Manali Leh cycling tour in India

“A challenging small group cycling expedition through the Himalayas, for which previous cycling experience and physical fitness is a must.”

Highlights

Delhi | Manali | Marhi | Rohtang Pass | Keylong | Jispa | Zingzingbar | Nakee-la pass | Lachalung-la pass | Gata Loops | Tso Kar lake | Moore plains | Taglang-la pass | Ladhaki homestay | Hemis Monastery | Pangong Tso lake | Shey | Leh

Description of Manali Leh cycling tour in India

This small group cycling expedition kicks off in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, crossing the Himalayas to Leh, Ladakh’s capital city. This Manali to Leh journey is a legendary ride amongst cyclists, and few dare to attempt it. Over fifteen days and covering 470km in the saddle you’ll be challenged both physically and mentally, have your senses bombarded with incredible sights, sounds and smells, and experience incredible encounters with local people that will stay with you long after you return home.

As well as testing your strength on the trails, this trip offers you the opportunity to stop and soak up the stunning landscapes that surround you, to enjoy the company of your fellow adventures, and to make meaningful connections with local people that you meet along the way. You’ll spend the night in some pretty special places, including an overnight camp on the edge of TsoKar lake, and a homestay in a quaint village.

What makes this journey particularly difficult is the varied terrain, the altitude and the unpredictable weather conditions. You’ll pedal distances of between 40km and 80km a day and pass through four high altitude Himalayan passes. The intensity of the trip increases daily, ensuring that your body acclimatises to the conditions, though there are some rest days built in too.

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Manali Leh cycling tour in India

Environment

The Manali to Leh cycle tour takes a 485 Km trail that we cover over 9 days. This is a high intensity trail and the travellers will consume anywhere around 5-7 ltrs of drinking water per day. The amount of plastic that could be disposed of over the span of 9 days is remarkable and addressing the consumption of bottled water is of prior concern to us. We wanted a long-term, sustainable and yet an environmentally healthier option that would drive the message against the usage of bottled water. Working with locals gave us an insight into streams that are un-polluted and safe for human consumption. The Manali to Leh route is very pristine and beautiful with many streams as you pass by; however most streams are formed from snowmelt and consuming snowmelt is a rather risky option. We used the knowledge from the locals who have travelled through this route over and over again to find us safe stream waters that for most part are snowmelt but are safe from any form of human/animal pollution this helped us identify “safe” streams.

Having identified safe streams our next challenge was not just in adopting a non-bottled water approach, but also influence our travellers. We now have a dual goal of ensuring we go-green but also assuring safety of our travellers. We analyzed the concerns and challenges in providing portable drinking water on our trails, we personally tried and tested various methods of water purifying before we opted filtration as a process.

Once we determined that the benefits (environmental) of consuming filtered safe water far out weighs the benefits of consuming bottled water while not compromising the health of the traveller on such tours. Our approach was to influence one traveller at a time and we have been successful in our mission for the last 4 years.

By virtue of using cycle as a mode of travel on our Manali to Leh tour, we stay away as much as we can from carbon emitting vehicles except for the support vehicles on the tour.

Our Tour Guide does a round a briefing before the start of the tour on the Do's & Don'ts on the tour which includes:
- Not disposing the trash anywhere while on the tour. All trash will be collected in a trash bag which will be placed in the support vehicle and will be disposed in a responsible manner
- To not buy snacks which are packaged in plastic covers
- To follow the instructions by the Tour Guide on safety and security while cycling in the fragile landscapes

As part of the tour, we also provide juices to our travellers. To stick to our mantra of travelling responsibly, we stay away from tetra packs or juices packed in plastic bottles. We instead carry a juice concentrate / powder and prepare the juice for our travellers on the go.

Community

During the time of recceing this tour, we travelled through the region extensively and identified a local guy who had all the local knowledge. We trained and equipped him to follow our protocols and practices to become the local guide for all our tours in the region. All along the way from Manali to Leh, an entire kitchen crew of localites will be travelling with the group to cook fresh & hot food for our guests.

The driver of the support vehicle is from the local community and is well versed of the road and weather conditions of the region. He gives a heads up to all the travellers ahead of time and prepares them on what to expect. In all, its a whole team of local community coming together to make this tour a once in a lifetime experience for our guests.

All days where we stay in an accommodation promote local economy. We have identified local home-stays and guest houses run by the community as accommodation options.

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