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Old 26th May 2019, 15:43   #1
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Default Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger

Teaser & Starters

Hi friends

This is the travelogue cum photologue cum videologue of our cycling ride to Sach pass & cliffhanger route.

So let’s start with the teaser video right here:




And some photos too

The river in full force
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-dsc_1426waterfall.jpg

The highway to heaven
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6018.jpg

Riding our way up to Sach pass
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6020.jpg

The shivering Vidarbha team at Sach pass (From L to R: Shekhar, Yours truly Himanshu, Konark, Vimal & Bunty)
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6454.jpg

Dusky Hedge Blue Butterfly
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8344duskyhedgebluebutterfly.jpg


Almost every year we do a long bike riding tour. In ‘18 it was Sach, before that Pachmarhi and Ladakh too. Again the videos’ links are attached as bonus content at the end.

For the main course, the full video of our tour is also posted on YouTube in two parts (subtitles are also available):

Part I.


Part II.


The rest of the story unfolds in subsequent posts. And if you please, a request to watch videos as this blog complements them and vice versa.

Please note:

The names of places and animals are correct to my knowledge and of course no animals and humans were harmed in this tour

Some facts:

1. Many road side eataries we encountered in Himachal were simply “Sharma Dhaba”

2. It rained intermittently on all our riding days except the first and the last.

3. We had to use the lowest ratio on cycles much more than Ladakh.

4. We put the power to all four wheels in XUV whenever situation demanded, the difference was noteworthy, be it climbing or loose surface. But some water crossings before Satrundi camp were tough due to large rocks and road biased tyres.

5. The fuel efficiency of car was 12.20 kmpl for the whole trip.

6. Total distance covered was 4800 kms.

7. 4WD Mahindra Bolero Pick-ups are the most popular with locals of Pangi valley.

Last edited by Aditya : 31st May 2019 at 08:25. Reason: Added heading, caption
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Old 26th May 2019, 16:05   #2
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Background & Drive to Dalhousie

In Part-I video, please refer from Start*

*The timings are not hyperlinked in any of the posts as the video preview loads & disturbs the reading also could not find a way to disable it.

We, ie., Konark, Vimal, Shekhar, Bunty & myself planned the destination to Sach pass which is at around 4500 meters above sea level, and is hailed as one of the toughest pass, and as the riding distance was not amounting much, we included the cliffhanger as well, which is one of the deadliest roads in the world. Now the circuit was complete.

Though the route posed another challenge now, as unlike Ladakh, not much information for cyclists is available. So making the itinerary was proving hard and doing the reconnaissance was not possible for us. Although BHPian @TaureanBull's travelogue proved helpful, it is hard to plan halts in steep mountains. But I made routes on both, Strava and Runtastic, that gave us idea of elevation and manageable distance for each day.

The preparations started with exercises to strengthen ourselves and getting the things we needed. As for cycling, we do it almost all year round averaging 25-30 kms on regular rides, 4-5 days a week except in summers. After Ladakh tour we knew mostly what was required. While we four were riding, Bunty was to do the driving duties.

Cycling for us is a very meditative experience. There is no engine sound and you watch and grasp everything around, be it nature, cultures, people, towns as well as local flora and fauna; besides there is also a sense of achievement and accomplishment which is satisfying.

This time it was Vimal's new Mahindra XUV500 W10 AWD, which was to do duties of transportation and support vehicle. We had to take 5 bicycles (1 each for 4 riders and an emergency backup). The car was already fitted with a carrier and we had a bike stand, so bikes were easily taken care of and used the boot to carry the bike wheels, tools, spares, puncture kits, pumps, sleeping bags, a tent and our luggage. We skipped on a stove this time round.

Our weapon of choice Mahindra XUV500 W10 AWD
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-xuv.jpg

We used a Scott Aspect, a Giant Rincon, two Schnell Dynamic MTBs and a Schnell Hybrid bike. These bikes are our own and it feels good to ride them at distant passes.

