Nepal is well published as a trekkers paradise, but little is said about the potential for mountain biking and the calibre of guides and bikers here. For a mountain biker, now I am talking real bikers here who love the ride up as much as the ride down, Nepal is a country begging to be explored. The devil development, normally every bikers nightmare dressed as a bulldozer and suited man in a constructor’s hard hat, may have robbed the Kathmandu Valley of some of its best single track mountain biking, but the blade of the bulldozer is opening up more and more of the country with trails, roads and tracks. In Nepal we use the term road very loosely, push and shove the earth the dozers might, but nothing can stand up to the annual Monsoon, natures blessing in disguise. The rains ravage the roads and trails, leaving your humble mountain biker with endless opportunities for biking undisturbed in the beautiful surrounds of rural Nepal.
If your an avid explorer and love venturing into the unknown, then pack light, grab your bike and head in to the foothills of the Himalaya for the adventure of a life time. Forget the maps cause there isn’t any, you might be lucky to find a guide in Kathmandu who is willing to explore with you and push the boundaries of the known biking routes. Along the way you will be rewarding with an intimate insight in to the culture of Nepal and some virgin rough and ready biking as well. No other tourists, no trekkers and no traffic, what more could the true mountain bike explorer want?
If organisation and civilization is your thing, then Nepal has a lot to offer as well. You don’t have to be an intrepid rider to enjoy what the Himalaya has to offer. In fact you don’t even have to bring your own bike. Many reputable companies now specialize in organised mountain bike tours around Kathmandu, Pokhara and Annapurna regions. It’s possible to do anything from one day easy rides to multi day intermediate and advanced rides. All tours will be fully supported and include your accommodation and meals. You will still get to explore tracks, trails and culture but at the end of the day you will get a hot meal and a soft bed.
For those full suspension downhill nuts, there is something here for you as well. Thought access roads will limit the downhill biking you can do, there are some very fine adrenaline pulsing trails to be found. Try out Manakarmana, a fast technical downhill, if you make a mistake you will end up in the Trishuli River, Nagarkot, Sarankot and Annapurna all have road access and offer various downhill trails for all levels of biker.
Hiring bikes in Kathmandu is easy. There are several companies that offer varying qualities of mountain bikes that can be fitted out to your tastes. Pokhara even has a place where you can hire top quality full suspension commercial bikes if you want to pay the bucks!
There are a bunch of great lads in Kathmandu and Pokhara who are avid mountain bikers and work as guides. Not only are they fantastic and adventurous riders, brilliant racers and a cheerful friendly bunch, they are also very professional guides that can make your trip to Nepal a rewarding one.
My advice, push the boundaries, hire a guide and go wild on a mountain biking adventure in Nepal, I know that you will love it and come back screaming for more!