Manali to Leh Ride
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Start and end in New Delhi! With the bicycle tour Manali to Leh Ride, you have a 17 day tour package taking you through New Delhi, India and 13 other destinations in India. Manali to Leh Ride is a small group tour that includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
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- AnonymousWritten on October 16, 20135.0 - ExcellentSome real challenging cycling in an unbelievably beautiful part of the world, that can best be experienced on a bike. The scenery changes daily, and it would be difficult to find a more amazing landscape to cycle through anywhere else in the world. You get a real sense of achievement making it over the top of the passes, and seeing other group members win their own battles. You really need to do this!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The butterfly and the pigeon!The beauty of the canyon coming down from Lachalung LaThe road workers and their families living and working above 4000m during the few months in the year where the roads were open.The great efforts made by group members whose health was not so good at times.The loneliness in places.Everybody in the group getting to the top of all the passes. WELL DONE.The tremendous road signs along much of the trip, with interesting sayings e.g. "Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly", "Be gentle on my curves", "After whisky, driving risky".Being given a Mexican wave welcome by a number of tourists when my wife and I reached the top of the Khardung La.What did you think of your group leader?Jangbu was an amazing guy, having summited Everest twice, and was a very capable cyclist.Â Him and his team (three cooks, one mechanic and two drivers), did a great job looking after us.He did a good job of going over the next days itinerary.He was very hands on when it came to dismantling tents or maintaining the bikesFull of energy and a happy character to have around.Â He could have been better at sharing some of the information through the whole group.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?GeneralThe sun can be very hot. Be careful not to leave any exposed flesh without sun cream.Be careful about the weight allowance for flying back down from Leh.Â It is quite restrictive.Camping Practice the squatting position before you go on holiday (maybe its a guy thing?)Bring a decent carry mat, the thicker the better (one of our group had two).Bring a head torch.Washing Maybe take a small washing line as you will have an opportunity to wash some gear during the camping part.  PhotographyBuy an extra battery for your camera and charge it before you go.Dont try and take rechargeable batteries out of the country in your hand luggage. They will be confiscated :(Take a helmet cam. Try it out before you go. Well worth it!Health Quite a few of the group had stomach problems for one or more days. Make sure you take antibiotics with you just in case (Cipro was used by many).Diamox was also used by a number of the group for the duration of the trip as a precaution.A camel pack is very useful, and encourages you to drink the quantities of liquid that you need at altitude (especially if you are taking Diamox)GeneralThe sun can be very hot. Be careful not to leave any exposed flesh without sun cream.Be careful about the weight allowance for flying back down from Leh.Â Â It is quite restrictive.Is there anything else you would like to add?CyclingÂ It is hard work. Make sure you get plenty of miles in the legs before you go take this trip on, and quite a bit of uphill would be very useful.Â Remember, what goes up must come down, so there are some fantastic downhill sections to enjoy (if the wind is not blowing in your face)However, the challenges are really the altitude (lack of oxygen) combined with stomach problems that a number of people suffered from.They do look after the bikes very well during the trip, with daily maintenance carried out, and the Trek bikes we had were good quality.None of the cycle is really steep. Most of the climbs are long and gradual, with lots of switchbacks, so not as tough as it could be.There were some fantastic road surfaces, with beautiful smooth tar in many places. There were also some road surfaces which required special attention, and really justified the mountain bike (tyres)Many dogs around many of the places we visited, but none of them were bothered at all about cyclists.