Scott Aspect 750
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-2018_08_15_13_15_31_613.jpg

Giant Rincon
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6283.jpg

Schnell Dynamic MTB & Hybrid
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_4965.jpg

For photography & videos, we used two DSLRs which were kitted with wide and telephoto lenses to save time and fiddling with lenses. The bodies used were Nikon D90 with 10-24mm lens and few ND & CP filters, Canon 1200D with 250mm lens, a couple of SJCAM 5000X Elites and a DJI Osmo 2 Mobile gimbal besides 3 iPhones (two 7s and one 5S) one OnePlus 5 and an Oppo A83.

To track our rides, we used Strava & Runtastic apps simultaneously.

As we were starting from Vidarbha, around 1250 kilometres needed to be consumed on very first day to cross NCR, so start time was decided at 4 o' clock in the morning, and we almost stuck to it getting late by only 20 minutes.

The first driving duties were taken care by Konark, who drove upto Chhindwara, then Shekhar dispatched another 200 kms, Bunty took over afterwards to propel us through Gwalior which was a bottleneck due to a bridge collapse on bypass and we’d to pass through town. I drove from there till crossing Delhi well after midnight and again Shekhar took over till our halt at Murthal at a road side hotel. The highways in MP and UP are all encroached by cattle to a point where it's dangerous to drive. We counted many animal fatalities too.

The Lunch of Dal Makhani, Paneer Burjee & Baingan Bharta at Jalandhar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6333punjabidhaba.jpg

After a long driving first day, the second day we passed through Haryana and Punjab via Ambala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Pathankot to reach at Banikhet, Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh by late afternoon. It was raining heavily between Pathankot and Dalhousie. We decided to stay at Oyo Grand Hills, Banikhet booked on GoIbibo as it is on the route to Tissa, our first planned riding halt.

We immediately unloaded the bikes and started assembling them well into the evening. A problem arose as we noticed the outer casing of front shifting cable on Shekhar's bike was sheared. We did not have this casing though we had cables with us as we had serviced the bikes prior to this ride and were confident about them. We searched for local bike shop, found a set and installed it fast and then stowed the bikes at the hotel's staff quarters.

The hotel has recently opened for business and everything was new including the staff. The food and service were nice and the breakfast was complimentary.

The raindrops on car window
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e5802.jpg

Last edited by 2himanshu : 30th May 2019 at 12:35. Reason: Added a couple of lines, Added heading
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Old 26th May 2019, 16:32   #3
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Around Dalhousie

In Part-I video, please refer from 01:28

The third day was a rest day and we explored Dalhousie by roaming in the town and visiting Daikund Peak as well as Khajjiar. The climate was very nice and foggy the whole day. As I prefer nature photography, shooting butterflies and flowers brought me in very good mood. But the Khajjiar was slightly disappointing for us after a long drive to reach there, maybe it's better in other seasons. The only saving grace there were food stalls, though smelly they served some okayish noodles and omelettes.

Flowers of Daikund peak
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8377.jpg

Common Satyr Butterfly
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8400commonsatyrbutterfly.jpg

Powdery Green Sapphire Butterfly
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8394powderygreensapphirebutterfly.jpg

Swan flowers
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8372swanflowers.jpg

Dusky Hedge Blue Butterfly
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8344duskyhedgebluebutterfly.jpg

Himalayan Langoor
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8333langoor.jpg

Wild plant
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8321.jpg

Khajjiar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6354khajjiyar.jpg

We also found out Himachal Tourism's office and informed them about our plans. The guy was helpful and gave us his number in case of any emergency but it was going to be useless as there are no networks available near Sach pass. Touch wood, we didn’t face any situation that needed a call.

We found a Dosa place in Dalhousie and we tried some very spicy Dosas for dinner. Later we stocked up on water and were ready for our ride.

The Dosa Plaza, Dalhousie
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6362dosa.jpg

Last edited by 2himanshu : 29th May 2019 at 21:38. Reason: Change in paragraph, added heading
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Old 26th May 2019, 17:15   #4
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Cycling Day 1 - Dalhousie to Tissa (74.57kms, Elevation gain 2334m)

In Part - I video, please refer from 02:11

The route to Tissa, courtesy: Strava
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-screenshot-20190526-17.30.37.png

The hills of Chamba valley were calling us and after having the breakfast at hotel, we started on bikes towards Tissa some 72 kms away. The day was sunny and it was all downhill till Chamera dam.

