Solo Indian female cyclist's journey from Manali to Leh! #bestof2018

Tripoto
31st Aug 2018

The first thought of doing Manali to Leh cycling came in the year 2016 after watching a random video on YouTube and trust me I could not sleep that day. I was restless. On my personal front I was going through so much that I just wanted to leave behind everything and everyone but again after a few days the josh died down and I got busy with studies and life.

So after 2016 came august 2018 when I finally decided to get leh'd on a bicycle. But the problem was everything I read and saw was from a male's perspective. I was apprehensive and scared to do it all alone. But as they say a soul's health is related to the mental health I decided to go for it. And let me tell you buying a cycle is ten times more difficult than buying a car. I knew nothing about gears, brakes fixing tyres, types of cycles. But as Paulo Coelho has beautifully written,''when you want something the whole universe conspires to make it happen.'' And I found people who helped me and motivated me throughout my journey.

I bought a second hand (used) cycle, told my parents and friends about it and the only reaction I got was , why cycling? ( and also they all said I am crazy). But they all supported me which is what matters at the end.

DAY1- ALWAR TO DELHI

As soon I reached Delhi I wanted to go back home . I was nervous as hell. People were staring at me and I missed the comforts of home. Took the HRTC Volvo bus for Manali and was regretting my decision of doing it solo and unsupported and also cursed my friends for not coming with me.

Photo of Solo Indian female cyclist's journey from Manali to Leh! #bestof2018 1/1 by Pravesh Yadav
my parents dropped me till Delhi .
Day 2

DAY 2- MANALI

Reached Manali at 9 am and all sorts of things were coming to my mind. Looked for a hotel nearby mall road and got the cycle checked at a local shop on the mall road and explored Manali. In the evening sat on the mall road and stared at random people (my favorite thing to do)

on the way to marhi

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

clicking pictures was just an excuse to rest and cycle

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav
Day 3

DAY 3- MANALI TO KOTHI

The first day of the ride was supposed to be till Marhi but I was exhausted and wanted to return to Manali back after riding just for 15 minutes. I somehow reached this place called Kothi which is just 10kms from manali. I took a room at Kothi and pondered on my decision to cycle all the way to Leh. I was not sure .

On the way to marhi

Photo of Marhi, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

one of the cyclist from Thailand with my cycle

Photo of Marhi, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav
Day 4

DAY 4- KOTHI TO MARHI

As I woke up the next morning I did not want to cycle but I did not not want to give up either and just walked with the cycle and just kept going. On the way met three amazing cyclists from Thailand who started from Manali and were heading to Marhi. The views were simply stunning and the ride all uphill and tortuous .

Somewhere in between marhi and rohtang pass

Photo of Marhi, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

somewhere near rohtang pass

Photo of Marhi, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

near rohtang pass

Photo of Marhi, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav
Day 5

DAY 5- MARHI TO SISSU

The next day was as bad or even worse than the previous day. The ride from Marhi to rohtang pass was killing . It rained all throughout the ride which made it even worse. I was shivering and was worried because I was really slow but the only thing that made me kept going was the feeling that after rohtang pass it was a downhill ride. I just pushed and pushed myself till Rohtang pass. After rohtang pass was just amazing. All downhill till sissu, the road was not that amazing but I did not complain.

Picture perfect

Photo of Sissu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

The rainbow adding more colors to the valley

Photo of Sissu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

Traffic jam by the sheeps

Photo of Sissu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

Somewhere near sissu

Photo of Sissu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

The result of absent road from rohtang to sissu

Photo of Sissu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav
Day 6

DAY 6- SISSU TO JISPA

Sissu to jispa was pretty amazing. The ride was awesome mixed with both uphill and downhill. The views kept getting gorgeously breathtaking. At one point of time I was almost riding faster than motorcycles. Had the best fried rice and chai of my life at Keylong. And Keylong is the only you will get signal and internet before Leh. so messaged and called everyone. As I was heading towards jispa I met this group of bikers called rohtang riders who were having tea and local biscuits and they saw me coming. They all came to me and clicked photos and congratulated me for doing this amazing journey that too solo. For the first time I felt so proud and yes a total heroic feeling.

Somewhere near sissu

Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

Near Tandi bridge

Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

Somewhere near keylong

Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

Somewhere near keylong

Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav
Day 7

DAY 7- JISPA TO ZING ZING BAR

UFF! Another killing day. Gave up so many times. Basically it was 90% mental strength and 10% physical strength that was required for today. But every time somebody crossed me and gave a thumbs up I was again up and started riding. Most of the times people were shocked to see a female riding alone that too with 15kgs of extra weight on the cycle. Some advised me to take the bus till Leh . Some asked me about my group. Some even said I won't be able to do it. Lower Zing Zing Bar was the place I just fell on the ground and could not go any further and stopped a truck to drop me till upper zing zing bar. As soon as I reached upper zing zing bar I started vomiting and was shivering badly. The lady at the snow view point dhaba came to the rescue and did every possible thing she could manage to make me feel better.

Dont be fooled . This is lower zing zing bar.