Â A couple even jogged along next to the bike for a few kms.It is not a race. Take your time on some of the stages. Take some pictures. You may not be back to such an amazing place again. Remember to look behind you!The 24 mile climb up from Leh to the top of Khardung La is not for the faint hearted! There was solid snow and ice across the road at the top!We were a day ahead of the snow over the last pass before Leh. The next morning looking back it was covered! So you could be unlucky.Do the first day extension down to the monastery south of Manali (it was the longer of the two options but a great start to the trip).It may rain, and if it does at the top of a pass, you could get VERY cold cycling down.Be prepared to be held up by flocks of goats and sheep on the road :)All paces were catered for, although for the group of nine, there was only one staff member cycling.The support bus did a good job of hanging on at the back, and you could leave some gear on it when required.CampingMost of the camping locations were in beautiful settings.The tents had seen better days, and a night of rain resulted in some with pools of water inside.Be prepared for some not so flat tent locations, both gradient and lumps! Â FoodIf you like Indian food, you will love big parts of this trip.Try and buy a nan bread straight off the oven wall from the street in Leh where all the bakers and cheese shops are.During the camping I was pleased with the quality of the food, although that was not shared by all the group. There was plenty of it.I ate a huge amount and still lost 5kgs on the trip.Â High altitude can do strange things to you!!!A number of people brought snacks from home. WashingÂ There is the opportunity in a couple of places to have a wash in a river.Bowls of water provided early morning to wash away the cobwebs. CultureÂ Probably worth while finding out a bit about Buddhism before going out, as you will visit a few monasteries. TravelThe train trip to Chandigarh was way better than expected. Air con, seats and meals supplied!Be prepared for a hair raising truck ride to Manali. Narrow roads, tight bends, many lorries and a few accidents along the way.The minibus (main mode of transport before the cycling started) was a bit cramped. New DelhiÂ Go to the old part of the town for a better flavour of the local life.Travel in a Tuk Tuk. It is great fun. GeneralDespite being told otherwise before the trip, it was possible to recharge battery via cigarette lighter in support bus.Be respectful of those who may not want their picture taken.Not so much wildlife, but there is some there if you look for it!It was all plastic bottled water that we drank whilst cycling.Â That is what they gave us, despite what the trip notes said about responsible tourism.The bit I really didn't get was after spending 11 days above 3000m, going up the steps of the hotel in Leh we still got out of breath! FINAL NOTE: Having done the High Passes of Everest trekking last November, we found this cycling tougher.If you have not quite decided seeÂ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahndi/sets/72157635544522431/
- AnonymousWritten on September 16, 20135.0 - ExcellentA trip of a lifetime. Agonisingly hard at times on the way up. Joyful and endless descents. A challenging but totally amazing trip. The scenery on the clear days was stunning. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Reaching the top of the Taglang La. This was so special individually but also as a group. It meant I would complete the whole ride from Manali to Leh as did the whole group. Going up the Khardung La 2 days later was an additional bonus.What did you think of your group leader?Our leader Jangbu was great. Quietly in the background he supported us at all times. Good daily briefings -"a little up" was a common phrase. He helped around camp with bike maintainance, tent construction, food delivery and wake up calls. He was extremely fit. He managed the group well as we had a wide range of abilities from the exceptionally fast to the exceptionally slow. He was to be found at the top of all the passes smiling and congratulating us even in driving freezing rain.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?This trip is totally achievable with a bit of training. Take it slow, enjoy the views and and just concentrate on getting the oxygen in. We took our own bikes which was great. The hire bikes were in good condition but somehow having my own bike gave me that extra bit of confidence. Pack to expect hot and cold. Winter leggings and summer shorts were often needed on the same day. Take winter and summer gloves as the descents could be very cold. we had snow, rain and blazing hot days. A selection of your own snacks may be a good idea but there were lots of places selling very cheap chocolate. We bought a very sugary concentrate in Manali to add to our water. An essential energy source on those long long climbs.Is there anything else you would like to add?I would recommend this trip to anyone with a good degree of fitness and a sense of adventure. It's not for the faint hearted. Ensure you have some medication to deal with dodgy tummies and consider taking diamox with the altitude.