The Chamera Reservoir
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e6363.jpg

Few lines from Christina Rossetti's poem:

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.

Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morning to night, my friend.

The roads were all winding and the climbs appeared after Chamera. We crossed villages and met with many school going kids.

The India tree
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8412indiamap.jpg

The valley was getting beautiful and we were enjoying every bit and clicking away memories. Many small streams and waterfalls were crossing roads, they are like omnipresent in Himachal.

The one of many waterfalls
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e6370.jpg

Had to picture ourselves
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_5896.jpg

Bike and the valley
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e6375.jpg

Soon we reached near the town of Koti, where we had two options of road to Tissa, and as suggested by locals, we took the one which was via Koti town after crossing the river.

Drink break
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e6382.jpg

The shiny pine
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-dsc_1390tree.jpg

Now it was getting very hot as the temperatures spiked to around 40 degrees. Konark, Vimal and Shekhar were getting extremely dehydrated and stopping frequently. I somehow was quite ok and enjoying the ride.

Himachal road workers were present every where to report and maintain the roads. Many local guys who chatted with us were quite confident that we won't make it to Sach pass on cycles. The pedalling culture is almost non existent in this part of the country due to very steep hills everywhere and it is much easier to walk in towns.

After Koti the the population was scarce and we were hungry but no place was available till Chilli which is around 10 kms before Tissa. We attacked the Chhole and Rajma with rice as only these items were available. Our host also offered us some paneer sweets which he made himself for sweetmeat shops.

The lunch at Chilli
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180831154726.jpg

We had rest for some time to avoid scorching sun and then headed towards our destination of the day Tissa. The last few turns leading to the town were very steep and the only hotel was at the opposite end of Tissa en route our next day's target Satrundi.

The bridge to Tissa
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_5928bridgetotissa.jpg

Tissa
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e6385.jpg

RK Hotel
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e6872.jpg

As we reached there and were negotiating rooms, Mr. Vickybhai who owns a hardware store, brought his farm fresh apples for us and we devoured them until we could stuff no more.

Last edited by 2himanshu : 30th May 2019 at 12:50. Reason: Added heading, screenshot, added photo
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Old 26th May 2019, 19:18   #5
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Cycling Day 2 - Tissa to Satrundi Camp (47.33kms, Elevation gain 4078m)

In Part - I video, please refer from 05:43

The route to Satrundi, courtesy: Strava
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-screenshot-20190526-17.31.11.png

The start from Tissa
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_5946.jpg

The second day of our ride started chilly and cool, we hoped it would stay like this as the altitude was also increasing. Today it was all steep climbs with hardly any respites and after starting at 7 o' clock, it was past 11 when we reached Bairagarh. We made a long lunch and rest stop before starting again. It was now around 17 kms to Satrundi and we had around 6 hours of daylight to reach there. Without doubt the day was toughest in this tour.

Yellow Billed Blue Magpie
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8430yellowbilledbluemagpie.jpg

Flowers
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8472flowers.jpg

Himanshu
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8474himanshu.jpg

Bunty
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8453bunty.jpg

Waterfall
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-dsc_1403waterfall.jpg

The low traction ascent
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8485.jpg

Flower
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8526flower.jpg

Bairagarh
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e6407.jpg

The deep valley
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-dsc_1410.jpg

XUV and the road
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-dsc_1395.jpg

A shepherd with Vimal & Bunty
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180901144829.jpg

People were foraging this root in forest
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180901141346.jpg

The curvaceous road
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_5958.jpg

Himachal home
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-himachalhomeimg_5959.jpg

The last fuel bunk on this route is at Gwari, before Bairagarh, we tanked up the XUV here as we would now have the chance to refill only in Kishtwar.

But as soon as we left Bairagarh, everything vanished, spoof!! Like roads, people, towns, and even mobile network. The steep roads now were all rocky and gravel, the ride became painfully slow as cycles struggled for traction many times. One bike's axle also came loose but we managed to tighten it properly.

