Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nepal - Open for Buisness

Nepal is Open for Business!

25th of April this year Nepal was on the world news headlines after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the central region near to Gokhra. Almost 9000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of houses were destroyed. Understandably tourists fled the country in the height of the spring tourist season inflicting huge business losses on Hotels, teahouses, Guides, Porters, Drivers, vendors and Restaurateurs  who had not been directly affected by the earthquake. 

We have been in touch with some of you and others not. But since the Earthquake that hit the central region of Nepal on the 25th of April and then followed on the 12th May.

All our guides and Staff are fine and none of our property was damaged. Our workshop and shop are still operational and functioning. Sadly some of our staff’s homes where impacted by the earthquake. 

Many things have happened in the last two Month's and HST joined forces with the Nepal National Mountain Bike Team to very quickly jump into action to Aid Earthquake victims. After rescuing a mother and child from the rubble we went on to form NCRR – Nepal Cyclists Ride to Rescue, an aid relief group. In the first month we raised over US$90,000 and delivered aid into four districts, Nuwakot, Okaldhunda,  Kavre and Kathmandu. 

We where able to distribute over 22 tonnes of rice, lentils, salt, oil, soap, medical needs and Tents. We set up a base camp in our main project area Shikhra Besi, home of National Cyclist Roan Tamang, where all 600 homes have been destroyed. Last week we completed our temporary school shelter project, providing 35 class rooms to 10 schools for the monsoon. The next phase of our project will be “Seven Schools in Seven Weeks”. We are now in the fundraising phase of the project which will go ahead later in the year. For more information about NCRR please visit the website.

School Shelters Ready For the Monsoon

HST resumed normal business from the 1st June and we will commence mountain trips from the 15th September onward once post monsoon assessments can be made on the following trails

-          Chitwan and the Teri
-          Kathmandu Valley (With Minor Hotel Changes)
-          Shivapuri National Park and Phulchowki Downhill trails
-          All Overnight and Day Trips in Kathmandu and Pokhara
-          Pokhara Valley

-          Annapurna
-          Jomomsom Muktianth
-          Upper Mustang

-          Manaslu
-          Lantang
-          Kathmandu to Pokhara Route

The Hotel Association of Nepal  alongside PATA is now working to assess and safety check all hotels in Kathmandu. Though the main hotels we use in Kathmandu like International Guest House has already been assessed and Passed.

Thamel is a safe area with 90% of Restaurants, Shops, Bars and Hotels open to date and functioning as normal. Some restaurants are running on limited menus due to staff having gone to help in the villages.

Tribuvan International Airport and all international and domestic flights are operating as normal.
We are also involved in plans to risk assess all trekking routes post monsoon.

Our current Assessment (and we will also email you all individually in concern to your itineraries) is that the Annapurna, Jomsom and Muktinath Areas are minimally effected.

We had a guide come back from Upper Mustang last week and everything is operational up there. The only noted issues was lack of tourists which is hurting the local hotel operators who had prior to the Earthquake just brought in the supplies for the season.

Taken Last week on the way to Lo Mantang - Upper Mustang.
6TH June our Guide Aayman Complete the Jomsom/Muktinath Trail and all is clear and safe along that route. Of course there is the threat of landslide during the upcoming monsoon.

With the season coming up in September and many of you have trips booked with Himalayan Single Track we would love to hear from you about your concerns for your upcoming trip and we hope we can address them.

Main Hotels Like International Guest House are Open and Safe

Calls us on Skype(hstnepal) or send us an Email -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thinking about Mountain Biking in Nepal…Don’t Wait.

There is no question that Tourism is vital to Nepal's economy…there is also no doubt that Nepal is one of the best places on earth for Adventure travel….and mountain biking is one such adventure.

We just wanted to let you all know that we are still open for business and raring at the bit to get out on our bikes and show you around our Nepal....from the rugged Himalayan Trails where the scenery will take your breath away as well as the trails, to the rolling hills of the Kathmandu Valley where you will be greeted and overwhelmed by the smiles and energy of the local people who are now rebulding after the earthquake. There is still so much to discover here in Nepal.