- AnonymousWritten on September 8, 20125.0 - ExcellentThis is the ultimate cycling challenge with progressively higher passes, stunning Indian Himalyan panoramas fast-paced, white knuckle downhills and diverse culture. Mountain bikes have the edge over any other form of transport for this route and, although the weather is famously unpredictable, we were blessed with blue skies and warming rays above 5000m entire ride. Expertly led and the group more resembled a team by the end with great moments of comraderie ontop of the passes.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Deep into the wilderness on our 7th day of riding, the sense of isolation had really sunk in. The terrain had turned almostÂ lunar and we hadn't come across a soul all day. We carved our way through gorges andÂ snaked downÂ exhilerating trails,Â whilstÂ mutli-coloured rock towered over. Verging on technical riding, plumes of dustÂ chased each rider as they discovered new untouched lines andÂ the bikes stood strong. After a short 5km ascent, we break out into the Mori Plains at 4700mÂ onto theÂ waterless high altitude desert of the Tibetan Plateau. At this height to be faced with hundreds of miles of desert, cast against the azureous blue sky, the spectacle wasÂ absolutely disarming.Reaching Khardung La, acclaimed to be the highest motorable pass in the world at 5602m, was the cherry on the cake. Thoroughout the climb, the panoramic views of the Stok Range whisked away the breathe more than the altitude itself. Purely an optional day, those who chose to ride tackled it with gusto and the team spirit made this day all the more enjoyable. WeÂ wereÂ greeted almost as celebrities at the top by the public who driven upÂ and the sense of satisfaction was riper than ever. Only one thing left to do... plummet 34km back downÂ on the rollercoster roadback to LehÂ for a well-earned beer.What did you think of your group leader?Essentially we had two leaders on this trip, Jambu and Shelish and they both brought a hugeÂ amount of experience and good-nature to the table. Jambu, a professional mountain biker and victor of Everest, led the group with passion and good-humour. Shelish, also an experienced trekker and rider took up the rear and never stopped laughing and telling tales. They worked very closely toegther and kept us well-informed each evening of the next days ride and what to expect. Their experience was felt throughout the group and any concerns regarding altitude were quelled from the outset. I'd love to trek with them both one day.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Consider the three main factors of this trip; altitude, fitness and the elements.Throughout this tour, you spend prolonged periods at altitudes between 4000-5000m. TheÂ itinerary however is designed around a ride high, sleep low concept which plays a big part in combatting the effects of altitude. Rehydration is the key along with finding the pace that suits you. The leaders are fully trained and experienced in noticing early signs of altitude sickness and take it very seriously. We all suffered from erratic sleeping patterns, dizziness and headaches at some stage but that comes with the territory.You should be confident in your fitness. Training on prolonged uphill stretches is very worthwhile and having confidence on the bike over rough terrain will help considerably. The riding days feel longer and the ascents can be tough in the heat, but stops are made regularly to refuel the body and rest. The support vehicle that follows behind the group can be flagged down and used at any point.We were very lucky but unpredictable weather conditions should be expected. Pack wisely with waterproofs, cycling gloves, buffwear and suncream. The early starts in the mornings can be very cold for the first hour and my cycling tights (as non-flattering as they may be) were a godsend.Is there anything else you would like to add?This is a tour abundant in superlatives and high on adrenaline. It came as close to cycling on Mars, openedÂ my eyes to soÂ manyÂ fascinating cultures andÂ challengedÂ me to theÂ max.Â I can't recommend it enough!
