hours), arriving in the early
evening.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 3

An easier day today with a half day drive to Manali (110 km/3.5-4 hours). We
drive through the lush alpine landscape of Himachal Pradesh into the Kullu
Valley. Here we meet the mighty Beas River which we follow to the hill resort
of Manali (2020m). On arrival we check-into the hotel and after lunch we will
collect/build our bikes ready for the following day. There will be a full
bike briefing this afternoon. Late afternoon there will be time to visit the
450-year-old Hadimba temple, which is made completely out of wood and has
remarkable carvings. The evening is free to explore the local surroundings.
Manali is surrounded by beautiful fir and pine forests and there are lovely
walks in and around the town. There is also a colourful bazaar famous for its
shawls, jewellery and handicrafts.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 4

This morning we get on our bikes for the first time and go on an
acclimatisation ride. We cycle down through Manali town, crossing the Beas
River and head south to Naggar. Naggar was once the capital of this area and
the old castle has now been turned into a hotel. Near the castle is the
Nicholas Roerich estate. Roerich was a Russian artist, who married a
Bollywood heroine and lived here in Nagar. He travelled extensively through
Ladakh and Tibet and many of his beautiful works of art still hang in the
gallery here (please note the gallery is closed on Mondays). After a coffee
and cake stop at Naggar we cycle back to Manali for lunch.

Cycle approx. 54km, time approx. 5-6 hrs, ascent approx. 1100m.

The other option for acclimatisation is to cycle through Old Manali on quiet
backroads to the Solang Valley (a ski resort in winter). We can take a short
walk to the Shiva Temple here before returning to Manali via hot sulphur
springs at Vaishisht where we can have lunch. It is then a short easy
downhill back to Manali with a short uphill back to the hotel.

Cycle approx. 31km, time approx. 4 hrs, ascent approx. 849m, descent approx.
842m.

*Standard Hotel*

Day 5

Today we start our first full day of biking on one of the classic cycle
routes in the world. We start climbing right from Manali through the
flower-filled valleys and cedar and fir forests, passing through numerous
villages. After the last village, called Kothi, we will cycle up lots of
hairpin bends which bring us to the Rohalla Falls. We will then ascend into a
small valley where we will reach our camp for the night.
Cycle approx. 37km, time approx. 6 hrs, ascent approx. 1415m, descent approx.
119m.
*Full-service Camping*

Day 6

Today we cross our first pass. We set off early and leave all habitation
behind as the road zig zags higher and higher into the mountains. It is a
fairly tough climb and the road near the top of the pass can be muddy
especially when wet. We feel as though we are entering a different world as
we reach the top of the Rohtang La (3946m). This barren windswept pass,
blocked by snow for more than six months of the year, crosses the Pir Pinjal
Range and is the gateway to Ladakh. We leave the coniferous forests and lush
green pasturelands behind and enter a vivid mountainous desert. Ahead are
spectacular views across to the mountains of Lahaul and Spiti. From the top
of the pass the road snakes down 900m to the small village of Khoksar, where
we stop for lunch. Care must be taken on the downhill as the road is being
worked on and is very rough in places. We then cross the Chandra River and
have an easy 14km following the beautiful Chandra Valley to our camp at
Sissu.
Cycle approx. 51km, time approx. 4 hrs, ascent approx. 816m, descent approx.
1086m.
*Full-service Camping*

Day 7

We are now in the beautiful Lahaul Valley surrounded by wonderful snow capped
peaks. The road to Tandi is being worked on and is very rough in places as it
undulates by the river. At Tandi the rivers of Chandra and Bhaga meet to
become the Chandrabhaga, which we have been following. Crossing the river
here we climb through Tandi. The scenery is spectacular and the valley
narrows as magnificent mountains rise high above us. Continuing up the valley
we cycle through Keylong, a small bustling town. Keylong is the capital of
Lahaul and is surrounded by three famous monasteries – we can see the
rooftops shining in the sun on the surrounding hillsides. From Keylong the
road is good as we climb up above the river to Istingri and Gemur before
descending to our camp at Jispa. Next to our campsite is a small temple,
which was specially built for H.H. the Dalai Lama.
Cycle approx. 55km, time approx. 4 hrs, ascent approx. 1028m, descent approx.
758m.
*Full-service Camping*

