Cycling in Himachal Pradesh, India

It has been a month since I have returned from solo cycling trip in Indian Himalayas.

Impressions clearly overloaded my brain. This was first time I’ve been to Real Mountains – the highest pass, Kunzum, was at 4500m. And this was my first time I’ve been to a non-Western country (not counting my home Russia, which I’d put “on the border”).

The route was easy: start at Shimla, and follow the National Highway 22 (with some variations in the beginning) until Manali. Oh the highway… Never have seen anything like this before.

Numbers, mostly of interest to cyclists only:

  • 9 ride days
  • 750km covered
  • Total altitude gain is still not counted, although three biggest gains were 1600, 1300 and 1000 meters

What else:

  • Was caught in a snowfall in Lossar, 4000m:
  • In the plains (Chandigarh), the temperature was in +30 range
  • On the National Highway 22, passed landslides three times. Two of them, the bike could just ride through, like this one:

    once had to wait until it’s cleaned (I waited just half an hour, but others were there from the morning to the evening):

  • Stayed in the tent two times, in hotels and various “rooms” 11 times.

In fact the impressions of India as a country overweigh the “mountain-cycling” impressions. It deserves much more than one blog post – even much more than one book. All my perception of the surrounding world is now a little bit different than it was before. Probably such thing is called “cultural shock”. I’m so happy that this happened; now I see how terribly narrow view I previously had.

Of the real India, I have seen only Chandigarh, which is described in all guides as most comfortable city in the country. Still it is, of course, Indian city (just like my home Saint Petersburg is the most European of the Russian cities, but still fully Russian).

I’m feeling own deficiency of not being a good writer to describe my thoughts about these two weeks. So far I have produced a technical report, with details for cyclists such as what tires to put on your bike and how much food to carry.

All pictures (unprocessed) piled here.

4 thoughts on “Cycling in Himachal Pradesh, India

  1. Pingback: – » Photos from Indian Himalayas

  2. Konstantin, you achieved something that I have yet to. It was a dream of mine to travel as well to a foreign country and get some massive cycling done maybe for a cause or just some personal fulfillment. One day I will go and have an adventure like yours.

  3. wow, your travel pictures are truly amazing, and the adventure must have been even more so. It is a dream of mine to visit the Indian Himilayas and then possible Bhutan or nepal, but I need to gather my wits about me and save for it first! Thanks for sharing these lovely images. I was simply browsing pictures of Shimla through google. this is after I watched a 3 part BBC Documentary called Indian Hill Railways. maybe it is off the bbc iplayer, but perhaps you could watch it some other way? It features the areas surrounding Shimla a lot and this is how I came to hear of the place!
    Thanks again for these great photos 🙂

  4. Pingback: Konstantin Shemyak – blog :: Trip report from Indian Himalayas – 2008

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