A lot of Nepal’s main tourist’s areas and trails are unaffected by the earthquake, the airport is fully functional (Well as functional as it can be…never having been the most efficient airport in the world! But alas it’s all part of the charm of you arrival into the Himalayas!) Thamel is 90% functioning…all the hotels are have already been or are currently undergoing assessment and most have green stickers…Green Stickers denote safe hotels. HST only uses certified hotels. Those hotels and buildings that have been damaged are being re built better and stronger than before.

As far as biking routes go…the only trails we are not running in the upcoming season (Sept – Dec) is Manaslu. (Langang will also be off the cards for those wanting to trek).

Here is an excerpt from an Official Tourism Press Release.

 - “Many trekking areas have seen little damage and, if the monsoon rains do not trigger landslides in these areas, trekking will be as safe as it was before the quake. “Apart from Langtang, Rolwaling and Manaslu, we do not see much of a problem with other trails, such as the Everest Base Camp Trek,” says Swiss geologist Erwin Scheibert, who is assessing the routes in the affected areas for the Local Road Improvement Programme (LRIP) in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP).”-

We have fixed departures Ready to Rock and Roll. 

One of the great adventures in the Himalaya and the ultimate high altitude challenge for any mountain biker. Traverse high into the snow covered mountains on a journey of discovery, culture, scenery and simply unbeatable mountain biking.

2015 Departures - 4th Oct, 5th Oct, 15th Nov

Upper Mustang is more than just a challenging mountain bike journey; it’s a path of discovery, of culture, of breathtaking scenery, friendly heart-warming people and so much more. Yes we know the permit fee is a lot, but for US$500 you will get 5 million times worth of amazement, pleasure and experience from this trip. Venture into a land where Nomads herd yaks in the high pastures, ponies carry your luggage, rosy cheeked locals toil the arid soil to earn a living, where Tibetan culture is almost untouched by civilization and add to this some of the BEST and most Challenging mountain biking terrain in the world and you have a simply unforgettable journey.

2015 Departures - 23rd Sept, 5th Oct

Jomsom is in the heart of the Himalaya and offers some spectacular trails for mountain bikers. Pedaling up between the Nilgiri Massifs to one of the holiest temples in Nepal, Muktinath at the foot of the mighty Throng Pass on route from the Annapurna Circuit. From here there are many options for some amazing single track and downhill riding along the beautiful Kaligandaki River, one of the deepest gorges in the world, past ancient monasteries and traditional villages. Bump along on cobble paths and get your feet wet in ice fed streams. This is surely one of the most spectacular short mountain biking holidays in the world… gotta do it once in your life!

Departs Every Monday from the 8th Oct to the 13th Dec!

Don't forget there is also a multitude of Short and Enduro Style rides in and around Kathmandu and Pokhara...Check them out on our website.

We would really love to see you in Nepal and show you are stunning trails soon!

Send us and email for prices and deals  -

The Beautiful and Challenging Annapurna Circuit.

Ripping up the Trails in Lupra Valley

Charming Locals and Stunning Views in Upper Mustang.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

One Step in the Right Direction for the Enviroment

Did you know that most of the areas that Himalayan Single Track operates tours in are conservation areas? Most of the biking trails in Nepal’s Himalaya are suffering from plastic related pollution problems. The direct source of this problem stems from tourist demand which means Tea houses are selling bottle water, drinks, packaged food items to meet the tourists needs and the local regions inability to deal with plastic wastes. In these mountainous regions there is no waste or rubbish disposal systems or means of recycling which results in pile ups of rubbish along the trekking trails, around the villages and in the waterways.

At Himalayan Single Track we are trying to ease the footprint that our tours have on the areas we visit. One step towards that is to discourage our clients from buying bottle water and packaged foods along the trails.

To help with this issue, our guides on every trip carry SteriPEN’s, an efficient and safe way of purifying water and making it safe for drinking.

If you break down the SteriPEN's name, you basically have the concept in a nutshell. The SteriPEN has the physical appearance of a pen and it sterilizes water. That's pretty straightforward, right? But what's amazing is how the SteriPEN rids water of those pathogens that can make you sick. The key is ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet light is energy-rich, electromagnetic energy naturally emitted from the sun. And while it can also have many adverse affect (this is why we wear sunscreen), when introduced to contaminated water, it destroys the ability for bacteria and viruses to reproduce. Once the DNA or RNA in virus or bacteria absorbs the UV light, it can no longer reproduce, effectively killing the organism and making it harmless to the human body.