- AnonymousWritten on August 31, 20124.0 - GoodOne of the most amazing bikeable roads in the world.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Not sure I'd hold with a trip being 'inspirational', but there were plenty of cycling moments that had some of us shouting with joy. The endless descent from Tanglang La on the most amazing virgin blacktop, theÂ canyon descent at the end of the longest day, the half days when we could just lay on ourÂ backs and watch the clouds dissolve.The crawl through the mud and traffic jams on Rohtang La wasÂ also extremely entertaining.Â The landscapeÂ is, by far, the most striking element of this ride, always changing and always spectacular.Even if you're not a sightseer, the working monasteries in Ladakh are pretty amazing, too.What did you think of your group leader?Both group leaders were great guys andÂ far better cyclists than any of us.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You might want to think about joining the trip at Manali - you're more likely to get a bug on the two day overlandÂ transfer from Delhi than at any other time during the trip and Kullu/Bhuntar is only 90 minutes from Delhi by air.Also, Exodus use Jet Air for all flights and their policy on carrying bikes is confusing and inconsistently applied. Worst case is getting charged Â£150 each way to take your own bike. If you are travelling with your own bike, ask exodus to provide the full T & C's fpor the flightÂ so you can make sure you can meet them (a well packed bike in a bike bag may well count as part of your luggage allowance, a boxed bike most definitely will not) or book your own flight.You will need a hardtail MTB with front suspension and XC tyres - I took rigid forks and really missed my suspension forks on the jeep track downhills.
- AnonymousWritten on August 17, 20125.0 - ExcellentThis holiday provided the greatest the ultimate cycling holiday. Its simple as that!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?To experience the vastness of the worlds greatest mountain range makes one feel rather humble.What did you think of your group leader?Leaders and staff simply the best.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Yes Don'tÂ underestimate the challenge and put in plenty practice. I personallybuilt up my fitness overÂ an eight month period. ItsÂ not a joyride. So prepare well.Â Is there anything else you would like to add?Don't pay heed to any moaning minnies. This holiday is simply the best.Â I still find nearly two months after this trip that life is one big anti climax Age is no barrier as long as one is fit for the dailly challenges. So GO FOR IT.
- AnonymousWritten on August 4, 20125.0 - ExcellentA great trip over one of the world's great roads , If your looking for a challenge this trip would certainly tick the box.Great Leaders and excellent company during the the trip .What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Getting to the top of the Taglang La pass 5350m Â and the superb downhill on the other side.What did you think of your group leader?Excellent + plus Deputy.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Dont underestimate the effect's of altitude and train for this trip , the hills go on and on on !!.Is there anything else you would like to add?Go for it .
- AnonymousWritten on July 31, 20123.0 - AverageIt is important to understand in advance just how physically gruelling this trip is. I cycle 500-600 km per month but only managed to cycle up 2 of the 6 passes without assistance, and had to sit out one day completely due to a combination of altitude, heat stroke and diarrhoea. The scenery is great but you spend a lot of time looking at your front wheel.
- AnonymousWritten on September 13, 20115.0 - ExcellentOur trip was reversed due to a land slip near Manali to give chance for the road to be repaired so we flew into Leh and cycled to Manali. This is a classic trip along one of the worlds most awesome roads. Not for the faint hearted - cycling days were long and the temperature varies from boiling hot to freezing and can change rapidly, and of course the altitude makes it feel that much harder, but a must do for anyone who loves cycling and is confident about their fitness.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Getting to the top of the worlds highest pass at 5600m and second highest pass at 5300m! Quite an achievement on a push bike! Also the 30 miles of downhill into Manali!What did you think of your group leader?Very good, very professional with good organisational skills.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You do get cumulatively tired as the trip progresses - if your trip is reversed like ours was (I think Exodus were thinking of permanently reversing it which I think is a good idea as it means less overall climbing) don't burn yourself out on the first couple of days which involve the longest climbs at the highest altitude.Camps are generally by streams so there is the opportunity to wash when you get to camp.Is there anything else you would like to add?This has to be one of the most awesome cycling trips I have done for the sheer scale, and the fabulous journey along one of the worlds highest motorable roads. It was especially good as whilst cycling you go from A to B with no mandatory road transfers so you get to cycle the whole way from Leh to Manali if you want to. It was VERY well organised and catered for people going at different speeds with enough guides to cope with this so there was no pressure to hang back if you want to go fast or pressure to speed up if you want to go slower and stop to take photos etc. You don't have to be a fitness fanatic, as long as you are confident about the long days on a bike, and have some basic off road skills as the roads are quite bad in places. It is tough though - wake up tea whilst camping is at 6am, cycling at 7.30am, and then a long day, so don't expect lie ins or leisurely starts, and do expect to feel quite tired after this holiday. It is fully supported however and there is an option to go on the bus at any stage.
