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Thread: Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

  1. #1
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    Default Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

    A journey to Himalayas is a feeling which cannot be expressed in words. When landscape changes for every turn, where one is presented with many first time things in life,where many extremes can be seen, there are a lot of things to express for which a post is merely insufficient. Here I would like to stick my self to travelling details and few technical aspects.I will add a link to my blog later where I would write about my feeling about nature and landscapes there.

    I will present my everyday experiences in upcoming posts one by one.

    Bike : This trip is done mostly out of enthusiasm , to see the celestial lands,to know the challenges in riding, to experience the climate there and mostly to touch the natural ice. I have initially planned to venture out with a single speed bicycle. I have soon learnt about some technical aspects in cycling and fter talking with many ,I got myself a SCHWINN Frontier Sport.It is an entry level MTB. I can say , it handled the terrain very well. I got flat tyres only twice and that too because of uncontrolled riding on downhill path full of stones. Apart from that I haven't faced any issue with regards to the bicycle. Any bike with similar specs or higher can do.

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    Here is a short glance of what happened and what I feel is necessary for the trip to be comfortable.

    Before going further I would like to mention that all the weather I faced are in early days of July and may be best valid till the end of month.Please ensure you learn about the weather conditions during the time of your travel.

    Before the tour :
    1. I have ensured that my bicycle is in good condition.
    2. I have learnt basic repairs and fixes.
    3. I have practised 50 kms everyday for a month (with a rest day in week) ,did a 100 km ride and completed a 200km brevet. (Did little uphill practice).
    4. I have carried only 9/10 kgs of load.
    5. I made sure I learn about the weather conditions of the place. (This step is compulsory)

    I have taken these references below to plan my trip and I'm additional points from my experience.
    1. http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/bicycles...cessfully.html
    2.http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...le-2014-a.html
    3. Nobal.in - Cycling in Himalayas: Doing the Shimla - Spiti -...

    From My Experience :


    Please make sure of your riding priorities before travelling and plan itenary accordingly. I mean if you want to do a bicycle touring or endurance riding. I have mixed both and in order to complete the circuit in time I have taken many unwanted risks and ran into troubles and missed many beautiful places. If you are a working professional and want to do touring in fixed days ,plan less places and more riding safely. I would say,if you want to finish circuit make sure you need to have at least have fifteen riding days in hand, apart from getting in and out. You can finish early than planned if you don't come across any troubles,but always remember Himalayas will have lot of surprises in the box for you. If you have less days in hand plan only few places and get more from the mighty mountains.




    I have carried many custom made and DIY's for replacing panniers,frame and saddle bags. I didn't test them properly and had problems for 30mts to an hour evryday while riding.I would advice to make sure that you test your experimental stuff in all extremes before taking them to tour,else save money and go for the professional stuff.




    If you are from plains like me and have no riding experience in hills ,please try to go for a short tour to any hill station before riding in himalays. The Shimla-Kaza- Manali circuit has all extremes.Steep uphills,very steep downhills ,loose gravel roads, roads paved will all sizes of boulders ,no roads ,river roads, stream crossings with freezing temperatures and many things beyond anticipation A ride to any hill station will ensure that you are familiar with atleast some of those conditions.




    Brakes are very important for riding there. Ensure you have good brakes and make sure you know how to replace/repair brakes.Carry extra set of front and rear brakes. I have used V brakes and I have no idea about hydraulic disc brakes. I'm stressing brakes are really important. The downhills are very steep in most of the places and surely can cause adrenaline rush.




    If you are travelling by domestic airlines within India,make sure you properly box pack your bicycle by dismantling. I traveled by Indigo.I read in internet that they will allow bicycle without dismantling and have taken to airport with a simple bubble wrap around important parts. None of the staff of is aware of this in Chennai air port and all I got is a poker face from them. They made me take away pedals,front wheel in airport and somehow helped me to get through. I was told by call centre that bicycle weight will not be considered,but in airport they did consider the weight and made me pay additional fee for weight. While returning I used GATI to send my bicycle back to Chennai.