The white among greens
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_e6413.jpg

Himalayan Griffon
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8479himalayangriffon.jpg

Booted Hawk Eagle
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8455bootedhawkeagle.jpg

The rest stops were coming up more and fast and the light was reducing at rapid pace. The jungle was thick and alive with Himalayan Griffons and insect orchestra.

A much needed roadside break
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_5932.jpg

Taking shelter from Sun
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180901112641.jpg

Having tea & biscuits
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180901162921.jpg

We also came across a patrolling police party from Bairagarh who checked our vehicle and documents and wished us good luck for our journey ahead but they send a Force-Traveller back as they believed it would be hard for them to cross Sach and reach Killar by nightfall.

Police party
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6434himachalpolice.jpg

It was dark when we finally reached the Satrundi camp after negotiating steep cliffs and rocky water crossings.

Sunset
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6435sunset.jpg

The night was very cold for us Vidarbha gang at the camp and we all were shivering even under few layers of clothing.

Last edited by 2himanshu : 29th May 2019 at 18:18. Reason: caption
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Old 26th May 2019, 21:31   #6
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Cycling Day 3 - Satrundi Camp to Sach Pass & Beyond (14.68kms, Elevation gain 1058m)

In Part - I video, please refer from 08:57

The route to Sach pass, courtesy: Strava
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-screenshot-20190526-17.31.36.png

The Satrundi camp
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180902062832.jpg

The next morning was beautiful and the sky was at it’s blue-est. We had tea with some biscuits before setting off. The ride was instantly hard due to the lack of oxygen and rocky gravel path. Our ascent was slow and it was not helping that we were stopping more & more to catch our breaths on the low traction road to the pass.

The Moon
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8493moon.jpg

Clouds at Satrundi
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8497clouds.jpg

The view from the road
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180902125312.jpg

The views were mesmerising with the cloud cover getting on and off. It was like a highway to heaven. But we were afraid of heaven slowly turning into hell as the fog increased and then it started to rain and snow, we had experience of bad weather on our Ladakh cycling tour. It is a known fact how fast the weather changes at high Himalayan passes.

Konark
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8491konark.jpg

Shekhar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8490shekhar.jpg

Vimal
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8449vimal.jpg

Bikes en route
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6020.jpg

The highway to heaven
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6018.jpg

Enjoying the moment
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6017.jpg

Many bikers and car owners were struggling with their vehicles as the low oxygen was robbing them of their power. Bunty helped push a few Bulleteers on their way. A gentleman Mr. Sharad Mohan from Delhi was driving to Leh via Sach in his Skoda Yeti. He stopped for us while we were having a break, feeling something was wrong, but then we told him about our ride and he was astonished. We wished each other good luck and send him ahead. We met again at night at the Killar hotel.

Our morals were high, as the pass came nearer.

The land slide prone rocky terrain
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180902102032.jpg

The weather was not helping but it didn’t force us to stop for long at any point. And after almost six hours of riding, we conquered the pass.

The triumphant Karanja Cyclists at Sach Pass
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6457.jpg

Glacier at Sach pass
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180902131720.jpg

Shivering Shekhar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6937.jpg

We went to the temple but we were wet and the chill got to Bunty and Shekhar, got us worried for few moments besides there was no place to take shelter. So we decided to drive down and mounted the bicycles on car. While we were packing a local taxi needed help with a puncture, we helped him by lending him our compressor.

It was like 3 o’ clock when we started our descent towards Killar. The roads were eerily empty and only a couple of vehicles crossed our path. There were also some villages we passed through, but it was hard to find anybody. There was actually nobody even to ask for directions till a small truck stop camp came up.

The camp before Killar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180902172918.jpg

The roads were slow and it was almost 8 in the evening when we reached Hotel Raj at Killar.

The road to Killar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6458.jpg

The bridge before Killar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-bridgkillar.jpg

The dinner was served very late and all of us were super hungry as we only had few biscuits and chocolates with two cups of tea, throughout the whole day. That meal too didn’t came up my way as I fell asleep early.