Day 8

A fairly easy day for acclimatisation as we are now approaching the Great
Himalayan Range. We cycle through beautiful green pastureland to Darcha
(3358m). From here we cross the river and have a steep zig zag ascent for 8km
and then a nice 12km descent to a small lake called Deepak Tal. We can stop
by the lake for a tea break and camp is just a further 1.5km at Patseo
(3780m). The site of a lone tea house, Patseo used to be the place of an
annual fair of the Changpa nomads. In the afternoon we can have a walk into
the surrounding hills.
Cycle approx. 25km, time approx. 2-3 hrs, ascent approx. 638m, descent
approx. 156m.
*Full-service Camping*

Day 9

A hard day crossing the Himalaya to Sarchu, the border between the states of
Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. From Patseo we have a gradual
climb past large meadows to Zingzingbar, where we start our long ascent to
the Baralacha La Pass (4933m). After a couple of hours and 16.5km we stop for
a tea break at the only tea tents on the way up the pass. From here it’s
another 2 hours and 16km to the top. Just before the top we pass Suraj Kund,
an isolated high altitude lake. From here the top is not so far – the climb
seems at times to go on forever but the hard work is worth it as the views
become increasingly spectacular. Finally we reach the top – we are in the
middle of the mighty Indian Himalaya. The word Baralacha means ‘a pass with
crossroads’ and the trails from Zanskar, Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul come
together here. This is the main crossing of the Great Himalayan Range and
offers amazing views of the many snow-covered peaks including Barashigri,
Chandrabhaga and Mulkila. From the pass the breathing gets easier as we
descend on rough road for 30 minutes (5.4km) to lunch at the tea tents at
Bharatpur. After lunch the cycling gets easier (although the road is very
rough at first) and it’s an easy 1.5 hours and 20km descending past Kiling
Serai and on to our camp 6km before the checkpost at Sarchu.
Cycle approx. 57km, time approx. 6 hrs, ascent approx. 1211m, descent approx.
587m.
*Full-service Camping*

Day 10

This will be our longest and hardest day of cycling so we will set off early.
We start by climbing fairly gently for approximately 32km across the
windswept Sarchu Plains past Brandy Nallah and Whisky Nallah to the bottom of
the Gata Loops. This is a series of 21 amazing hairpin bends, which we slowly
ascend. Take time to stop and look back – the valley behind is full of
amazing wind eroded rock formations. At the top of the loops we will have
climbed 400m in 9.4km. From a viewpoint at the top of the loops, it’s
another 9.5km to the top of our first pass, the Nakli La at 4948m. We then
have a nice 4.4km downhill to lunch at a collection of tea tents. After lunch
the road winds up for 7.3km to the top of our second pass of the day, the
Lachalung La at 5100m. We are now crossing the barren Zanskar Range and we
are surrounded by amazing multi-coloured mountains – the purples, greens and
browns of the hillsides change shades as clouds are blown across the sky.
From the Lachalung La we have one of the most amazing descents of the trip –
an easy 17km ride down (on rough road) through an amazing canyon of
magnificent rock formations of the Trans Himalaya until we reach our camp a
few kilometres before Pang.
Cycle approx. 81km, time approx. 8 hrs, ascent approx. 1611m, descent approx.
1157m.
*Full-service Camping*

Day 11

We start slowly with a descent to the tea shops at Pang, followed by an 8km
ascent to the Mori Plains (4778m). We are now in Rupshu, the waterless high
altitude desert of the Tibetan Plateau. This area is all above 4500m and is
home to the hardy Changpas; Tibetan nomads who live in yak hair tents and
graze huge flocks of sheep and yaks in this seemingly barren landscape. We
now cycle along a great section of flat black top road for 33km to the turn
off to Tsokar Lake. From here it is just over 6km on a sandy track to Tsokar
Lake where we camp for the night near Pongunagu. Tsokar means ‘white lake’,
and there are white salt deposits ringing the water. Our camp is a few
kilometres from the lake but for the energetic there will be time to walk to
the lake, which is good for bird watching and you may even spot some ‘kiang’,
the wild asses which roam the surrounding hills.
Cycle approx. 51km, time approx. 4 hrs, ascent approx. 592m, descent approx.
280m.
*Full-service Camping*