    I am afraid of dogs and Himalayas are no short of them. I faced few dog chases during the tour. They have taken many beautiful moments away from me and decreased my momentum many times during the tour. If you too are afraid of dogs, there are many articles in internet about dog chases in bicycle touring. Go through them to protect yourself before you start pedalling.

    Things I carried :
    I. Bicycle Related :
    1. Rear rack
    2. Water bottle - 1+1( a cycling one and normal 1L mineral water bottle)
    3. Extra brakes
    4.Patch kit
    5. Mini hand pump
    6. Multi toool
    7. Cycle wrench
    8. Extra derauiller ,brake cable.
    9. Extra tube.
    10. Rags
    11. Saddle bag

    Clothing :
    1. Bicycle vest-1
    2. Shorts-1
    3. T-Shirts-3
    4. Track pant-1
    5. Boxers-2
    6. Underwear-1
    7. Towel-1
    8. Thermal pair-1
    9. Sweater-1
    10. Rain coat/Pant-1
    11. Windcheater-1
    12. Reflective vest-1
    13. Bandana-2
    14. Wrist bands-3
    15. Gloves-2 sets( one set of half gloves and other set of full warm gloves)
    (I used to get groin numbness whenever I ride with underwear and riding with boxers below shorts solved my problem)

    Medicines :

    1. Avomine
    2. Medicine for leg pain
    3. Vicks action 500
    4. Savlon
    5. Band aid
    6. Nebasulf

    Others :
    1. Sun screen lotion ( Very important)
    2. Cold cream
    3. Lip balm

    Food :
    Apart from Gatorade, I brought food/fruits/chocolates/Dry fruits in the towns I stopped.

    The route I have taken :
    Shimla-Kufri-Narkanda-Baghi-Bahli-Taklech-Darangathi-Mashnu-Rampur-Jeori-Tapri-Karacham-Sangla-Chitkul-Sangla-Powari-Recong Peo-Pooh-Nako-Tabo-Kaza-Losar-Batal-Rohtang pass.

    Day-1 : Shimla- Kufri
    (Got exhausted after the uphill and stopped at Khufri)
    Distance : 19Km - Steep Ascent.

    Day-2 : Kufri-Narkanda-Baghi-Sungri-Bahli
    Distance : 104km
    Descent and undulating till Narkanda.
    10 Km climb to Baghi and descent till Sungri and 10 km beyond.
    Last 8km climb to Bahli.

    Day-3 : Bahli-Taklech-Darangathi-Mashnu-Rampur

    (Took vechile between Taklech to Darangathi 24 kms due to rain and from Mashnu to Rampur 30 kms due to flat tyre)

    Distance : 100 km
    Distance covered by bicyle :46km

    Steep downhill for 22 kms till Taklech
    Steep Ascent from Taklech to Darangathi for 36 km
    Darangathi to Mashnu 12 Km steep descent
    Descent to Rampur 30 Kms

    Day-4 : Rampur- Bhavanagar

    Distance : 48 Km
    Mostly undulating and descent

    Day-5 : Bhavanagar- Sangla
    Distance : 62Km
    Distance covered by bicyle : 30Km
    (Took lift after Tapri to cross the landslide and few kms in landslide prone area on the way to Sangla)
    Bhananagar- Tapri : 20 Km undulating
    Tapri-Urni-karacham : There was a landslide between Tapri and karcham so there is an additional 24 Km with 12 km uphill instead of 9km direct distance. I have taken vehicle between this stretch.
    Karacham- Sangla : 18 km gradual ascent. (I have taken ride for 8 km in landslide prone area before Jaypee dam )

    Day-6 : Sangla-Chitkul-Sangla-Powari- Recong peo
    Total Distance : 86Km
    Distance covered by bicyle : 71 Km
    Sangla- Chitkul -Sangla: 22 km + 22 km gradual ascent to Chitkul.
    Sangla- Karacham : 18 Km Descent.
    Karacham- Powari : 11km ,mostly undualting.
    Powari- recong Peo : 13Km with 6km uphill

    (After Powari Took lift till recong peo due to fear of Dogs , saw nearly 30-40 dogs on the way )
    I would suggest to avoid Jeori-Recong peo completely as Hydro electric project work,road work is going on .There may be blasts and roads are very worse.

