Exploring my Backyard: Cycling Lessons in Himalaya

The inclined surface looked like an arc of a circle. The farthest point on the road appeared to be an ISRO launchpad. I assumed the role of Cartosat-2 and pedaled towards the farthest point with all my might. The take-off was imminent but then came a little monkey leisurely crossing the road aiming at the kurkure being thrown by giggling  bimbettes out of a ZoomCar.

Now that the car was gone and the little monkey was joined by his extended family led by an elephantine monkey, it had become a do-or-die situation. A cyclist pedaling on an uphill road confronting a group of overfed monkeys is not a happy situation. What appeared to be a launchpad into the beautiful valley of River Beas moments ago had now become an existential crisis.

The launch programme had to be aborted as the satellite was hit by a monkey-storm. Thankfully no casualties were reported.

People throwing food-items to feed ‘cute monkeys’ by the roadside are a grave threat to Indian Democracy.


Cycling is one of the most effective ways, if not the most effective, to reduce body fat accumulated at weird places. More so when you haven’t seen a real mountain since ages and the next trek is still 300 light years away.

NASA released another image along with the customary ‘India On Diwali’ photograph which revealed that the sun has moved real close to Chandigarh. So much so that the sun just doesn’t go down at all. In the wake of such ‘hot events’ I decided against cycling in Chandigarh and brought my #Firefox back to my hometown.

The idea was to explore my backyard which somehow always remained neglected. And I am glad that I have finally decided to bite the bullet.

Rewalsar Ride

“Never bite off more than you can chew.”, that’s the second most important cycling rule I have always followed. The first one is obviously to stay away from dogs. And monkeys too.

Here are the stats:

Start Time: 0600 Hours. End Time: 1020 Hours.
Total Distance: 52.1 Kilometers Max Altitude: 1405m.
Total Time Taken: 4:20 Hours Total Ride Time: 4 Hours.

Not very impressive stats if you go by the distance but Himalayan distances are often deceptive. A great ride to start with. Though riding in planes is fairly easy but equally monotonous. Himalayan rides are difficult but equally invigorating. If the ascent is too inclined, the descent is going to be equally steep. The only downside of riding in your backyard is that you’re well aware of your surroundings and there are no hidden surprises except for the windy blows that you’ve always experienced as breezy waves by rolling down your car windows.

Rewalsar Cycle Ride
Mandi Rewalsar Cycle Ride

Mandi-Kullu-Mandi Ride 

A hundred kilometer ride in the plains is entirely different from a hundred kilometer ride in the hills. Even more difficult if you’re riding on one of the busiest roads of Himachal Pradesh. Having done a couple of 100km, 200km rides in and around Chandigarh, I thought same could be replicated easily in Himachal but that isn’t the case. The windy blows are furious and River Beas looks damning.

The trapped air flows radially and riding through that tiny stretch between Pandoh-Hanogi is nothing less than a labyrinthine exercise.

Here are the stats:

Total Distance: 132.74km
Total Time Taken: 9.31 Hours Total Ride Time: 7.55 Hours
Mandi to Kullu – 4.19 Hours (Ride Time)
Kullu to Mandi – 3 Hour 36 Minutes (Ride Time)
Maximum Elevation: 1250m

Sharti Bridge – There’s a magnificient temple of Shuk Dev Rishi across this bridge
Mandi-Kullu-Mandi Cycling Stats | Left: Kullu-Mandi | Right: Mandi-Kullu
Exiting the smoke hell of Aut Tunnel #Firefox

Now here’s what I’ve learned from these rides.

  1. Cycling Sleeves are a must if you’re riding in the daytime. If you continue riding without them, then that’s a sure shot wildcard to the Kingdom of luecoderma. Buy here: Btwin Sleeves |
  2. Cycling Mask Crossing Aut Tunnel without a face mask is damn risky. The fumes penetrate right through your wind pipe and straightway head towards the ‘right lung’.
  3. Front and Rear Light because being hit by a speeding truck in the rear isn’t a great idea. Inside a tunnel, one that is dripping wet from end to end, invisibility is a deadly sin. Buy here: Btwin | Firefox
  4. Beware of Monkeys If there’s a cute little monkey crossing the road, be cautious because there would be an army of illiterate stupid monkeys following him aiming to nibble at your feet.
  5. #30DayChallenge Do not miss out on these exercises. In mountains, its not your legs that push you ahead but your back that does the pushing. Strengthen your back and core muscles.

P.S. I’ve planned a single day ride from Mandi to Parashar Lake later this month. Drop a comment if you intend to visit the lake during the said period. In case I’m found unconscious on the road, please drop me back home on your way back

1 thought on “Exploring my Backyard: Cycling Lessons in Himalaya”

  1. Hi, I am planning Kamand Bajaura Mandi Kamand ride. Can you please highlight what all one should take care of while crossing the Aut tunnel.

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