Day 12

A hard day today as we cross the last pass before Leh, the Taglang La. We
leave Tsokar and cycle back to the main road. From here it is 24km to the top
of the pass (most of this section is now on a sealed road surface, with only
approx. 8km of rough road). The long climb starts gradually and winds ever
higher and steeper to the top of the Taglang La (5350m). You should be proud
of yourself at the top – you have just cycled to the top of the second
highest motorable road pass in India! We are rewarded for all our hard work
with wonderful views of both the Himalaya and the Karakorum Mountains. After
a rest and photo stop we have a wonderfully long 25km zig zag descent on a
good black top section of road to lunch by the river. After lunch it’s an
easy 14km ride down to our first real villages since Lahaul. The houses and
green fields of barley and potatoes greet us as we pass the villages of
Rumtse and Gya before reaching our camp at Lato.
Cycle approx. 73km, time approx. 6-7 hrs, ascent approx. 1004m, descent
approx. 1556m.
*Full-service Camping*

Day 13

We start early with an easy ride winding down by the Kyamnar River down to
Upshi. Here we join the Indus Valley, which we follow all the way into Leh.
Passing a large army camp we come to Karu and then the road ‘roller coasters’
along the Indus to Thikse, where an impressive monastery sits perched on a
hilltop. We cycle up to the monastery (2km), which contains a very impressive
two-storey statue of the Future Buddha. Back on the road we cycle past the
ruins of Shey Palace and the cycling is fairly easy as we come to Choglamsar,
home to many Tibetan refugees. There is a final sting in the tail as we leave
the Indus and climb into Leh. Tonight we can enjoy the comforts of a hot
shower in our hotel in Leh.
Cycle approx. 79km, time approx. 6 hrs, ascent approx. 723m, descent approx.
1230m.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 14

For the energetic today there is the challenging ride to the Khardung La,
arguably the highest motorable road pass in the world. After the last 10 days
we should now be fully acclimatised to the altitude and mountains. We leave
Leh early and take a packed lunch. It will take around 6 hours to cycle to
the top of the pass. The views are magnificent as we wind our way higher and
higher away from Leh. The first 24km of the ride is tarmac and the last 15km
is rough road. From the top we are rewarded with close-up views ahead of the
Karakorums, while behind us the Ladakh and Zanskar mountains seem to stretch
forever. After a photo stop we have a fantastic downhill ride back to Leh – a
great reward for all the hard work this morning! For those who do not want to
do the whole ride there will be the option to drive to South Pollu and then
cycle the final 15km to the top and all the way down. (Please note: If you
hold a Chinese, Korean or Taiwanese passport you will not be able to get an
Inner Line Permit to do the Khardung Pass trip and you will only be able to
cycle from Leh to the check point half way up).
Cycle approx. 78km, time approx. 8-10 hrs, ascent approx. 2049m, descent
approx. 2049m.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 15

We now have time to relax and do some sightseeing and shopping in Leh. The
day is free to explore the back streets and bazaars or maybe do some optional
sightseeing around Leh. Set above Leh on the Namgyal Hill, are the ruins of
the Old Royal Palace. From here a winding path takes you to the Namgyal Tsemo
Monastery. The recently built Japanese Peace Pagoda is also worth exploring,
offering stunning views of Leh.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 16

We transfer early in the morning to Leh airport and catch a flight to Delhi.
The flight is spectacular as it flies right across the Himalaya. On arrival
in Delhi we transfer to our hotel. During the afternoon you are free to relax
or explore Delhi. There are plenty of sights in both Old and New Delhi you
may want to visit such at the Red Fort, Jamia Mosque, India Gate and
Humayun’s Tomb.
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 17

Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for
the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after
check-out from the hotel.
If you have the time and would like to discover more of India, we also offer
a Golden Triangle extension after the main tour.

