Heading for the Himalayas
Its over four years since my last big bike trip through South America, another one beckons! (Despite a little 2 week bike-jaunt in Morocco and 13 000km of cycling around the midlands between then and now – this doesn’t quite count).
Since I first cycled across them, I always knew I wanted to return to the Himalayas. Mountains of this scale have a magnetic effect on me and what could be more alluring (or off-putting for most 😉 than spending 2mths cycling the Highest Roads in the world?
I plan to start off cycling the classic Manali to Leh Highway (just under 500km) crossing numerous 4000 and 5000m passes arriving in the mountain kingdom of Ladakh, the threshold of Tibet, China and Central Asia. From the wind swept town of Leh, the highest road pass in the world, the Khardung-La, an extraordinary breath-stopping 5,602m, beckons! This Pass joins the dry and barren Indus Valley to the lush Nubra Valley, from which views of the Karakoram range (home of K2) can be seen. (At least it is the highest road that actually goes somewhere useful!)
Apart from this classic route there are numerous other high Himalayan valleys that I plan to explore as well , the more remote valleys of Spiti and Lahaul have only recently opened up to foreigners. This roughly 3 week loop heads east to Tibet then loops west again along the old Hindustan-Tibet Highway. There is also the option of heading west toward Kashmir following the luminous-green Zanskar river dotted with numerous astonishing monasteries. (Plenty of side valleys and rock hopping to keep me amused.)
This time I will set off in company, with Carlos and university friend Ben from New Zealand. Camping gear, a must! Leaving July 25.
I live in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal which is great cycling country, within 10 minutes I can be bouncing along some of the finest single tracks in the province.
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