Cycling the Annapurna Circuit, Part 4 : Frustrated Cyclist

So there we are, on top off the world, not literally but 5416m is not to be sneezed at !!
And after a warming cup of tea it was time to descend, 1900m straight down to Muktinath, we’d heard there was a road on the other side of the pass so we were looking forward to climbing on our bikes and flying down the other side, it was not to be, you knew that already huh !!
Here’s the view….

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Our guide Roshan studying the way down !!
Turns out that the road is very steep and large loose stones, no way can we ride on that so we had to walk our bikes most of the way down, very frustrating, 5 hours of painful shoulders and knees trying desperately not to let your bike disappear of down the mountain !!

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Here’s another look at that road !!
Looks ok doesn’t it, trust me even a group of mountain bikers that came over the pass didn’t ride it !!
We struggled down, it was slow going and as I said very frustrating, nothing worse that pushing a perfectly serviceable bike down a hill, still the scenery again took our minds of it and soon enough we found a place to grab a snack and a coffee…..

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The rest stop πŸ˜‰

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A couple of photos of the scenery, not to shabby huh !!
As we continued on we got some really good views of Muktinath Temple…

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And finally the road started to level out enough for us to ride and we entered Muktinath ….

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And our guide took us to our hotel, finally, man we were shattered πŸ˜‰ …

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May not look much to you but with private bathroom, hot and cold running water and western toilet we were very happy πŸ˜‰
We did a bit of laundry, left it to dry and went exploring, mainly to get lunch but just walking without the bikes was now a pleasure !!
Turns out that Muktinath is a colourful place…

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Great scenery and a first class lunch, money sorted, laundry done we were ready to chill for a few hours before dinner time.
We met up with Roshan for dinner in the hotel, local Dhal Bhat, rice, lentils, poppadum and pickles, goes down well every time !!
Team talk after dinner, as we were a day behind due to illness, it was decided that we’d cycle as far as Jomson and than catch a bus to Tatopani, this way we’d get to cycle and catch up some time !!
The morning came after a fitful sleep and after a pleasant breakfast we were on our way, the road out of Muktinath was mainly downhill and more the most part cycle able….

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As well as being a much better road, the scenery now took on the look of a lunar landscape, very different to the scenery on the Manang side of the pass.
Very soon we got our first glimpse of Jomson, still some way of but we were excited about the route….

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The ride is was on mainly good roads and we made good time, we stopped for lunch, as it happens right opposite the only ATM in town, no accident !! We made several trips and won every time πŸ˜‰
Roshan sorted the bus tickets and was soon hustling us to finish up and get the bus, we duly did as asked and before we knew it all three bikes and our luggage were on the bus !!

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Just waiting for the bus !!
The first part of our journey was on reasonable roads, not great but ok. Bumpy would be the right word but otherwise not to bad and we had a reasonable amount of space so we were ok.
We needed to change bus and at that point we met up with some Israeli Trekkers we’d met on route several days earlier, we were soon of again, bikes and luggage secured on the roof again, this time the journey was even more bumpy and the driver seemed to be gaining speed !!
Soon enough though he had to stop for a landslide, everyone and everything off the bus and walk round the obstruction to yet another bus, this one even smaller than the last !!
Somehow everyone managed to squeeze on, quite literally and off we went. Now not only had we met up with some Israeli Trekkers but now we’d also caught up with some other people, a couple we’d met at High Camp, her from England and him from Ireland, good fun people, travelled loads as well !!
The bus was crowed and very tightly packed, very bumpy but we were all having good fun…..

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And soon enough we arrived in Tatopani, we were booked at the Himalayan Hotel, comfy, private bath etc so we were again happy πŸ˜‰
Roshan took us both down to the hot springs, Naomi dipped her toes but I didn’t bother as I wanted to remain dry, important when it’s so hard to dry stuff quickly !!
Dinner was followed by early bed and again by a respectable breakfast where we bumped into another Israeli trekker, Avrahim, sorry if I’ve spelt his name wrong !! Lovely guy, trekking alone, asked Roshan for directions and said his goodbyes, hope he was ok !!
We saddled up and cycled in the direction of Lumle, the object being to cycle through to Beni and then again take a bus to Lumle for the night !!
The road out of Tatopani was fairly good, both in terms of surface and scenery…

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See what I mean πŸ˜‰
Well it couldn’t last could it, just as we’d hit a nice rhythm we came up against a landslide which meant a detour, porters were hired ASAP to carry the bikes and off we went….

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And about half an hour later we touched down on the other side….

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Porters paid, panniers reattached to bike and were off again, but again not for long, a fresh landslide has the army out helping to make a path through, a couple of trips for Roshan and myself sees Naomi bringing the last few panniers to the other side !!