Prices & Dates

Date: 2018-06-292018-07-15

Trip code: MIH180629

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2018-07-202018-08-05

Trip code: MIH180720

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2018-08-102018-08-26

Trip code: MIH180810

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

Book now

Date: 2019-06-282019-07-14

Trip code: MIH190628

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

Book now

Date: 2019-07-192019-08-04

Trip code: MIH190719

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

Book now

Date: 2019-08-092019-08-25

Trip code: MIH190809

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

Book now

Customer Feedback

Ultimate Bike Trip

Summary:
It really is like no other place you will cycle. Each day takes that bit
longer as you marvel at the scenery.You worry that you will not be able to
remember the unique landscapes. Everything as usual is slick and well
planned. BUT, the altitude can catch you out, listen to the guides, with the
emphasis on take it easy, dont push too hard!!
Did we listen? No!. We road too hard and felt the effects. But some TLC from
the guide and we were back to form next day!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cresting the Baralaccha Pass and seeing the blue skies and amazing high
altitude ranges stretching beyond.
Descending the TanglangLa, and the remoteness of the trip, far away from
civilisation. Check the photos!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
We had two great guides Valerie,sweeping from behind and ‘Riczun’ leading up
front. Both amazingly knowledgeable and supremely competent.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
You need to love cycling, be very fit to enjoy the trip, and do as you are
told-don’t race up the mountains, it is not the Uk or even the Alps!!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Having cycled with Exodus in Vietnam and Morocco this feels like the natural
next step. As you can see from the previous reviews everyone is unanimous in
their thrill of completing the trip.

Read full review

Manali to Lei, July 8-24, 2016

Summary:
This was a fantastic trip – so glad I signed up! Logistics were great. Food
was excellent, and the camping was lots of fun. We had a great group that got
along so well. Very motivated to do another Exodus trip.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Viewing the Karakorum ridge from the top of the Khardung La, including K2 and
Gasherbrum I – unforgettable!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Jangbu Sherpa was an excellent leader. He briefed us thoroughly on each day’s
journey, and introduced us to the culture and food. I especially enjoyed our
visits to the monasteries.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The sun is strong at altitude, so for those sensitive to burns, light layers
for the arms can help.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I’d suggest adding lights to the equipment list. On occasion, in our case on
the Rhotang La, it can be foggy and misty. A blinking rear light would be
good for added safety!

Read full review

MIH August 2016

Summary:
An amazing trip, but not for the faint-hearted! I have experience of climbing
3000 m/day in Europe, but the effect of high altitude is not to be
under-estimated. The trip is hard!

The mountains are big, some of the valleys very deep, and there’s the
transition from the cedar forests of Manali to the desert of Ladakh. There’s
some velvet black-top and some truly appalling roads under construction – no
engineered surface at all. Even a few streams to ford.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Getting to the top of the Khardung La. Even though it’s not actually as high
as claimed (my GPS reckoned 5385 m), it’s still a very long climb from Leh at
3500 m. The descent goes on for ever.

The descent down the valley/gorge from the Baralacha La is pretty
mind-blowing too.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Valerie had a very good knowledge of the region and was also well able to
manage the various ills that beset the group during the trip. Ringzin was
good at keeping a pace that could be sustained all day.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
You don’t get forests unless it rains! We had some seriously wet weather for
the first few days of the trip and were starting to despair of ever getting
dry. Don’t rely on washing and drying your kit every day.

Read full review

Unbelievable

Summary:
This trip is not for the faint-hearted! You will be both physically and
mentally challenged, in the best way possible. Do not underestimate how fit
you have to be, not necessarily cycle fit but general aerobic fitness should
be high. It is a trip of a lifetime and one you wont forget in hurry – it’s
one of the best trips I’ve ever done.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Getting to the top of Khardung La. I highly recommend you do this (it’s
optional), even if you get to Leh and can’t bear the thought of sitting on a
bike again. You’re only there once and you will regret not doing it. You can
see K2 from the top on a clear day, it’s by far the hardest but most
rewarding things I’ve ever done.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Jangbu Sherpa was an exceptional leader. I don’t think he was out of breath
for the whole trip! ALways smiling and very encouraging.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Get fit.
Have a comfy roll mat and a warm sleeping bag.
Take clothes/suncream for all weather conditions.
A camelbak is vital.
Immodium.
You don’t need to pack a huge number of cycle tops (only 2 or 3) as you can
wash them on the way/wear them dirty!
Loose trousers are useful for women for visiting monasteries/in Delhi.
A book as we often got to the campsite early and could relax.
The air is not crisp and clean…the road is busy and therefore lots of fumes
and dust. It’s important you don’t get the idea you will be cycling in quiet,
clean mountain air!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Do this trip!

