many thanks to matt for all the lovely photos
pocket computer update
After a few days of rest and bike repair in the company of our new friend Mads of Himilayan Trails; we are off the bikes(!) and headed towards the tallest mountain in the world. Our steeds are waiting in the town of Ringmou, which was as close to basecamp as we could reasonably ride them. We’re the talk (laughing stock?) of the crowded trail; what with my bare feet, and Matt’s hobo-pole (rather than back pack). Proper update to follow, when I can find a real keyboard to compose on….
bike touring in Nepal
Leery of traveling alone among the highest mountains in the world, l had, once committed to going, invited my friend Matt to join me for some bike touring adventures. An Australian by birth and citizen-of the world by avocation, he is a coastal creature (passionate about surfing, and the water in general) but figured he could handle two months away from the ocean , especially if most of that was spent in Nepal, a condition to which l readily agreed. It’s hard to find someone with a similar travel style/willing to put up with mine. Matt and l have traveled together before, fat-biking the coast of Baja California, so despite being less enthusiastic than l about dragging his bike over mountains, he knew exactly what sort of absurdity we would be getting into. Continue reading…
Two thousand meters of elevation drop sounds like a dream come true for downhill mtn biking, but not when the trail is so steep and loose and exposed that you can barely walk down parts of it. The first thousand meters or so of drop was scree of mixed sizes, some of which l could ‘ski’ down with both wheels locked up, sliding on the edge of complete loss of control. l was rather excited when l slid my way to a halt at the gradient change l had been slowly approaching, but my misguided enthusiasm quickly gave way to something akin to despair: a lot of it would have been rideable for short sections, but bashing over miles of densely scattered loose rocks the size of your head was just too much effort to sustain. Not to mention that the relatively flat sections were interspersed with switchbacks barely a horse long and 6-inch-wide outward sloping traverses carved into mud and sand. Needless to say l walked, or rather pushed, or rather struggled to keep my bike from barreling off the “trail” and into the abyss. Continue reading…
Tso Moriri to Spiti Valley via Parangla
It takes a special kind of stupidity to venture out by yourself into the wilds of the Himalaya without a map, headed for trails you’re not entirely sure exist, over a mountain pass you know nothing about, and dragging a bike to boot. Now mine is a special, and quite capable, steed, but horse trails are, well, for (and by) horses, and sometimes (in the Himalaya, often, it turns out) they do things l just can’t do on the bike –which means pushing and or carrying. So l set out once again from Korzog fully aware that what l was attempting would be difficult, but without any real idea what l was getting myself into, and lulled perhaps into a false sense of security by the lovely and rideable circuit of Tso Moriri l had just completed. Continue reading…
While in Leh l met a Mexican-Israeli cycle-tourist and mate enthusiast, by the name of Moy, who was interested in trying some off-road touring (and sharing the kilo of mate l was carrying around – a gift from Simon in Sebastopol because l had been more or less living on the stuff while we worked overtime to get as much done as possible on our treehouse project before l left). He waited patiently while l cobbled together my equipment, and when l finally had everything strapped onto my bike we dragged ourselves out of Leh and the clutches of convenience and headed towards the town of Korzog on the shores of Tso Moriri on a shakedown cruise for me and an intro to extreme mtn bike touring for him.