Last edited by 2himanshu : 30th May 2019 at 12:06. Reason: heading
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Old 27th May 2019, 14:31   #7
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Cycling Day 4 - Killar to Gulabgarh (60.73kms, Elevation gain 1934m)

In Part-II video, please refer from Start; Cliffhanger from: 03:17

The route to Gulabgarh, courtesy: Strava
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-screenshot-20190526-17.32.14.png

It was new day again in Pangi valley on Janmashtami and our sights were set on the cliffhanger now. Though it’s a fast at home, we preferred to fill our tummies full. The breakfast was nice and we set off to Gulabgarh some 60 kms away. Some locals also gave us apples, which we gladly accepted, they prove to be nice snack while riding the bikes.

View from Killar hotel
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6464killar.jpg

Killar hotel
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180903_082455hotelraj.jpg

Rock Bunting
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8519rockbunting.jpg

Kashmir Rock Agama
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8433kasmirrockagama.jpg

The roads were all gravel and empty. Sometimes it got problematic when bifurcations arrived and there was nobody to ask for directions and google is not effective without networks. Our backup car didn't stay with us continuously and we had to wait at crossroads sometimes for lack of communications.

Our first stop was at a river which tributes to Chenab at Dharwas. The flow was very powerful and we shot some photographs and selfies.

River at Dharwas
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-dsc_1426waterfall.jpg

We approached the Sansari check post on Himachal side. It is a densely forested area and they prohibited us from taking any photos of them. After the formalities we crossed the bridge and entered Jammu & Kashmir. The road was all uphill and was scarcely populated and we didn’t cross a single soul till Ishtiyari.

Sansari bridge
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-2016_0101_172916_003sansari.jpg

Thick forest near border of Himachal and J &K
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180903120247.jpg

Janmashtami at Ishtiyari
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180903132155janmashtami.jpg

Today the weather was on our side with no surprises. We stopped for a quick breath at Ishtiyari and saw a Janmashtami procession. All of us quickly jumped in with them and joined the fun.

Now it was time for the cliffhanger, the cliffs were exciting as well as frightening. The surface was very loose and wet on declines. We had to drop our seat posts and steady our speeds as loose surface was not helping with braking and increase in speed meant losing the control. In both situations we would have fallen deep into the Chenab valley.

Shekhar & Konark
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6100.jpg

Chenab Valley
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180903_142411.jpg

Cliffhanger
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6110cliffhanger.jpg

Hanging in the cliffs
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6103.jpg

The path in hills
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180903_141508.jpg

The descent to Tyari
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6091.jpg

Vimal & Shekhar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180903_143528.jpg

After some seven kilometres, the cliffs gave way and we made a lunch stop at Mr. Parihar’s dhaba in Tyari. He served some local spinach like leafy vegetable, the name of which I didn’t get properly, and continued towards Gulabgarh.

Tyari lunch break
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180903_150437.jpg

Scott was like mountain goat in Himalayas
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6113scott.jpg

After a couple of beautiful towns like Sohal, the road surface improved with freshly laid tar and locals called it kalatop (Black top). Most of the road was now downhill and we reached the nice town of Gulabgarh fast. The town has a large helipad and a couple of helicopters were on standby.

Sohal
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180903_162741.jpg

Gulabgarh
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6989.jpg

We checked into a small hotel and bought a Kashmir SIM card from a local shop and made calls to our homes. The Janmashtami was in full swing here too, and we too went to a local temple where they were offering Apples as Prasad. The town was also hosting a goddess festival and was buzzing with people from all over India. We strolled into town, had some very nice Pani-puris and also visited the Tibetan Monestary.

We had a simple supper at Panchhi dhaba and went to sleep at hotel.

Temple
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6482gulabgarhtemple.jpg

Monastry
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6484monastrygulbgarh.jpg

The whole Gulabgarh town has a unique always on water supply system. People have put pipes in the mountain and channel the streams to wherever required. The force of water was heavy and it is opposite of what we are used to in mainland ie., borewells. Though we had seen these pipelines for feeding water at some Satrundi & Ladakh camps, here it was a professionally done job by almost all of the town.

