Leh cycling tour is one of our most difficult mountain bike tours in the world. This extreme cycling tour takes you to the very heart of the Himalayas where you will discover some of the finest cycling the world has to offer.
The Manali-Leh cycling tour is one of the most scenic, challenging and popular mountain biking routes. You cover 475 km over 08 days going past many high passes – Rohtang (3900 m), Baralacha La (4800 m), NakeeLa (4900 m), Lachung La (5050 m), Tanglang La (5260 m and the world’s second highest motorable road). The road is a mix of tarmac and unmetalled roads. Once you cross into Lahaul valley from Manali, you go past picturesque villages. However, after Darcha, it’s all wild country with no permanent villages till you cross Tanglang La closer to Leh.
On the Manali-Leh cycling route the only settlements you will come across are doksas or make-shift bed-and-breakfasts that have come up for the season. From alpine forests and meadows in Manali through deep valleys in Lahaul, and vast plains at Sarchu, you enter Ladakh, a land that offers every hue of orange, red, brown and ochre. Along the way your challenges include searing hot days, freezing nights and most importantly, high altitude.
Manali-Leh cycling tour details:
Total No. of days: 09 days
Trip Type: High Altitude Cycling
Trip gradient: ChallengingMax Altitude: 5200m
Manali-Leh cycling tour day wise plan:
Day 01: Arrive in Manali
Delhi to Manali @ 5:30 pm from Volvo and reaching Manali by 6 am
Day 02: Manali – Marhi (40 Kms) - Sissu (47 Kms)
Today is our first climb as we begin to “warm up” for the tough ride ahead. We start the day by continuing along the 12km ascent to Rohtang pass (3900 m) (The pass of Souls). In the old days of the Silk route when caravans used to travel; Rohtang used to be one of the most feared of pass because of its freak thunder storms and high winds many people used to die enroute hence the nickname pass of Souls.
Day 03: Sissu – Jispa (53 Kms)
We set off with a short ride to Gondla and then onwards to Keylong passing through mountain streams that flow over the road. Today is a relatively easy day of cycling. You will notice that the terrain is becoming much more arid as we negotiate the rutty, dusty and rocky road. Our route undulates into the hamlet of Jispa where we end the day on the bikes.
Day 04: Jispa – Zing Zing Bar (31 Kms) - Sarchu (54 Kms)
As we leave Jispa we come out of a gorge and ride downhill. It is a long and hard climb to the Baralacha La Pass (4810 m) today. However the tough riding is rich in its rewards as we travel through wild scenic country with high mountains on either side this is the barren trans Himalayan region where you will also feel the pressure on your lungs as you pedal on.
Day 05: Sarchu – Wishkey Nulla (54 Kms)
The climb to the pass Nakeela is super long but once we reach the summit of the Nakeela Pass (4900 m) its an easy downhill to Whisky Nullah where hot chai and pakora await. Today is probably one of the hardest days of the ride but the day is also richly rewarded with some beautiful trans Himalayan scenery.
Day 06: Wishkey Nulla – Tso Kar Lake (75 Kms)
We begin today ascending the second highest pass on the Manali-Leh highway up the Lachalang La (5050 m) . The road here is likely to be the roughest of the trip with a distinct lack of tarmac, it’s very gravelly and there are many loose stones. We have a long descent to Pang down a steep sided gorge followed by an 8km switchback climb before reaching the flat top of the Moray Plains which is also the entry into the Chang thang region.
Day 07: Tso Kar Lake – Lato (61 Kms)
Today is a challenge indeed, as we head up the world’s second highest motorable pass, the Tanglang La at 5,260m. A tough day but truly satisfying when you reach the top. We set off again down the exhilarating 1,200m descent of switchbacks to the village of Rumtse. We beginn to see tiny villages as we start entering into more populated and fertile terrain. The air feels warmer as we cycle on to the village of Lato.
Day 08: Lato - Leh ( 3400 m) ( 71 Kms)
Today we continue downhill and head to Upshi, the scenery changes dramatically; as we enter the fertile Indus valley the area is irrigated by the river and is dotted with pretty villages and spectacular stupas.
Day 09: In Leh
Taking a rest from the bikes today we have the chance to wander around the twisting narrow streets of Leh. A popular tourist destination, there are many cafes and sites of historical interest to explore such as Leh Palace or the Sakar Gompa monastery and the Shanti Stupa. Leh used to be a popular trading site during the early days of the Silk route with caravans coming all the way from as far as Turkey.
Day 10: Leh – Delhi
Morning hour flight @ 10:45 am from Leh to Delhi.
Manali-Leh cycling tour gear list:
• A bike helmet
• Small day sack to carry trail clothing,
• Good quality waterproof jacket
• Waterproof trousers
• Balaclava (thick fleece)
• Sun hat
• Cycle mitts
• Warm gloves – mountaineering gloves
• Mid-weight fleece top
• Cycling tights (looser, “trackster” fit rather skin-tight lycra),
• Long sleeved shirt
• Travel trousers
• 2 wicking tee-shirts (synthetic or merino wool)
• Cotton tee-shirt for around town
• Long sleeved thermal top
• Thermal long johns
• 2-3 pairs underwear
• 2-3 pairs of standard socks
• 1 pair warm sock
• Cycling shoes, e.g. SPD’s, if applicable (bring spare cleats)
• Shoes, Flip-flops, Crocs or Sandals to wear around camp.
• Other suggested items are:
• Dark glasses (the sun is very strong).
• A couple of spare passport photos photocopies of key documents. e.g., passport (data and visa pages),
• Travel insurance policy.
• Airline tickets