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Cycling the Highest Road in the World the “Khardung La”

photo credit @ North South Cycling 

from North South Cycling Blog

When you begin riding bikes you are constantly bombarded with new challenges – your first mountain, your first puncture or even the first time you get lost. Like anything though, after a certain period of time these challenges become less stimulating. You can always push yourself harder or ride further but nothing will ever compare to that feeling when you first reached the summit of that illusive mountain. For us, this adventure was about chasing that feeling. We wanted to do something so far out of our comfort zone that there was a possibility that we wouldn’t even make it. To find a challenge befitting this criterion we travelled half way across the world to the northern most pocket of India to ride from Manali to Khardung La; a Himalayan road made famous by it’s altitude and it’s precarious nature.

Claimed by many to be the highest and most dangerous motor-able road in the world, the 515 kilometers stretch of road traverses numerous peaks above 5,000 meters and rarely dips below 3,800 meters making it one of the World’s most challenging cycling adventures. Built over 100 years ago by the Indian Army, the road is only open during the summer months, yet even in this period is prone to constant landslides and motor vehicle accidents. During the remaining 8 months of the year the road is blocked by snow and subject to constant avalanches. Admittedly, it doesn’t come across as the perfect cycling destination but that was all part of the allure. Like all cyclists, there is something hardwired into our brain that seeks out risk and adventure. For two mediocre cyclists nearly carrying our own weight in filming equipment this was easily the most difficult ride either of us had ever undertaken – and to make things more interesting we had only 8 days to do it.

 

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