Last edited by 2himanshu : 30th May 2019 at 12:44.
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Old 27th May 2019, 14:59   #8
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Cycling Day 5 - Gulabgarh to Kishtwar & jammu (68.98kms, Elevation gain 2710m)

In Part-II video, please refer from 06:42

The route to Gulabgarh, courtesy: Strava
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-screenshot-20190526-17.32.39.png

For our final riding day, Kishtwar was the target. We had chhole-bhature at a stall before starting to pedal. The stall owner was surprised that each of us hardly had only one puri.

The road was of mixed condition today but there were many small towns and villages en route. Many people waved and cheered at us in each of them.

Little boy of Kwar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180904_123745.jpg

Kashmiri Folks
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-kashmirifolks.jpg

Somewhere in J & K
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img20180904104249.jpg

The town folks were not getting convinced that we were Indians pedalling, as hardly anybody approaches Sach and Cliffhanger on cycles and that too their compatriots. Some even advised and requested us to not attempt these kind of adventures as the terrain is unforgiving and our families back home will bear the grunt if some accident happens. We thanked all of them for their good will & wishes, exchanged pleasantries and left smiling.

Also we crossed many large herds of sheep, their animal count ranging from 600 to 1000. It was patient and phenomenal affair negotiating them. They are generally manned by a single family and take refuge under rocks and cliffs.

Sheep
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-sheep.jpg

Shepherd
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-shepherdjk.jpg

Beautiful roads in Kashmir
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-dsc_1453.jpg

Shekhar
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180904_090845.jpg

As we were passing through a tiny village of Keeru, we came across an Army patrolling party. One of them was so excited that we asked him what happened, and he was so joyous and showing our license plate to his comrades, then we understood that he was from our district. We chatted with them for some time, equally happy to see someone from back home.

Armymen
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6488army.jpg

It was time to move on and we again had a check post to clear before Kishtwar. The whole post was Sinhagarh Maratha battalion and they too were happy to meet us and made tea for us.

Konark
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180903_165407.jpg

It was now time to end our ride and we did it at a restaurant at Kishtwar as we were quite hungry by now and it was late afternoon. While we were packing some local guys came up and praised by saying that they live there their whole life and yet do not explore the area the way we had done.

The happy team at Kishtwar after completion of ride successfully
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180904_143300.jpg

We had fixed our final bike ride point to Kishtwar as lorry traffic increases from here and there ain't any challenging passes to cross. After our pack-up, we started towards Jammu but the travelling was slow due to winding roads first and then very bad patches before and after the Chenani-Nashri Patnitiop tunnel till Udhampur. After that it was smooth sailing all the way till Jammu.

Chandali town in J & K
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180904_184655.jpg

Last edited by 2himanshu : 30th May 2019 at 12:48.
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Old 27th May 2019, 15:40   #9
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Jammu to Home via Amritsar, Vrindavan & Agra

In Part-II video, please refer from 08:33

After a late night, We didn’t waste any time at Jammu and headed towards Pathankot and then to Amritsar. First we visited the Golden Temple Shri Harmandar Sahib and then paid tribute to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh. It is sure a chilling piece of history. We then met up with Vimal's local acquaintances M/s. King and Lucky Singh, who pampered us with their hospitality and we were stuffed with Kulchas and Lassi.

Harmandar Sahib
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6532goldentemple.jpg

At Golden Temple
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6523goldentemple.jpg

Jallianwala Bagh
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180905_140247.jpg

The bullet marks
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6556.jpg

It was now time for the flag lowering ceremony at Attari-Wagah border and the atmosphere was electric. Everyone was a proud Indian and by evening we set sail towards NCR.

Ready for the Flag lowering ceremony
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180905_161955-copy.jpg

Attari-Wagah border
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8584wagah.jpg

The team at Wagah
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8552wagah.jpg

Our Pakistani counterparts
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_8571wagah.jpg

We dashed towards Ambala in the evening, hoping to cover as much distance as we could, and made a late stop after 1 in the morning some 100 kms before Delhi at a roadside motel.

The next day we crossed delhi in scorching heat and took Vrindavan exit on Yamuna Expressway. At Vrindavan we visited the Banke-Bihari temple and Ashram of Neeb Karori Baba. The town is infested with monkeys who steal people’s eyewear to blackmail for food. They don’t even spare two wheeler riders.

