MTB Shimla to Manali, Indian Himalayas
Leaving Shimla, you'll head through the ancient and intriguing Spiti Valley, ending in Manali 15 days later. Covering 30-120km per day with a minimum of 2000m climbing per day (and up to 4000m!) this tour is great challenge for the legs and lungs.
You'll travel through a range of terrains from the beautiful meadows of Manali, to the rugged lunar landscape of Shimla. With stops to visit ancient cultural sites like the ancient Kye Monastery that seems to cling to the mountain-side; and chances to experience the wonderful hospitality of the local people, this is a tour not to be missed. Suitable for MTB or cyclocross.
Day 1: Shimla to Narkanda
75kms and an elevation of 2100m.
Day 2: Narkanda to Sarahan
90km and an elevation of 2600m.
Day 3: Sarahan to Sangla
80km and an elevation of 2200m.
Day 4: A day at Sangla
You’ll give the legs a bit of recovery time today while you explore the Sangla valley ad Chitkul Village.
Day 5: Sangla to Kalpa
51km and an elevation of 2500m.
Day 6: A day at Kalpa
A day spent in the local Kalpa area exploring.
Day 7: Kalpa to Nako
122kms and an elevation of 3300m.
Day 8: Nako to Tabo
69km and an elevation of 3400m.
Day 9: Tabo to Kaza
48km and an elevation of 3450m.
Day 10: Kaza to Ki Monastery and Kibber Village
Only 37km but a whopping 4100m climbing. Back to Kaza for the night.
Day 11: Kaza to Hikim and Comic Villages
A day of rest and recovery with some exploration of local villages.
Day 12: Kaza to Losar
58km and an elevation of 3900m
Day 13: Losar Chandertal Lake via Kunzam La
34km and an elevation of 4250m.
Day 14: Chandertal to Chatru
50km and an elevation of 3600m.
Day 15: Chatru to Manali
A nice run home - 81km and only 2000m climbing.
About the area
For many, the Himalaya are synonymous with Nepal, but vast tracts of this magnificent range form the northern borders of India. From Ladakh in the northwest through to Darjeeling and Sikkim in the east, these beautiful mountains offer a diversity of scenery and culture unmatched anywhere.
The Himalayas stretch across six nations: Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are the source of three of the world's major river systems, the Indus basin, the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin and the Yangtze basin. The Himalaya mountain system is the planet's highest and home to the world's highest peaks with over 100 separate mountains exceeding 7200m.
The Spiti Valley
The Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalaya mountains in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. The name "Spiti" means "The Middle Land", i.e. the land between Tibet and India. The Spiti Valley is surrounded by mountain ranges in all directions, making for some spectacular riding scenery.
Spiti valley is a research and cultural centre for Buddhists. Highlights include Ki Monastery and Tabo Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in the world and a favourite of the Dalai Lama. You’ll get the chance to stop and visit these along the way, giving you a fabulous feeling for the culture of the area.
When camping you will stay in 2 man Alpine tents (sleeping bags and mattresses included). The camp will be set up with toilet, bathroom and dining tents, as well as chairs, tables and a generator for electricity. Camp staff will erect and dismantle the tents each day, cook all meals and wash up for you - all you need to do is relax. You'll be greeted each morning with freshly brewed Chai or coffee and each evening when you get to camp, snacks and a range of hot drinks. Consider it "glamping"!
Guesthouses and Hotels
Accommodation can at times be a little basic in this region; however all hotel rooms are en suite and water and electricity supplies are fairly reliable.
Single rooms and tents can be requested for an additional cost (subject to availability); please enquire at the time of booking.
We quote every tour individually based on your needs and wants. The price will be confirmed once itinerary is finalised. The cost of our this tour will include and exclude the following:
The price of the tour includes:
- All airport and land transfers returning from Delhi
- All meals as listed in the itinerary (B,L,D)
- Accommodation including hotels, guest horses and tent, mattress, sleeping bag, dining tents, bathroom tents and toilet tents when camping
- Experienced local English-speaking guide
- Support crew and vehicles
- First Aid support with oxygen in case of emergency
The price of the tour excludes:
- Airport departure tax (~USD$17)
- International airfares
- Travel Insurance
- Additional meals as noted in the itinerary
- Any additional purchases such as entry to monuments, if required
- Local bike hire (Trek mountain or Focus cyclocross bikes available) if required
Eating and Drinking On Tour
A cook and two kitchen hands will travel will be with you every step of the way and the food that they can produce from a little tent with little equipment is unbelievable. Meals will be included as stated in the itinerary (B,L,D) - this is all meals except those in Delhi, Manali and Leh. Meals provided on the tour will be a range of Indian, Italian, Tibetan and Chinese with local produce used to showcase local delicacies.
You'll be woken in the morning to a fresh brew of coffee or tea and fed a full breakfast before commencing the day. Snacks and lunch are packed for you in the support Jeep with regular refueling stops en route. After a long day on the road you'll be fed hot soup, pakora, fruit, tea and coffee as soon as you reach camp and an amazing spread of dishes for dinner each night in the dining tent.
Meals outside the itinerary will be your choice with numerous Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Western restaurants as well as supermarkets available in most cities should you wish to make your own. Choice of food can be limited in smaller villages. We recommend choosing vegetarian dishes - these are often the best option anyway! Eating in India is very cheap and you should expect to pay only ~$5-10 AUD per meal in an average restaurant. Please set aside $120-200AUD for meals.
Fitness and safety
A rewarding challenge with fantastic support
Due to the altitude and number of long climbs, this is a challenging tour and requires a good level of fitness. We can provide you with a training program written by Fitness Adventures' founder and Exercise Physiologist, Andy Pedashenko, to help improve your fitness prior to the tour - all you need to do is ask.
This is fully guided tour with vehicle support at every stage of the tour. Under no circumstances will a rider be left alone to make their way to the next camp. All guides are trained in first aide and there will be a complete first aide kit including oxygen in case of emergency. There will also be mechanical help available at all times and a spare bike if required along the route.
Cycling at Altitude
This trip goes to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Although rare, a number of medical conditions can also reduce your body's ability to acclimatise, and thus will affect your performance at altitude and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre- existing condition (e.g. heart problems), or unsure of your physical ability, we recommend that you seek medical advice prior to booking.
What to bring?
The cost of this tour includes the hire of a Trek mountain bike and helmet. Please bring your own shoes, gloves and cycling kit. If you wish to bring your own bike, please let us know.
90% of the route is sealed roads suitable for road bikes with thicker tyres (ideal for cyclocross bikes). The other 10% may be a little trickier due to ongoing road work.
If you decide to bring your own bike, you'll need to bring a few spare parts and shoes, helmet, gloves and cycling clothing. We'll provide you with a detailed packing list.
Not ready to leave just yet?
Combine this tour with an amazing Himalayan trek, a stay at a beautiful hotel for some R & R or a trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.