A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.
Leg 1: Siliguri to Kathmandu
Day 3 / Aug 29 – Siliguri to Urlabari
At 6am, I set out to meet Faram and Gaurab, friends from Siliguri, who were waiting for me along the way, and they accompanied me till Panitanki, the India-Nepal border.
For Indian citizens to enter into Nepal, you will need any Indian government identity proof like a passport, election, aadhaar, etc.
I showed my election card to the army security personnel on the Indian side and he allowed me to cross over after asking a few general questions like where I was from, how many days I planned to stay, etc., all in less than a minute. Upon crossing the bridge, I was welcomed with namastes. No check on the Nepal side.
Urlabari was the first place I decided to stay in Nepal. Most of the route was flat with good road conditions and a lovely cover of blooming Pride of India and Jacaranda plants. I covered the 88km distance in 5 hours 45 minutes, passing through many villages before checking into Hotel Grand.
I stayed an extra day as I unfortunately cut my toe on a loose tile in the hotel restaurant, and also because it rained very heavily later in the evening, which made the road conditions very mucky.
Distance: 87.70 km
Elevation: 364 m
Time: 5 hours 42 minutes
Day 5 / May 1 – Urlabari to Kanchanrup
The road was good and flat, up until the last 35 km or so, where they are expanding the highway.
Distance: 110.98 km
Elevation: 455 m
Time: 7 hours 55 minutes
Kanchanrup: Elephant Resort
Day 6 / May 2 – Kanchanrup to Bardibas
Flat road, but due to the expansion of the highway, all the trees by the side of the road were cut down, making the area very dusty and hot. Furthermore, it rained for an hour, making the road conditions muddy and slippery. On reaching Bardibas I checked into Gautam Hotel.
After riding 100+ km on consecutive days, I stayed an additional day at the hotel to relax. I also did a brief, impromptu video interview with the hotel manager, Aashish Dahal. You can watch it by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/1120944085/posts/10226671014497784/
Distance: 114.52 km
Elevation: 448 m
Time: 8 hours 37 minutes
Day 8 / May 4 – Bardibas to Sindhuli
This route from Bardibas to Kathmandu involves cycling on the H06 highway, which is named after the former leader of Nepal, Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala. The highway’s construction was designed and funded by the Japanese government and took 19 years to complete.
The ride’s first 40 kilometres was on rolling terrain. The final 25 km is uphill with countless hairpin bends and loops. On this route, I did reach the highest elevation of 1,625 m. The route is scenic, with stunning views and good paved roads.
Unfortunately, 3 kilometres from the hotel I had chosen to stay at, it began to rain heavily. I also had a horrible stay at the hotel.
Distance: 65.08 km
Elevation: 1,625 m
Time: 9 hours
Sindhuli: Chetna Resort
Day 9 / May 5 – Sindhuli to Mulkot
After the ascent the day before, the next 18 km were downhill, with the remaining distance along rolling terrain.
The Seti Devi Mata shrine lies a few kilometres before the resort I stayed in and is popular for the thousands of tiny mirrors fixed along the retaining wall by passing travellers.
Distance: 36.41 km
Elevation: 445 m
Time: 3 hours 38 minutes
Mulkot: Kwality Beach Resort
Day 10 / May 6 – Mulkot to Bhakunde
This route was unfortunately jinxed. A significant portion of bad roads, rain, four punctures along the way, plus damage to the back tyre made it a tiring and bad riding experience.
Distance: 50 km
Elevation: 1,110 m
Time: 10 hours
Bhakunde: Sports Hotel
Day 11 / May 7 – Bhakunde to Kathmandu
I got the punctures fixed, put a tube lining as a temporary fix for the damaged tyre, and set out for the capital, Kathmandu. From Dhulikhel, you get to ride on a nice paved highway. Finally reached the capital in the afternoon.
Elevation: 836 m
Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Hotel: Ganesh Himal
- Around 5.30 am is the right time to start cycling because the sun is up and it is already bright outside.
- After 10am, the temperature starts to rise, especially along the highway where there is no tree cover.
- There are numerous roadside shops where you can buy fresh fruits or bottled water, and houses have hand pumps if you want to wash to cool off.
- The Mahendraraj H01 highway has flat roads from Siliguri to Bardibas.
- I could have easily reached Mulkot and wouldn’t have needed to stay in Sindhuli if I had left Bardibas early and it hadn’t rained.
- If not for the punctures, I could have cycled from Mulkot to Kathmandu or Dhulikhel in a single day.
End of Leg 1