Thakurji's Temple, Vrindavan
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_6589.jpg

Neeb Karori Baba Ashram, Vrindavan
Cycling to Sach Pass & Cliffhanger-img_20180906_150525.jpg

After wards we made our final stop at Ramada Plaza, Agra but not before visiting Mathura and Gokul too, where it was pouring cats & dogs. The next day was Friday, so had to skip the Taj Mahal and sprint towards home some 1000 kms away.

As we bid adieu a quote from Omar Khayyam:

Ah, make the most of what, we yet may spend,
Before we too, into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust,
and under Dust to lie, Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and — sans End!

And as promised the Ladakh & Pachmarhi videos:

Ladakh Cycling:


Pachmarhi Cycling:


Also my previous travelogue on team-bhp:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...onal-park.html (Motorcycle ride to the Kanha National Park)

Last edited by 2himanshu : 29th May 2019 at 15:10.
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Old 31st May 2019, 08:13   #10
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Fantastic thread. As a passionate cyclist myself, I am sure I will do these routes some day. Your thread will certainly help!
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Old 31st May 2019, 08:37   #11
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Quote:
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Fantastic thread. As a passionate cyclist myself, I am sure I will do these routes some day. Your thread will certainly help!
Thanks Aditya

Your words are encouraging

Regards
Himanshu
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Old 31st May 2019, 08:49   #12
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Great thread and fabulous experience guys! Kudos to your team for the passion to do such rides on a regular basis.

But here's what I find weird - most (or all) of you are not wearing any cycling gear except for the helmet. From a cursory glance, I would have thought you are just doing some casual riding for an hour or so. Leaving aside any safety concerns, why not do it more from a comfort perspective? I'm sure it would have been more leisurely and comfortable in a cycling jersey and pants and some gloves than the cargo shorts and t/shirts you are wearing. What's your team's thoughts on this?

But leaving that aside, excellent travelogue and thanks for the Strava elevation maps; helps a lot to prospective cyclists who would want to pick up info from this thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2himanshu View Post
The happy team at Kishtwar after completion of ride successfully
Attachment 1879700
Is he (the guy on left) wearing his boxers on the outside?

Edit: Rating the thread 5 stars

Last edited by ninjatalli : 31st May 2019 at 08:57. Reason: Added quote
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Old 31st May 2019, 09:10   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Great thread and fabulous experience guys! Kudos to your team for the passion to do such rides on a regular basis.

But here's what I find weird - most (or all) of you are not wearing any cycling gear except for the helmet. From a cursory glance, I would have thought you are just doing some casual riding for an hour or so. Leaving aside any safety concerns, why not do it more from a comfort perspective? I'm sure it would have been more leisurely and comfortable in a cycling jersey and pants and some gloves than the cargo shorts and t/shirts you are wearing. What's your team's thoughts on this?

But leaving that aside, excellent travelogue and thanks for the Strava elevation maps; helps a lot to prospective cyclists who would want to pick up info from this thread!


Is he (the guy on left) wearing his boxers on the outside?

Edit: Rating the thread 5 stars
Thanks pal for your appreciation.

I am wearing a cycling jersey in photo and all of us wore cycling shorts inside. Thanks for the concern. It was cold for us except on day 1 of riding.

You can check the whole timing on Strava and how many hours we did ride.

I can't comment about the boxers though

Thanks again
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Old 31st May 2019, 09:16   #14
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^^ Oh, didn't notice that; that's pretty good!

Also, do share your strava ride links if you can (or please highlight if you have already done that); will be useful for folks to refer.
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Old 31st May 2019, 09:39   #15
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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
^^ Oh, didn't notice that; that's pretty good!

Also, do share your strava ride links if you can (or please highlight if you have already done that); will be useful for folks to refer.
We rode the whole planned route, except only from Sach pass to Killar

Here are the links:

Day 1 Banikhet to Tissa

Day 2 Tissa to Satrundi Camp

Day 3 Satrundi Camp to Sach Pass

Day 4 Killar to Gulabgarh

Day 5 Gulabgarh to Kishtwar

Regards
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