The mechanics of the SteriPen are simple: It has a long, clear wand that lights up similar to a neon or fluorescent tube light. The wand on the end of the SteriPEN's body allows the UV light to transmit into the water. Each SteriPEN model works the same way. The small mechanical body produces the UV light and the wand captures and disperses it throughout the water. Each SteriPEN has a cleaning cycle and times vary depending on the model.

It's important to understand that while UV light sterilizes water; it doesn't remove bad odors or tastes as chemicals or carbon filtration would. The best possible solution for water purification would be a combination of sediment and particle removal followed by carbon filtration and then UV light sterilization. This gadget won't rid your water of any funky smells or coloration. You can use chemicals and carbon filters for that. But the SteriPEN will kill the bacteria that give you travelers diarrhea such as E. Coli so you won't get sick while you travel.

SteriPEN's are a great solution to making safe drinking water for our guests.
Citation & Date

Friday, January 30, 2015

2015 Fixed Trip Departures

2014 was our biggest year ever for mountain bike trips and we are now ready to take on 2015 with more trips, better trails and loads more fun!

What’s new in 2015 is our short Kathmandu getaway trip “Kathmandu Enduro” If you are living in the Asia region and what a great long weekend full of fun and mountain biking in Kathmandu this could be the trip for you.

If you are a lovely lady rider, get ready for our first ever all girls MTB Trip in the stunning Upper Mustang Region!! 23rd Sept. Relax, ride and enjoy the trails.

And then we have another first, Pedal and Paddle the Mighty Tamur River. This epic journey is perhaps one of the ultimate adventures for thrill seekers!

Annapurna Circuit (14 Day Package)
One of the classic trails in Nepal, a great physical challenge with epic downhill rewards and stunning scenery. 10 of the best days of mountain biking!
15th April 2015
15th May 2015
4th/18th October 2015
15th Nov 2015

Upper Mustang (16 Day Package)
Venture into a land where Nomads herd yaks in the high pastures, ponies carry your luggage, rosy cheeked locals toil the arid soil to earn a living, where Tibetan culture is almost untouched by civilization and add to this some of the BEST and most Challenging mountain biking terrain in the world and you have a simply unforgettable journey.
15th March 2015
15th May 2015
23rd Sept – 1st Time in Nepal – Female only MTB Trip.
                                                      18th Oct 2015

Jomsom Muktinath Trail *Most Popular Trip in 2014
Now with new single track options or Endurance day from Jomsom  (an optional five hour fitness challenge from Jomsom to Kagbeni). Don’t miss out on the Lubra Valley trail, one of the most popular for intermediate to advanced riders.
29th March, 27th April, 29th April
Every Sunday from the 15th Sept to the 15th Dec 2015
We are now running this trip with the super cool 2015 Model Trance 3 27.5 with 140 mm Travel!!

Kathmandu Enduro NEW IN 2015
3-5 Days of fun, culture, views and epic single tracks in the Kathmandu valley. We can tailor this trip to suit your needs
*Available from  Oct – Jun  by Private Booking. Min 2 Pax.
( We do not run this trip in the 

FIRST TIME IN NEPAL (In conjunction with White Water Asia!!)
Pedal and Paddle Tamur!!!- Go Wild in East Nepal.
Four days of mountain biking through the hills of east Nepal to Ghupa Phokari, an epic 2000m descent and 7 days of the best white water rafting in the world!! Are you ready for this adventure?

Tibet Overland – 26th August
The fabled friendship highway is a dream high up on most cyclists bucket list. This enchanting, yet challenging journey by bike takes you from the heart of Tibet and Tibetan culture across the highest Plateau in the world to Nepal! Along the way you will discover so many wonderful landscapes, rich Buddhist Culture, the base camp of Mount Everest and the longest downhill in the world. This is truly the cycling journey of a life time.

Friday, November 28, 2014

2015 Giant bikes, fresh from the box!

This morning we excitedly began opening the boxes of the new full-suspension 2015 line-up! A few key changes to the models this year might affect your choice... 

