What is it about the Kathmandu valley that makes it an ideal place for cycling tours? There are many in fact. First, it’s the diverse nature of the terrain, one that is just right for mountain biking. The valley has many up-and-down roads and trails that go through both big and small villages and towns. There are many trails (as well as metalled roads) that are, if not secluded, then at least far from the maddening crowds. In other words, they travel through some pretty unpolluted areas and pass through lovely green fields. The dirt trails, which are so very suitable for mountain biking, are quite often quite challenging, endowed are they with steep climbs and steeper descents. The trails are, in many places, endless single tracks that just keep on meandering through terraced paddy fields and quaint villages. It’s all something that will make your heart beat strongly and bring peace to your mind.
The next thing that makes bicycle touring so nice in Kathmandu Valley is the weather. Most of the year, the weather is really very pleasant, barring of course, the rainy season. Even in summer, it is rarely so hot that you cannot go on a bike tour. In the colder months too, the weather during the daytime is warm and pleasant on account of the bright sun and cloudless skies. Indeed, the Kathmandu valley is a most suitable place to go on cycling tours at most times of the year.
The third thing that makes cycling around the valley so good is the fantastic scenery you get to see as you get out of the city roads and onto the dirt trails that go up and down the hills. If you are the adventurous sort, you might like to go adventure cycling, in which case you could try the tougher routes like the one from Kathmandu to Phulchowki via Godavari. It’s the highest hill around the Kathmandu valley and there’s snowfall there every year in the winter. The road to Nagarkot via Bhaktapur is another challenging ride. You’ll have to cycle for some 20 km from Bhaktapur and it’s a pretty taxing climb, let me tell you. Of course, once you reach the hilltops, you’ll be rewarded with such sights as to make your spirit soar with elation. Most likely, you’ll have splendid panoramic views of some of the most magnificent Himalayan peaks rising high into the sky, as well as a bird’s eye view of the wonderful valleys below. This is actually reason enough to go adventure cycling in Kathmandu Valley.
But, as said before, there are many excellent reasons, another of which is the fact that you’ll be meeting some of the most pleasant people on planet earth as you go on a cycling tour around the valley. What’s more, unlike when you’re traveling in a fast moving vehicle, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to interact with local on the trails or in the villages. What you’ll discover is that the Nepali people are well deserving of their reputation as a most agreeable people—humble and helpful, smiling and hospitable. What’s that they say about meeting good people being half of what makes a holiday so good?
Well then, having said all that, you’ll be surely be mountain biking when in Kathmandu. Here’s something you should know. There are quite a few professional agencies that will organize well planned cycling tours around the valley for you and your friends. Generally, such trips can be for a day, or in some cases, for three days. The latter goes could go like this: first you cycle from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur. This is a short and easy ride of some 12 km on a plain road, more or less. Bhaktapur is one of the best preserved ancient towns of the country and has many interesting sites. You get to cycle around the paved stone lanes and do a bit of exploring. Then, you carry on northeast to Nagarkot, which offers some of the best views of the Himalayan peaks. You cycle ever upwards for about 20 km, and although it could test your stamina, your feeling of tiredness will be undoubtedly relieved somewhat by the sight of the verdant forests all around you. On reaching Nagarkot, you’ll be delighted to find some fantastic resorts and great eateries. So, what do you do? Well, eat a hearty meal and lie down on a comfortable bed amid luxurious surroundings, that’s what you do. In other words, you get a great night of rest and rejuvenation.
At Nagarkot, don’t miss out on the sunset and the sunrise. They are really sights for sore eyes. The next morning, you again begin cycling, but now it’s downhill. You’ll be going through some charming villages, and before long, you’ll find yourself on a dirt trail that goes sometimes up and sometimes down. Eventually, you’ll reach a place called Namobuddha, a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site where a prince is once said to have fed a starving tiger and her cubs with his own flesh. Rest awhile here and contemplate on this ultimate act of charity. Who knows, you might be hit by a stroke of new realization about the vagaries of life. Now, whether it happens to you or not, you got to carry on cycling, so you head down to lovely Dhulikhel, another place with some really pretty resorts. And great views as well. This is another ideal place to spend the night. Again, warm beds and hearty food, along with most modern amenities at your beck and call, so rest easy. After witnessing another great sunrise over the Himalayan peaks, start cycling down to Panauti, a historic town that is as culturally interesting as the other major towns in the valley. From here, you keep on cycling to Patan via Sisneri, and finally reach Kathmandu.
The above is, of course, just an example of the kind of bike tour that awaits you when in Kathmandu. There are many other similarly interesting trails that make Kathmandu Valley a great place for cycling tours. So, what say, shall we go mountain biking?