Manaslu trek by mountain bike?
This may well infuriate trekkers who believe that mountain bikers should keep of their trails, but it is unlikely that the Manaslu Trek circuit will be over run by mountain bikers anytime soon. Last year one guy took his mountain bike to Tsum Valley and had a great time, but a lot of punctures. This year, another intrepid handful took on the Manaslu Circuit itself, but there’s a lot of carrying apparently.
Sanosh Rai, a well known mountain biker from Kathmandu went to check out the trails during the cold and low season at the end of November. He just returned around 10th December. Brrr. We asked him a few questions, but not before he could get quite poetic about his experience. Questions and answers follow below with his pictures, taken on a wonderfully old camera by the looks of it.
Real Adventure, Real Challenges, Real Trails
Mountain Biking the Manasalu Circuit is not for everyone, but it also offers a unique experience for pure adventure seekers, a chance to get right off the beaten track and ride were very few riders have ridden before. This region offers some of the most unbelievable trails for technically skilled riders who are willing to push and carry for the rewards. You have to carry your bike 50% of the time, but when you lay tread on dirt amidst some of the tallest mountains in the world you will revel in the fact that it is just your wit, skill and stamina against this encompassing environment. The trails consist of rocky sections and some scary cliff paths that will test your nerve and some of the best rolling switch back trails on earth….
With the fast development of the road in the Annapurna Region and the feeling of true wilderness riding there being eaten up by modern development, Manaslu is the trail of the future for mountain bikers in Nepal and we where overwhelmed by the sheer joy and surprise of the local people who welcomed us as the first cyclists into the area with pure bewilderment. So go there and discover the rich culture and hospitality of the hardy mountain people and push your limits beyond anything you ever imagined on this unforgettable journey.
Questions & Answers
- Which was your favorite bit of trail?
The best part of the Tsum Valley Single Track, and lots of riding with less carrying
- Do you think you’ll see big groups of mountain bikers there soon?
You need to take a very perfect mountain bike, preferably full suspension in perfect working condition and something very light, not recommended for heavy all mountain or trail bikes. The trip is only for people looking for a real mountain biking challenge, we anticipate a few intrepid travelers to take this one every year but it will be a very long time before big commercial groups tackle this region.
- Can it be done in reverse? Would that be a good idea?
The opposite direction is not really feasible due to the acclimatization period needed to cross the pass.
- Do you need special permits for your bike?
No special permits for biking but you need Manasulu Permit, Tsum Valley Permit, Annapurna Permit and Tims for this trip. In order to gain the permit you need to apply through registered company and take a registered guide with you.
- How many days should it take?
The amount of days recommended is 12 days will get you to Dharapani from where you have the options to go around the Annapurna Circuit or to come back to Beshishar and Kathmandu. 12 days is constant moving and long days 6 to 9 hours, so if you have more like 14 to 15 days better to take your time to explore the culture and Monasteries in the area.
- Where did you stay and what did you carry?
Normally the trekking route is camping supported, but we did this trip all in tea houses, better to take your own sleeping bag and be-careful as in some places the food/kitchens is not the most savory. Most important to take a porter to assist you with luggage and take plenty of power bars and health snacks.
- Who to contact to find out more?
Contact Santosh and Jenny via http://www.himalayansingletrack.com/ Any one wanting to do this we can arrange a package for the this….no problem – we are thinking about arrange a proper trip in May…