Read full review

Manali- Leh

Summary:
A fantastic bike trip with absolutely unique scenery.
All weather conditions were part of our trip: wind, sun, rain, hot and cold
temperatures.
The trip is well balanced to prepare you for the high altitudes.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
To get to the top of the Taglang pass was the highlight, we had a kind of
mistral wind facing us to get to the top, and part from the last part it was
all off road biking.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Regzin and Jangbu were excellent, friendly, interested, responsible and
experienced

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
bring enough warm and wind proof clothes, have a good/warm sleeping bag, and
make sure you have a matrass that isolates well. ( I brought a warm water
bottle, it was very helpful)
bring enough snacks.
a good pair of glasses can be helpful.
a head light is perfect to bring.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
drink during the bike trip lot’s of water, even at night!
the trip is unforgettable!

Read full review

Manali to Leh

Summary:
A great adventure it was hard in many ways but well worth the effort

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The scenary and environment were the stars all the way through

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The leaders were very good a pair of professional mountain men

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
If you think your fit get fitter

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
My only criticism is that the party was not adequately equipped for some of
the river crossings A rope and gear to provide a hand rail should be part of
the standard equipment

Read full review

Amazing ride through breathtaking landscapes

Summary:
A memorable ride with undoubtedly tough sections that will test your fitness
and determination to the limit. The spectacular landscapes and sheer
challenge of getting to the top of those passes kept me going.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Getting to the top of Baralacha-La in freezing conditions, getting to the top
of Lachulung-La and the final climb to the top of Khardung-La.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Brilliant. Both Valerie and Rigzen were fit, highly knowledgable and very
thoughtful right through the trip.

Baking a cake for the four of us who were on our special birthdays this year
was a very nice gesture

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
You don’t have to be an avid cyclist to do this trip but you do need to be
fit. You never know how the high altitudes will affect you but the fitter you
are, the more likely your body is to cope. So, do train as hard as you can
and climb as many hills as you can before you go.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
You will be without electricity for most of the trip. So, make sure you have
sufficient battery packs/solar chargers/replacement batteries for your
cameras, GPC devices and other gadgets. It is a trip of a lifetime, so you
don’t want to miss capturing those special moments for posterity.