Photo of Zing Zing Bar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

jispa on the way to zing zing bar

Photo of Zing Zing Bar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav

some taal at patsio(i was dead by now)

Photo of Zing Zing Bar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav
Photo of Zing Zing Bar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Pravesh Yadav
Day 8

DAY 8- ZING ZING BAR TO SARCHU

Till baralacha la the ride was extremely difficult. Because of the gain in altitude breathing became diffficult. And very strange but happy thing happened . As I was riding towards baralacha la , three bikers came to me and one of them shouted my name and it turned out to be my school friend who was returning from leh. After riding for days and just talking to strangers I felt so happy seeing a known face. After reaching bharatpur the ride was all downhill but this time I was stopping not because I was tired and breathless but because mountains were simply out of this world. I in my life have never seen so many shades of brown . I was awestruck with the beauty of sarchu. just a black road surrounded by mountains of chocolate lay ahead of me.

One mountain and so many shades of brown

Photo of Sarchu, Himachal Pradesh by Pravesh Yadav

PRESENTING TO YOU SARCHU

Photo of Sarchu, Himachal Pradesh by Pravesh Yadav
Photo of Sarchu, Himachal Pradesh by Pravesh Yadav

SARCHU

Photo of Sarchu, Himachal Pradesh by Pravesh Yadav

i stsyed at her dhaba in sarchu. kindest soul i ever met!

Photo of Sarchu, Himachal Pradesh by Pravesh Yadav
Day 9

DAY 9- SARCHU TO WHISKEY NALLAH

When I was researching about the manali to leh route , every cyclist described this as one of the deadliest days of the entire journey and rightly so. Today was the day I had to cross the deadly gata loops( the famous 21 hairpin bends). And I agree to all of them it was deadly. Also crossed nakeela to reach whiskey nallah and called it a day. After reaching Whiskey nallah met three amazing cyclists from The Indian army who were creating a world record of cycling maximum distance in a country.

Gata loops

Photo of Nakee La 4739 m by Pravesh Yadav

Gata loops

Photo of Nakee La 4739 m by Pravesh Yadav

nakeela pass

Photo of Nakee La 4739 m by Pravesh Yadav

me with the Indian army cyclists

Photo of Nakee La 4739 m by Pravesh Yadav
Day 10

DAY 10- WHISKEY NALLAH TO DEBRING

My favorite day! I cycled on the more plains which was such a joy. The ride till pang was was bad because of the condition of the road but after that it was relief to eyes ,leg sand soul. The only thing I did not like was the cold. It was freezing. I will not do justice to the beauty of more plains by describing them in words so it is better to see the pictures yourself.

breathtaking more plains

Photo of Debring, Leh by Pravesh Yadav

more of more plains

Photo of Debring, Leh by Pravesh Yadav
Day 11

and some more

Photo of Upshi by Pravesh Yadav

DAY 11- DEBRING TO UPSHI

The mountains from brown turned into white. It snowed the entire previous night. As I reached tanglang la it was just white all around and my hands were numb, I was shivering and to add to the misery it started raining. The BRO people working on the road saw me shouting and cursing and praying the sun god to appear and offered me tea and biscuits. I had 4 cups of tea before the sun showed up and I cycled till upshi. After tanglang la I did not pedal for once. All downhill and my eyes were wide open to absorb the beauty ladakh. The landscape again turned brown and green as I entered the ladakh valley.

Photo of Tanglang La by Pravesh Yadav

all white tanglang la

Photo of Tanglang La by Pravesh Yadav

me at tanglang la

Photo of Tanglang La by Pravesh Yadav

The cutie pies who saved my life by offering me tea

Photo of Tanglang La by Pravesh Yadav
Day 12

DAY 12- UPSHI TO LEH

Beautiful day and beautiful everything! The landscape was to die for. I was constantly saying wow throughout my ride. The mountains were red in colour because of the natural reddish colour stones. I was amazed by the beauty ladakh had to offer and I also understood the craze as why every biker wants to go to ladakh. It is like a pilgrimage to them.

somewhere near rumtse!

Photo of Leh by Pravesh Yadav
Photo of Leh by Pravesh Yadav

finally! leh

Photo of Leh by Pravesh Yadav
7 Comment(s)
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My only thought after reading this was, "Why am I so unfit and lazy! How do I find the motivation to go jogging even?"
Wed 01 30 19, 06:42 · Reply (1) · Report
Haha. Ditto. When at home.. I am like you only.. But this was something I wanted to do for a very long time. And once you hit road, everything is different.
Thu 01 31 19, 06:59 · Report
nice
Wed 01 09 19, 13:12 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks
Thu 01 31 19, 06:59 · Report
actualy am proud of u....its realy & very insprng....
Sat 01 05 19, 13:49 · Reply · Report
I never thought about cycling to leh but after reading this, I am having a thought ... Great blog!!
Thu 01 03 19, 20:12 · Reply (1) · Report
Thank you. You should go ahead without any doubt.
Fri 01 04 19, 09:39 · Report
Very inspiring
Thu 01 03 19, 19:53 · Reply (1) · Report
Thank you so much
Fri 01 04 19, 09:39 · Report
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