    Day-7: Recong peo- Pooh

    Disctance : 69 Km.

    Mostly undulating tarmac road,with little gradual increase in height as one progresses and last 6 km is uphill ride to Pooh village.

    Best Roads in the whole trip.

    Day-8: Pooh-Nako
    Distace 40 Km
    Distance covered by bicyle : 36 Km
    Gradual Ascent till Nako through Ka zigs and another set of switchbacks.

    Day-9: Nako-Tabo
    Distance : 62 Kms

    Climb to Malling ascent : 5 Kms
    Steep Descent to Chango : 17 kms.
    Chango to Sumdo Undulating, 13 kms
    Sumdo to Tabo is Undulating, 27 kms ( last 5kms is a gradual climb through Lari village)

    Riding would be in desert conditions and will be very hot.One enters Spiti from Sumdo

    Day-10:Tabo-Kaza
    Distance : 47 Kms

    Undulating stretch with gradual climbs in between.Desert riding conditions.

    Day-11: Kaza-Losar

    Distance : 52 Kms

    Undulating stretch with climb trough switch back after Kyoto bridge and gradual climb till Losar village

    Day-12: Losar-Batal
    Distance : 33 Kms.
    Ascent till Kunzum La and 11km descent till Batal ( Worst riding conditions and heavy winds)- Missed Chandrataal

    Day-13: Batal-Rohtang pass
    Distance : 64 km
    Batal to Chatru : 32 Kms undulating and descent through Chota Dhara
    Chatru to Rhotang pass : 32 Kms.
    Undulating, Descents,ascents till Gramphoo and gradual ascent till Rhotang pass.

    I got into a bus for returning to Delhi the same day.

    Total distance covered by bicycle : 681 km
    Expenses incurred (Chennai-Chennai, Excluding Air travel): 15,000/- (Including transport,food, lodging and other misc expenses)

    I have mentioned many things to the best of my memory.I will update post ,if I remember any additional points.

    Below link has complete travelogue
    http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...ml#post1166710

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    I will add more pictures in the coming posts. Till then please check out the below link for few best pics from my trip.
    https://goo.gl/photos/jXvFkRDa6tEesTTK8
    Last edited by sayi89; 07-27-2015 at 01:45 PM.
    Sayi mera naam, Cycle chalana mera kaam.

    Nightfury -
    Schwinn Frontier Sport
    Fawkes -
    Cannondale CAAD 8 -2013- Tiagra

    My first bicycle tour to Spiti Valley

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    Default Re: Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

    Congratulations on your successful ride to Spiti. Your post needs some editing though

    And post more pictures
    Biking is not about what you have between your legs, its all about how well you use it!!!!!!!

    Give your details here if you want to help your fellow xBhpian stranded in your city

    Touring Blog: Cycling in Mongolia!

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    Default Re: Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

    Congrats. Please add if any picture is still left.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

    Quote Originally Posted by The Monk View Post
    Congratulations on your successful ride to Spiti. Your post needs some editing though

    And post more pictures
    Thank you Monk.

    Quote Originally Posted by krishna77 View Post
    Congrats. Please add if any picture is still left.
    Thanks Krishna

    A lot of pictures are there. I will add more pictures in coming posts.
    Sayi mera naam, Cycle chalana mera kaam.

    Nightfury -
    Schwinn Frontier Sport
    Fawkes -
    Cannondale CAAD 8 -2013- Tiagra

    My first bicycle tour to Spiti Valley

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    Icon14 Re: Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

    Congrats for completing it on a cycle.

    Now waiting for the pictures.
    KTM RC390 - Current
    Yamaha R15 v2 - Sold
    Hero Hunk - Sold
    An IT Engineer by profession and a rider by soul.


