Mention the Himalayas to most adventure travelers, and they will immediately think about the multitude of great mountain treks that are available there or even the unparalleled mountaineering opportunities. What most people don’t know however is that there are some fantastic opportunities to mountain bike through the region as well, and adventure travel company Ace the Himalaya offers some epic itineraries to do just that.
Starting in March of 2012, Ace the Himalaya will offer four different cycling itineraries ranging in length from 12 to 21 days. Those options include the classic Annapurna Circuit, a long distance ride from Lhasa, Tibet to the city of Kathmandu, a roll along the Kathmandu Valley Rim, and a scenic journey from Muktinath to Pokhara. Riders will have the opportunity to explore seldom used trails, while taking in the dramatic landscapes of the tallest mountains on the planet. They’ll visit remote villages and soak up the local culture, while spending the night in traditional tea houses.
Travelers who choose to join one of these adventures will definitely want to be prepared for the altitude however. On the Annapurna Circuit they’ll be riding at an average altitude of more than 17,700 feet and the Lhasa to Kathmandu itinerary averages 17,125 feet. For a bit less altitude, the Kathmandu Valley only averages around 7100 feet, while the ride to Pokhara is a modest 12,170 feet. No matter which option you go with however, the air is going to be thin, and acclimatization could take a few days.
Having trekked through Nepal in the past, I can attest to how beautiful and magical the place is. But I’m intrigued by these opportunities to mountain bike through the country as well. It seems like a really interesting, albeit physically demanding, way to explore the region.