- AnonymousWritten on September 13, 20115.0 - ExcellentOur trip was reversed due to a land slip near Manali to give chance for the road to be repaired so we flew into Leh and cycled to Manali. This is a classic trip along one of the worlds most awesome roads. Not for the faint hearted - cycling days were long and the temperature varies from boiling hot to freezing and can change rapidly, and of course the altitude makes it feel that much harder, but a must do for anyone who loves cycling and is confident about their fitness.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Getting to the top of the worlds highest pass at 5600m and second highest pass at 5300m! Quite an achievement on a push bike! Also the 30 miles of downhill into Manali!What did you think of your group leader?Very good, very professional with good organisational skills.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You do get cumulatively tired as the trip progresses - if your trip is reversed like ours was (I think Exodus were thinking of permanently reversing it which I think is a good idea as it means less overall climbing) don't burn yourself out on the first couple of days which involve the longest climbs at the highest altitude.Camps are generally by streams so there is the opportunity to wash when you get to camp.Is there anything else you would like to add?This has to be one of the most awesome cycling trips I have done for the sheer scale, and the fabulous journey along one of the worlds highest motorable roads. It was especially good as whilst cycling you go from A to B with no mandatory road transfers so you get to cycle the whole way from Leh to Manali if you want to.Â It was VERY well organised and catered for people going at different speeds with enough guides to cope with this so there was no pressure to hang back if you want to go fast or pressure toÂ speed up if you want to go slower and stop to take photos etc.Â You don't have to be a fitness fanatic, as long as you are confident about the long days on a bike, and have some basic off road skills as the roads are quite bad in places.Â It is tough though - wake up tea whilst camping is at 6am, cycling at 7.30am, and then a long day, so don't expect lie ins or leisurely starts, and do expect to feel quite tired after this holiday.Â It is fully supported however and there is an option to go on the bus at any stage.
ItineraryDownload PDF Brochure
- Day 1: Start Delhi.
- Day 2: Train to Chandigarh; drive to Mandi.
- Day 3: Drive to Manali; free afternoon to explore.
- Day 4: Acclimatisation ride around Manali.
- Day 5: Gradually climb through alpine forest towards Marhi.
- Day 6: Cycle to Sissu over the Rohtang La (3946m).
- Day 7: Through the oasis town of Keylong to Jispa.
- Day 8: Continue up to Patseo through the pasture lands around Darcha.
- Day 9: Ride over the Baralacha La (4933m) and on to Sarchu.
- Day 10: A challenging day, via Nakli La (4948m) and Lachalung La (5100m), to Pang.
- Day 11: Across the Mori Plains to Tsokar Lake.
- Day 12: Explore the nomad settlements around the lake; ride over the Taglang La (5350m) to Lato.
- Day 13: Ride to Leh, visiting Thikse Monastery en route.
- Day 14: Climb to Khardung La (5602m), one of the highest motorable roads in the world; exhilarating downhill ride back to Leh.
- Day 15: Time to relax and explore Leh.
- Day 16: Fly to Delhi; optional sightseeing tour.
- Day 17: End Delhi.
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Manali to Leh Ride
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- Start and end in New Delhi.
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Covering a total distance of approx 1,308 km.
- New Delhi (India)
- 246 km
- Kalka (India)
- 97 km
- Mandi (India)
- 64 km
- Manali (India)
- 20 km
- Khoksar (India)
- 31 km
- Tandi (India)
- 5 km
- Keylong (India)
- 17 km
- Jispa (India)
- 48 km
- Sarchu (India)
- 59 km
- Tso Kar Lake (India)
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