    Delhi to Sach Pass - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...h-ka-darr.html
    Delhi to Mana - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...xperience.html
    Delhi to Munsyari - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...ttrakhand.html
    Spiti circuit - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...cuit-solo.html

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    Default Re: Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

    Quote Originally Posted by itsmevini123 View Post
    Congrats for completing it on a cycle.

    Now waiting for the pictures.
    Thank you @itsmevini123


    I have never realized people will be so interested in pics. I'm taking my time to filter,remove duplicates and edit pics.
    But after looking at the enthusiasm ,I have decided to post few pics today

    Please have a look at few pics till Day-6 of my trip

    The trip begins... climb to kufri
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    Good night, end of Day-1
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    Day-2 begins, on the way to Narkanda
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    cruved roads <3
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    Though,I feared to enter into jungle,I have taken the right....The road not taken
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    Climb to Baghi
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    Forest, curved road, uphill....( happy and scared at same time)
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    Beautiful pine forests
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    On the way to sungri,I have overtaken a Mahindra 4 X 4 on the way
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    Day-3 and the Rider is revealed !
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    The most pleasant uphill drive of the whole trip...
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    First view of a snow capped peak in my life @Darangathi
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    Day-4 begins, on the way to Jeori
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    Entering the celestial land
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    On the way to Bhawa nagar
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    This bridge vibrated for two minutes, after a lorry passed over it.
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    Loved this road a lot...tarmac downhill and curved <3
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    And we both slept together....(Had to carry the bike 3 floors down )
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    Day-5,First unloaded pic of the bike...@ Bhavanagar..
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    On the way to Wangtoo
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    On the way to Wangtoo
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    Wangtoo bridge
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    Mud bath , on the way to Tapri
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    Me in Kinnauri topi,before climbing Sangla
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    Entering Sangla <3
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    The Kinnaur Kailash teased me through out by hiding in the clouds
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    The reflection of sun rays,on next day's target...
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    And an other day ends...off to bed
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    Day-6 begins, on the way to Rakacham
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    Baspa and the beautiful valley
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    Standing proudly
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    At ITBP check post
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    Beautiful and well divided fields in the valley
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    Curved road, leafless tree, fully green pine tree (a waterfall was flowing behind me too !)..Couldn't move from the sight for a long time

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    Me@Chitkul, (Didn't wear helmet that day)
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    The first stream crossing ,technically

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    At the nations end !
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    Riding along with Baspa, getting down from Sangla
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    Nearly shocked to see a single speed and that too doubles !!!!
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    Last edited by sayi89; 07-17-2015 at 02:15 AM.
    itsmevini123 and driftjockey like this.
    Sayi mera naam, Cycle chalana mera kaam.

    Nightfury -
    Schwinn Frontier Sport
    Fawkes -
    Cannondale CAAD 8 -2013- Tiagra

    My first bicycle tour to Spiti Valley

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

    Wow, I've also been to Sangla/Kalpa this March and kudos to you riding a cycle on those extreme uphill/pothole/slug. We could not go to Chitkul due to a recent landslide.
    Refreshing the memories of my ride from your cam is so tempting in the office.

    Please continue
    KTM RC390 - Current
    Yamaha R15 v2 - Sold
    Hero Hunk - Sold
    An IT Engineer by profession and a rider by soul.


    Delhi to Sach Pass - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...h-ka-darr.html
    Delhi to Mana - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...xperience.html
    Delhi to Munsyari - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...ttrakhand.html
    Spiti circuit - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...cuit-solo.html

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    Default Re: Cycling in the Celestial lands ( Shimla- Kinnaur- Spiti - Lahaul )

    For complete travelogue, checkout below link

    http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...ml#post1166710
    Sayi mera naam, Cycle chalana mera kaam.

    Nightfury -
    Schwinn Frontier Sport
    Fawkes -
    Cannondale CAAD 8 -2013- Tiagra

    My first bicycle tour to Spiti Valley

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