Manali – Leh Cycling – This is how I got Leh’d

It took me 9 days, 480 km and 5300 m to get laid err I mean Leh’d (Duh!!) and when I say Leh’d I am referring to my surreally challenging Manali to Leh Mountain Bike traverse. This isn’t your touristy trip! This is that once in a lifetime event that cyclists around the world dream of.

Like many ladies, my first adult bike (Merida Matts 20-MD) was gifted to me by my husband. I had all intentions of taking it to places but over a period of two years, it was relegated from the Lift Lobby to Balcony to the storeroom.

One fine day, the day I was dreading arrived, when my husband said, “You NEVER ride the Cycle, OLX par bech de ?” (Shall we sell it on OLX?)

Nahinnnnnn”, I shrieked melodramatically and told my husband if I didn’t cycle for another two months he was free to sell it off.

One thing led to another and soon I was cycling with a group of Lady cyclists I could identify with. It no more felt silly that a group of women in their late 30s were going to bed early on Friday nights so they could ride their bikes around in circles early Saturday mornings. It was my first taste of riding in a group at speed, long distance and I loved it.

Manali to Leh cycling - high on himalayas

Within a month of cycling, I realized that it was getting addictive and I needed a bigger and more challenging goal and that is when I decided to cycle Manali to Leh, traversing through some of the highest passes in the world, cutting across beautiful trails!

You will also enjoy reading about the unique and thrilling bamboo trek! 

Manali to Leh cycling - high on himalayas

THE EXPEDITION :

9 days

480 km

5300 m

Manali to Leh – A Surreally Challenging Expedition !!

Manali to Leh India on a Cycle #Travel #HighONHimalayas #LehLadakh

The uphill rides tested me physically as well as mentally. The wicked Himalayas mocked as I huffed and puffed all the way up.

Manali to Leh cycling - high on himalayas

Needless to say, while the uphill ride tests your stamina, the road downhill is very beautiful and it almost winds down like a beautiful serpent.

You can read in detail about this expedition here

There were nights when it rained outside and I cozied up in my sleeping bag listening to the pouring water and then there were nights when I slept not in a 5 star but under a million star spread!

Manali to Leh cycling - high on himalayas

It was at Jispa that I met 170 Buddhist nuns of the Drukpa order who are also known as the Kung Fu Nuns. The Brave nuns were cycling all the way from Nepal to Leh!

Manali to Leh cycling - high on himalayas

During my Trans Himalayan Cycling expedition, I felt like a flickering light of an oil lamp which is going weak but a sudden rush gives it a momentary life! The Tanglang La climb is one of the steepest climbs of the entire expedition and tests you both on mental and physical levels. The cold breeze and the stunning view en-route gives you that life-saving push to keep going on.

Once we reached the Tanglang La Pass Summit (@5328 m), it was very gratifying to see the breathtaking view of the Himalayan and Karakoram range. The pass summit is characterized by hundreds of Buddhistic prayer flags!

It’s like nature throws at you a gallery of naturally crafted alluring sand and rock formations.

As I flew back home, I felt a part of me still clinging on to the Himalayas and part of the Himalayas going back with me! Have you experienced anything similar to this? What was it like?

 

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Richa Ingle Deo, an Ex Indian Navy Officer is a published author, Scriptwriter and now a full-time Travel Content Curator at www.lighttravelaction.com.

12 thoughts on “Manali – Leh Cycling – This is how I got Leh’d

  1. What an amazing trip! You must have been very fit already to take on such a challenge so soon after picking up your bike again. You certainly don’t do things by halves in your challenges! Have I done anything like this? No! I love cycling, but now use an electric bike quite a lot.

  2. What a fabulous achievement! A friend has recently been bitten by the cycling bug, and I can see how wonderful the sense of achievement is, flying along for mile after mile. You chose a really spectacular setting too.

  3. This is such an incredible tale with equally incredible views! Good for you for taking the challenge head on and succeeding! Not an easy feat, but one I am sure will change you at you core, an accomplishment to be so proud of!

  4. GREAT adventure and funny lede. 😉 Way to grab the handlebars and go for it. Next cycle adventure … a more calm one … but still adventurous is to bike the length of the Danube River ending up in Budapest. I think you would love it.

  5. What an adventure! Love the photos! It’s not something that I would do as I’m super uncoordinated, but I so admire that you found a passion and went full steam ahead. Sounds and looks like a dream bike ride for sure!

  6. I love cycling when I travel – and the landscape you were (ad-)venturing look just Edenic, so I guess this would be the perfect ride for me.

  7. Hahhahahhaaa LOVED your play on words! So witty and that was such a fun read! I actually can’t bike but this has definitely motivated me to do so. How nice you got to cycle with other ladies too! It’s always amazing being surrounded by people who share the same passion as you.

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