The Trance now comes with extra suspension travel, the new model Stance sits between the Trance and the Anthem with 120mm. Also check out the Anthem SX... All new in 2015 at cross country machine based on the traditional anthem gemoatry but with 120mm of travel up front, couple that with 27.5 wheel... Could we have the perfect bike for Nepal?

Have a look, click the links for full spec of the bike and drop us an email for prices.

Anthem 27.5, cross country bike - 100mm suspension travel Front and Rear
Anthem SX 27.5, cross country bike - 120mm Front fork, 100mm Rear travel
Stance 27.5, Trail bike - 120mm suspension travel Front and Rear
Trance 27.5, long travel Trail bike - 140mm suspension travel Front and Rear

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jomsom to Muktinath, by Amanda Vaughan

You know it’s going to be good, when the mountain biking trip starts with an early morning mountain flight, and you're letting a little air out of your tyres before handing your trusty steed onto the tiny plane. Our guide, Arun advised us to sit on the right side to take in the most breathtaking of the views. In reality, anywhere we looked was just amazing, and for the next 21 minutes we all gaped like kids - the lucky ones - who even got a view of the cockpit. Landing in Jomsom, the group regained speech once again to share thoughts on the enormity of the mountain range, it’s depth and beauty, those tiny settlements and who’d spotted the wild looking singletrack?! 

Greeted to some fully fresh air, and a hearty breakfast, we had enough time to drink masala tea, and chat with some trekkers who were loading up their mules ready for their Annapurna Circuit trek. We also met Hakpa, our porter who'd be looking after all of our extra stuff for the trip.  Everyone was surprised by the heat - mid November was feeling warm, and ideal for riding - even at 2,682 metres above sea level.

The first leg took us up along the Kali Gandaki river, winding through the valley on a combination of dusty jeep track and narrow singletrack. Arun was soon able to point out Kagbeni in the distance, named as the "bolt at two rivers". Before reaching the village we had a couple of options which could be viewed in the mountainscape. We chose to check out a singletrack on the other side of the river, it looked like it could drop into the village from the far side, and it was also unchartered territory for Arun, so we were all quite excited to see what it may bring....

As it turned out, that trail didn't link to another bridge, and a shepherd advised us to head back. Arun lead a new route towards the riverbed,where it would have been rude not to accept an invitation for tea in a local farmers' apple orchard. 

It was late afternoon at Red House Lodge, Kagbeni. Tilicho Peak (7,134m) was cast in deepest red with only the strongest shards of sun now braking their way through the mass of mountains from the west, and night was creeping in to bite down on the milk white capped horizon. We may as well have been sat in a museum, though it was somewhat cosier. Ancient relics adorned the walls and the layout of the settlement felt so unique. Situated within the north-south orientation of the Kali Gandaki valley, wind sweeps between the Himalayan foreland and the High plateau of Tibet, and each afternoon the wind picks up and can throw through the valley at quite a pace. The settlements, and the agriculture of the land have been constructed with this in mind, so it's pretty unique. There's even been a film made about this place, aptly named 'Kagbeni'.

Day 2 was an early start, and mainly about getting more height. We stopped for mint tea along the way, and caught the undeniable horns of a yak's head, looming out of a cone shaped wicker basket, just there by the wall. So freshly decapitated, it glistened with wet blood in the sun, waiting to be whisked away by an old lady who placed a long attached cloth strap over her forehead in front of the basket, then charged forward to lift the basket and balance it on her tiny, bent-over back.  

We arrived in Muktinath for around 2pm. Local women here competed to sell their bright, hand woven scarves as we walked up to the Temple, (3,710m). It was really beautiful, and fascinating to see how water from the Kali Gandaki has been redirected to flow through the mouths of 108 bulls surrounding the Temple. That evening, our cosy hotel was a melting pot of Nationalities, with a restaurant menu to match. Guests ranged from worn out trekkers returning from Thorong La Pass, to Christian missionaries who had come from Upper Mustang. There was a rumour going round for a few minutes that they steamed the pizza, so someone had to order it out of curiosity.

