Travel | Bike Packing with Rodolphe Pasciuto in Nepal
New year, new season and I shall begin these trips with discovering a great and distant culture… the Nepalese culture. No need to explain it, you know all that the most beautiful mountains of the world reside here, the inescapable and rich massif there. Himalaya for me was a kind of dream, an inaccessible, too far, too much complicated place, unlike my old sessions in Morocco, from Slovenia or from Corsica. I didn’t think one day I could slam my bike in the hold of a plane and embark for Kathmandu. It is nevertheless what arrived.
At the first town, I discover the capital with an amazed and curious eye. Chaotic and noisy, it releases a quiet absolute which the Nepalese have in them. I am welcomed by the team of Epic mountain bike and Portal bilkes. Tangui Rebours and his big generosity welcomes me at his home for a few days, feeding me and directing me towards the mountains. We shall put aside time to get to know each other later, in my return of journey. Very quickly the departure time is outlined and I’m out in the streets at 5 am, amongst the deserted city and heading in the direction of the bus. They chuck the bike on the roof, and nervous to say the least, I have no idea which state I shall find it after 11 hours of riding broken tracks with Nepali music blasting from the loudspeakers, but nevertheless, I’m on my way.
I go in Solukhumbu, where the trek is seriously underestimated, the tourists and the trekkeurs go there don’t even go there and it’s evident I’m going to be plunged into an authentic and rural universe. For this trip and having discussed it a lot with Tangui R., I decide to go alone. No guide nor carrier, I have to transport my food, my affairs, my tent etc. … It was not to make a physical performance but simply to be free to meet and to stop as I want. Unfortunately, this choice will not show as being very sensible.
Charged with two hand made bags and my backpack, the bike is heavily loaded, it’s delicate and impossible to carry. I shall need 2days to become used to it and re-commit the Evil in awkward situations.
The Himalayan relief is hard, very hard. In Solukhumbu, massive in the southwest of The Everest, big tracks will help me to cross the passes, but in spite of these, days will be long and tiring, and the vertical drops are considered 4-digit!
There are many tracks that aren’t possible without a carrier. Villagers were amazed to see myself here on certain advised against tracks, and thus, I have of to modify my route on the way. Here, on the paths, the Nepalese do not make turns. It’s not about single tracks with S turns, everything in straight with hundreds of meters of technical, fast sections. Still, we were lucky to find great, playful and fast singletrack sometimes. If only we could go back up easily to ride them!
The average mountain is between 2500m and 4000m, and whilst the climbs may have been had, meeting the Nepalese along the way made it worth the suffering. Full of kindness and benevolence. No need to plan your nights as villages were happy to accommodate at a moments notice. How welcoming they are makes me think about our way of perceiving our world and looking at the other, it was just as well I love traveling, because this made a lasting effect on me.
Every situation and destination are fundamentally more nourishing. There are many journeys made in cyclotourism, but this one will remain unique. After eight days of traveling in the mountains, the return to Kathmandu was rather rough. Noise, pollution, density, and returning to reality is immediately evident coming down by bus.
I’ve ridden a lot with local riders on local trails around the city. The trails of the valley of Kathmandu are so unique that we leave directly from the city center and within 3 hours you’ll have made a beautiful loop. A lot of people ride here, in enduro, downhill and cross-country. XC is an Olympic sport in Nepal which explains the number of riders met in the streets.
In conclusion, this destination is unique and wonderful. The size of the country in fact is an incredible spot; its architecture is magnificent, with beautifully surprising landscapes. I shall have had only a small, yet vast overview of the campaign and the mountains, but however this adventure was of an immense wealth. And in spite of this deeply moving end to a journey, I hold dearest the benevolence and kindness of this population. Thanks to all the people whom I met they were great I think in particular Jerome, Julien, Alex and Tangi. See you very soon.
Words, Photo’s & Video: Rodolphe Pascituo