Biking in Nepal
If it’s one thing Nepal has lots of, its mountains! Mountain biking as an outdoor sport did not take that long to find a home here. Enthusiasts will find any number of trails here to run, of almost any level of difficulty or ease. Since around 2003, the sport of mounting biking has gone mainstream in Nepal’s tourism market and it’s a sport popular now even with locals, and you will come across helmet and lyacra clad weekend warriors pumping up hills and flying down trails in the hills surrounding Kathmandu.
The city is ideal for short trips as it is surrounded by hills and offers a range of bike rides from half a day to a few days circling the valley on high trails in woods. Nowadays however, a growing number of cycling companies also offer rides that take you on what was once classic walking trails like the Annapurna Circuit – rides lasting for a week or longer on classic Himalayan trails and through classic Himalayan scenery. Nepal is fast becoming a mountain biking mecca, and the infrastructure and guiding for its support has kept good pace with it. If you are thinking of a mountain biking holiday, Nepal is probably one of the most spectacular destinations for this type of adventure.
1. Can I bring my own bicycle?
Yes, you can. Most airlines allow the passage of bicycles as luggage if packed according to their standards. Customs in Nepal allow you to bring in bikes if you explain to them that it’s to be used by you.
2. What sort of rental options will I have?
Rentals vary from around 300 to around 900 Nepali Rupees a day and price depends on quality of bike and its maintenance standards. Most international brands are represented, and reputed rental companies take good care of their bikes. Both hard tail and soft tail bikes are available.
3. Can I buy biking gear and spares in Nepal?
Some companies specializing in mountain biking in Nepal have been here for close to a decade and are therefore quite with it when it come sto supplying spares, support and related equipment. Many more recent start-ups also take pride in being up to date in gear, maintainence and bikes. So yes, most biking gear and spares are available here, and anything that is not found here is easily ordered from places like Bangkok and delivered almost overnight!
4. When is a good time to come?
Best times would be October November, but spring is a season with less tourists on trail so if you are biking on trails shared with walkers, try the spring season for more space on trails.
5. Where can I rent bicycles?
Kathmandu and Pokhara offer numerous rental options. For a lis to options see……….
6. What are biking trips like, how long do they last?
Most biking day trips last for about 5 hours of on trail riding time, longer tours can have longer days depending on goals set by itinerary. There are also rides organized to Tibet, which are more challenging because of the altitude involved (5000 meter + passes).
7. Are there set routes or is the biking exploratory?
There are set routes complete with printed maps available for mountain bikers. However, once you have your gear set and the logistics sorted by your local cycling tour company, the Himalayas are your oyster ( to distort a phrase). Yes, exploratory routes are alos possible, often venturing into terrain previously hallowed ground for trekkers only.
8. Do I need previous mountain biking experience?
It’s not necessary as trips range from easy to hardcore so you will find a ride to suit your capabilities. As long as you can handle a bicycle and are a competent street rider, you will have no problems enjoying a mountain biking experience. It’s usually a guided activity so your trip leader will assess your abilities and chose a ride accordingly.