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The fresh landslide !!
And off we go again, more more good road sees us making steady progress so we took the time to lean the bikes, Nepali style ……

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Also made a good photo πŸ˜‰
Soon enough we were at Beni and stashing the gear for ride to Lumle, three hours on a busy bus on bumpy roads had me wishing we’d cycled until the road started climbing and didn’t stop for be next 15k, Lumle isn’t quite at the top but it’s a bloody long way up, glad we took the bus now πŸ˜‰
The hotel was clean, tidy, private bath etc ….

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We had a great meal and retired early ready for our cycle ride to Pokhara the following day, morning arrived with blue sky’s and we set off after a great breakfast of Tibetan bread and potato curry, washed down with sweet milk coffee, heaven πŸ˜‰
The route meant a 5k cycle uphill to start but after that it was pretty much down hill to Pokhara and we made great time getting there meaning that we were at our hotel by lunchtime….

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A very comfortable hotel, lovely big room, great bathroom and Wi Fi, not great but we made do !!
Bags dumped, showered and out for a shave and haircut, about time really, I looked like a right hippy πŸ˜‰
Our time in Pokhara was short and in fairness we spent a lot of it waiting for the driver to come from Kathmandu with our luggage but I still managed to find a replacement camera, get my saddle bag fixed, take a look at Fishtail Lodge and take Roshan to dinner and a cultural night so all in all quite good !!
The driver duly arrived with our bags so it finally meant we’d got clean clothes, phew, washing sorted and delivered to express cleaner, dinner and pick it up on the way back, perfect πŸ˜‰
Up early to load the bikes into the drivers van with all our kit, we had hand luggage that we’d be using for the night ahead and would meet the driver the following day, we’re going rafting πŸ˜‰
The driver dropped us off, we were given instruction and soon enough we were off…

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What do we look like πŸ˜‰

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Stopping for lunch πŸ˜‰
I have to say that as a rafting trip goes it was very tame but it was a lazy couple of days after a very tough challenge and we were happy ! The nights accommodation was at a beach side campsite, no ordinary tents though, oh no these were complete with twin beds on comfy mattresses, full size working shower rooms with western toilets and hot and cold water…..

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I certainly managed to chill out for a while…

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Dinner was great but we were tired and retired early, morning came to early, we were comfy but we got up ate a hearty breakfast and headed off downriver for part two of our rafting trip, again very tame and it was soon over. Our driver was there to meet us and we were quickly on the road heading for Lumbini, birth place of the Buddha !!
Five hours in a car might seem like hell to some people but I slept for most of it, hence the lack of photos, we did stop for lunch mind, this is where our driver lost his tip, he told the girl in the restaurant to up the price of lunch, Naomi heard, that was him finished !! Still he did get us to our hotel in Lumbini in one piece so not so bad really !!
The hotel, friendly staff, small but clean room, private bath, Wi Fi slow but manageable, good food !!
The manager even came out and helped me with some bike maintenance πŸ˜‰
The main reason to be in Lumbini is because it’s Buddhas birth place, not my cup of tea at all but to Naomi this is manna from heaven πŸ˜‰ here are a few photos from around Lumbini…..

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I think by now you get the point, all very nice to look at but if your not into religion of any sort it can gets bit much, still Naomi appreciated it and as we’re in this together it was good at she was happy πŸ˜‰
The morning came, our last in Nepal, we were to be driven to the border where we would saddle up and start our India trip, we managed staff photos at the hotel before we left, they really were lovely people and very helpful and friendly…

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Not a great photo, my lens kept fogging up !!

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The manager, top bloke !!

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Well here we are finally, after 30 days, several hundred miles, no punctures, one leach each, no serious falls we’d finally made it to the Indian border !!
We couldn’t have made it without help, those the carried our bikes, planned the trip, our guide Roshan, the staff at the lodges and hotels, the families in the home stays who allowed us into there homes, the young lad who delivered brakes to Gorkha, to anyone that cheered us, asked questions, showed interest or just got out of the way for two mad cyclists, we thank you all πŸ˜‰
Next time it’s India, Country or Continent !!
Thanks for reading
JC

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About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
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2 Responses to Cycling the Annapurna Circuit, Part 4 : Frustrated Cyclist

  1. Ross says:

    Hi John you are living the dream mate, its wonderful reading your adventure I look forward to every blog, the pictures are truely amazing and shows just what a big beautiful world we live in, keep up the good work mate.

  2. Madigan says:

    haha. so good to read. was great meeting you guys on this part of your adventure. hope your still going strong. you guys rock. from the Irish guy and ‘Australian’ girl

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