Read full review

MANALI TO LEH RIDE

Summary:
Some real challenging cycling in an unbelievably beautiful part of the world,
that can best be experienced on a bike. The scenery changes daily, and it
would be difficult to find a more amazing landscape to cycle through anywhere
else in the world. You get a real sense of achievement making it over the top
of the passes, and seeing other group members win their own battles. You
really need to do this!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The butterfly and the pigeon!The beauty of the canyon coming down from
Lachalung LaThe road workers and their families living and working above
4000m during the few months in the year where the roads were open.The great
efforts made by group members whose health was not so good at times.The
loneliness in places.Everybody in the group getting to the top of all the
passes. WELL DONE.The tremendous road signs along much of the trip, with
interesting sayings e.g. "Never drive faster than your guardian angel
can fly", "Be gentle on my curves", "After whisky,
driving risky".Being given a Mexican wave welcome by a number of
tourists when my wife and I reached the top of the Khardung La.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Jangbu was an amazing guy, having summited Everest twice, and was a very
capable cyclist. Him and his team (three cooks, one mechanic and two
drivers), did a great job looking after us.He did a good job of going over
the next days itinerary.He was very hands on when it came to dismantling
tents or maintaining the bikesFull of energy and a happy character to have
around. He could have been better at sharing some of the information through
the whole group.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
GeneralThe sun can be very hot. Be careful not to leave any exposed flesh
without sun cream.Be careful about the weight allowance for flying back down
from Leh.  It is quite restrictive.Camping Practice the squatting position
before you go on holiday (maybe its a guy thing?)Bring a decent carry mat,
the thicker the better (one of our group had two).Bring a head
torch.Washing Maybe take a small washing line as you will have an
opportunity to wash some gear during the camping part.  PhotographyBuy
an extra battery for your camera and charge it before you go.Dont try and
take rechargeable batteries out of the country in your hand luggage. They
will be confiscated :(Take a helmet cam. Try it out before you go. Well worth
it!Health Quite a few of the group had stomach problems for one or more
days. Make sure you take antibiotics with you just in case (Cipro was used by
many).Diamox was also used by a number of the group for the duration of the
trip as a precaution.A camel pack is very useful, and encourages you to drink
the quantities of liquid that you need at altitude (especially if you are
taking Diamox)GeneralThe sun can be very hot. Be careful not to leave any
exposed flesh without sun cream.Be careful about the weight allowance for
flying back down from Leh.  It is quite restrictive.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Cycling It is hard work. Make sure you get plenty of miles in the legs
before you go take this trip on, and quite a bit of uphill would be very
useful. Remember, what goes up must come down, so there are some fantastic
downhill sections to enjoy (if the wind is not blowing in your face)However,
the challenges are really the altitude (lack of oxygen) combined with stomach
problems that a number of people suffered from.They do look after the bikes
very well during the trip, with daily maintenance carried out, and the Trek
bikes we had were good quality.None of the cycle is really steep. Most of the
climbs are long and gradual, with lots of switchbacks, so not as tough as it
could be.There were some fantastic road surfaces, with beautiful smooth tar
in many places. There were also some road surfaces which required special
attention, and really justified the mountain bike (tyres)Many dogs around
many of the places we visited, but none of them were bothered at all about
cyclists.  A couple even jogged along next to the bike for a few kms.It is
not a race. Take your time on some of the stages. Take some pictures. You may
not be back to such an amazing place again. Remember to look behind you!The
24 mile climb up from Leh to the top of Khardung La is not for the faint
hearted! There was solid snow and ice across the road at the top!We were a
day ahead of the snow over the last pass before Leh. The next morning looking
back it was covered! So you could be unlucky.Do the first day extension down
to the monastery south of Manali (it was the longer of the two options but a
great start to the trip).It may rain, and if it does at the top of a pass,
you could get VERY cold cycling down.Be prepared to be held up by flocks of
goats and sheep on the road :)All paces were catered for, although for the
group of nine, there was only one staff member cycling.The support bus did a
good job of hanging on at the back, and you could leave some gear on it when
required.CampingMost of the camping locations were in beautiful settings.The
tents had seen better days, and a night of rain resulted in some with pools
of water inside.Be prepared for some not so flat tent locations, both
gradient and lumps!  FoodIf you like Indian food, you will love big parts
of this trip.Try and buy a nan bread straight off the oven wall from the
street in Leh where all the bakers and cheese shops are.During the camping I
was pleased with the quality of the food, although that was not shared by all
the group. There was plenty of it.I ate a huge amount and still lost 5kgs on
the trip.  High altitude can do strange things to you!!!A number of people
brought snacks from home. Washing There is the opportunity in a couple of
places to have a wash in a river.Bowls of water provided early morning to
wash away the cobwebs. Culture Probably worth while finding out a bit about
Buddhism before going out, as you will visit a few monasteries. TravelThe
train trip to Chandigarh was way better than expected. Air con, seats and
meals supplied!Be prepared for a hair raising truck ride to Manali. Narrow
roads, tight bends, many lorries and a few accidents along the way.The
minibus (main mode of transport before the cycling started) was a bit
cramped. New Delhi Go to the old part of the town for a better flavour of
the local life.Travel in a Tuk Tuk. It is great fun. GeneralDespite being
told otherwise before the trip, it was possible to recharge battery via
cigarette lighter in support bus.Be respectful of those who may not want
their picture taken.Not so much wildlife, but there is some there if you look
for it!It was all plastic bottled water that we drank whilst cycling.  That
is what they gave us, despite what the trip notes said about responsible
tourism.The bit I really didn’t get was after spending 11 days above 3000m,
going up the steps of the hotel in Leh we still got out of breath! FINAL
NOTE: Having done the High Passes of Everest trekking last November, we found
this cycling tougher.If you have not quite decided
see http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahndi/sets/72157635544522431/  [1]

[1] http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahndi/sets/72157635544522431/ 

