This Unventured’s cycling tour in the Northern Himalayas is one of the most sought after cycling tour experiences in India. The tour starts in Manali in Himachal Pradesh and journeys through the lower Himalayan rage to reach Leh the capital city of the Ladakh. On this extreme expedition journey we cycle the 470 km over 9 days braving 5 high altitude passes, harsh weather conditions. Beautiful natural diversity, transitioning from a Hindu dominated cultural region to a Bhuddhist dominant region. And this transition in culture is also an important essence of this journey. On this ride to Leh we average 40 to 50 kms a day along a combination of dirt and metaled roads at altitudes that average over 4000 metres
The Manali to Leh cycling expedition is a fairly demanding trip. Our team of experienced tour leaders have a well-planned itenary for you to leave your worries aside, focus on your ride and enjoy the natural wealth of the Himalayas. We also publish a well-planned practice regime and work closely with our participants to ensure they endure the tour but also have the time, energy and mind for a lot of fun, real world experiences with the locals and with nature. We want to ensure your adventure is not just enduring but also enjoyable. Anybody with reasonable fitness and commitment to practice and prepare well should have no problem enjoying it to the full. Our riders from the 5 years of organizing this expedition and out tour leaders are testament to this Unventured experience.
What to expect?
- Expect to see nature’s creation that is called the “Abode of Snow” or Himalayas at its best and at a pace that is not too fast or not too slow.
- Walls of snow as we cross some of the passes
- Mesmerizing landscapes that will change with each day. Alpine forests, grass plains, highland deserts and more
- Campsites in beautiful locations overlooking the scenic mountains
- Cold nights and sometimes windy conditions
- The weather to changes and transform in a matter of hours. From Bright blue skies to cloudy overcast and cold conditions
- Wildlife, chance encounters with mountain sheep, eagles and vultures soaring around you or wild asses running across the open desert plains
- Real world interactions with Himachali shepherds and the Changspa tribal on the road to Leh
- Slushy, wet and broken road conditions.
- Great nutritious food cooked on campsite
- Awesome team always helping you out with anything you need with a smile
Riders will be backed-up with one of our very well experienced tour leaders, a crew that will support you logistics at camp, a back-up vehicle and first aid equipment to support you in this quest. Riders can choose to mount the back-up vehicle for the grueling climbs but nobody will want to take aid of back-up vehicles for down hills and miss out on the unforgettable experience of descending 10,800 meters (35,500 feet) through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. For the serious mountain cyclist there are few challenges to equal this high altitude cycle ride across the backbone of the West Himalaya.
Cycling on the main Manali to Leh road is fairly straight forward, following compacted dirt track or tarmac. Exploring the various side valleys involves cycling on rougher dirt tracks with some tough climbs and exciting descents. Daily distances cycled will range from 40 to 80 kilometers/ 25 to 50 miles. This may not sound particularly great, especially to road orientated cyclists, but difficult terrain and tough ascents will make any cycling in this region a challenge for everyone.
This Unventured trail is HIGH Intensity
This is primarily due to the altitude as we commence the cycle from 1900 meters. Some stages are quite demanding and the condition of the road can be poor in places. The pass crossings – the Khardung La (5602 meters) and the Baralacha La (4890 meters) will test your resolve – particularly when there are head winds. The route traverse four high passes with an accumulated altitude gain exceeding 29 000 feet-the equivalent of cycling to the summit of Mt. Everest from sea level. The road is one-lane tarmac and ideal for biking.
For more information on the next Manali to Leh tour dates visit our Ladakh Cycling Tours section