Read full review

MANALI TO LEH RIDE

Summary:
A trip of a lifetime. Agonisingly hard at times on the way up. Joyful and
endless descents. A challenging but totally amazing trip. The scenery on the
clear days was stunning.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Reaching the top of the Taglang La. This was so special individually but also
as a group. It meant I would complete the whole ride from Manali to Leh as
did the whole group. Going up the Khardung La 2 days later was an additional
bonus.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our leader Jangbu was great. Quietly in the background he supported us at all
times. Good daily briefings -“a little up” was a common phrase. He helped
around camp with bike maintainance, tent construction, food delivery and wake
up calls. He was extremely fit. He managed the group well as we had a wide
range of abilities from the exceptionally fast to the exceptionally slow. He
was to be found at the top of all the passes smiling and congratulating us
even in driving freezing rain.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
This trip is totally achievable with a bit of training. Take it slow, enjoy
the views and and just concentrate on getting the oxygen in. We took our own
bikes which was great. The hire bikes were in good condition but somehow
having my own bike gave me that extra bit of confidence. Pack to expect hot
and cold. Winter leggings and summer shorts were often needed on the same
day. Take winter and summer gloves as the descents could be very cold. we had
snow, rain and blazing hot days. A selection of your own snacks may be a good
idea but there were lots of places selling very cheap chocolate. We bought a
very sugary concentrate in Manali to add to our water. An essential energy
source on those long long climbs.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I would recommend this trip to anyone with a good degree of fitness and a
sense of adventure. It’s not for the faint hearted. Ensure you have some
medication to deal with dodgy tummies and consider taking diamox with the
altitude.

Read full review

MANALI TO LEH RIDE

Summary:
This is the ultimate cycling challenge with progressively higher passes,
stunning Indian Himalyan panoramas  fast-paced, white knuckle downhills and
diverse culture. Mountain bikes have the edge over any other form of
transport for this route and, although the weather is famously unpredictable,
we were blessed with blue skies and warming rays above 5000m entire ride.
Expertly led and the group more resembled a team by the end with great
moments of comraderie ontop of the passes.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Deep into the wilderness on our 7th day of riding, the sense of isolation had
really sunk in. The terrain had turned almost lunar and we hadn’t come
across a soul all day. We carved our way through gorges and snaked
down exhilerating trails, whilst mutli-coloured rock towered over. Verging
on technical riding, plumes of dust chased each rider as they discovered new
untouched lines and the bikes stood strong. After a short 5km ascent, we
break out into the Mori Plains at 4700m onto the waterless high altitude
desert of the Tibetan Plateau. At this height to be faced with hundreds of
miles of desert, cast against the azureous blue sky, the spectacle
was absolutely disarming.Reaching Khardung La, acclaimed to be the highest
motorable pass in the world at 5602m, was the cherry on the cake. Thoroughout
the climb, the panoramic views of the Stok Range whisked away the breathe
more than the altitude itself. Purely an optional day, those who chose to
ride tackled it with gusto and the team spirit made this day all the more
enjoyable. We were greeted almost as celebrities at the top by the public
who driven up and the sense of satisfaction was riper than ever. Only one
thing left to do… plummet 34km back down on the rollercoster roadback to
Leh for a well-earned beer.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Essentially we had two leaders on this trip, Jambu and Shelish and they both
brought a huge amount of experience and good-nature to the table. Jambu, a
professional mountain biker and victor of Everest, led the group with passion
and good-humour. Shelish, also an experienced trekker and rider took up the
rear and never stopped laughing and telling tales. They worked very closely
toegther and kept us well-informed each evening of the next days ride and
what to expect. Their experience was felt throughout the group and any
concerns regarding altitude were quelled from the outset. I’d love to trek
with them both one day.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Consider the three main factors of this trip; altitude, fitness and the
elements.Throughout this tour, you spend prolonged periods at altitudes
between 4000-5000m. The itinerary however is designed around a ride high,
sleep low concept which plays a big part in combatting the effects of
altitude. Rehydration is the key along with finding the pace that suits you.
The leaders are fully trained and experienced in noticing early signs of
altitude sickness and take it very seriously. We all suffered from erratic
sleeping patterns, dizziness and headaches at some stage but that comes with
the territory.You should be confident in your fitness. Training on prolonged
uphill stretches is very worthwhile and having confidence on the bike over
rough terrain will help considerably. The riding days feel longer and the
ascents can be tough in the heat, but stops are made regularly to refuel the
body and rest. The support vehicle that follows behind the group can be
flagged down and used at any point.We were very lucky but unpredictable
weather conditions should be expected. Pack wisely with waterproofs, cycling
gloves, buffwear and suncream. The early starts in the mornings can be very
cold for the first hour and my cycling tights (as non-flattering as they may
be) were a godsend.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
This is a tour abundant in superlatives and high on adrenaline. It came as
close to cycling on Mars, opened my eyes to so many fascinating cultures
and challenged me to the max. I can’t recommend it enough!

Read full review


Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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