Day 3 started well, after a full night's sleep at altitude, we were good to make the last climb up to the pinnacle of our adventure. Trekkers waved us along a gorgeous singletrack, and we tackled a short, but tough climb. At this sort of height, your heart really pounds on the inclines. The views by this point though were just amazing, so we took our time, and lots of pictures. Tom spotted a freeride line, and decided to hike his way over to a steep scree slope. It started generating all this commotion with the trekking group, who had now caught us up on the singletrack ascent. Tom was by now a speck in the distance, but we all got a sweet view of him trailing dust as he set off, snaking down the mountain. He was welcomed at the top, (3,918m) with a bunch of hand shakes from others who'd seen him ride an alternative line.

From here, we were going down, and more down!! It was time to get loose on the dusty, flat corners. Open singletrack allowed for more speed, and off camber straights where grip was just a state of mind. The descent got steeper, more technical, and more fun the further down you got towards Lupra Valley. Exposed cliff edge switchbacks flashed the first views of the riverbed below, but you didn't want to look there (or think about that). The only thing to think of was the ride. Which was ace. We hit the valley floor, (2,790m) and everyone was pretty buzzing.

The rest of the day was spent riding mainly as a gang, our team of five, side by side popping over rocks and choosing our own lines amid the ancient gorge.We passed back through Jomsom, our starting point from three days earlier, and now things felt a little different. We were more accustomed or something, more attuned to the riding with its obstacles and features along the way. We marveled at a herd of yaks, the mountains had opened our senses to these beautiful mythical beasts.

We spent the evening in a stunning Dutch guesthouse. We had an open fire, fresh homemade spinach pasta, and the best apple crumble ever known to guy and girl. Out was a brilliant night sky. I think we stood out there for maybe an hour, chatting and wondering over the Milky Way, and looking out for shooting stars.

Day 4; down hill a load more. It started with some jeep track, which got fast, and super loose in places. Countless journeys made by the hand painted Indian buses and all their weighty cargo had churned up the road into this mad, and often steep, rock garden style terrain. Full suspension really came into its own here, and in places you could almost choose which features you were going to hit, like the shorter, black skull and cross bones sections you might get at a trail centre.  

We crossed over water by a series of temporary bridges, some just a skinny plank in width, and we hit a beautiful undulating singletrack, which hugged a tall overhanging white cliff, riverside. This took us into a beautiful woodland for more fast, winding singletrack through the trees. Later we veered from the river to approach a path into a forest, which could have been straight out of The Lake District, England. Rocks, earth and moss filled this jaunty singletrack, shaded by the green canopy. It was worth a push back up to ride twice.

Back into the beating sun, it was becoming more apparent that we were dropping in height. It became so green, almost jungly. We rejoined our infamous jeep track and passed a few waterfalls, one of which sprawled onto the jagged, washed out 'road' and it was hard to imagine buses could drive through it.

We arrived in Tatopani, and drank sweet, victory Lassi's (before we drank beer, of course); the guesthouse garden was drenched in tangerine trees. After a huge Dal Baht and a spot of Tibetan relic shopping, there was little more to do than take a 5 minute stroll through the quaint village to the local spring where the village got it's name, for a hot bathe, and a cold beer. At the same time. It could have been the best day yet, if you had to choose.

The final day, and it felt like the end. We continued on the jeep track, which was cast in the morning shade, and the terrain had chilled out somewhat, or we had become more accustomed to it, I can't be sure. We passed through small villages, high fiving kids on their way to school. We arrived in Beni for brunch, before thanking and waving off Hakpa, who'd magically appeared smiling every evening, with our bags. Then we jumped aboard our bus to Pokhara. 

We spent our last evening quizzing Arun, over dinner and drinks. Had he ever had any major disasters during his guiding career? Had any of his guests ever not got on with each other, or been a nightmare to work for? We were all pretty dam chuffed with our experience, almost smug. But it turns out that we were not alone. We were Arun's fifth group on this same trip, this season, and he could safely say we weren't the only ones who'd had a good time.   

Many thanks to Arun and the whole HST crew for making the trip happen, and to Jackie, Jeff, John and Tom for being top riding pals xx   

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Importance of Breakfast...

Most riders here struggle to eat breakfast before they ride and often run out of energy or have to stop for food on the way. This can hamper training. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, esp if you are exercising for fun or for training. The common comment I get from our riders is that they don’t have food at home as they don’t have the habit for breakfast or the time to make it nor can they afford it. Most common is tea and biscuits which is hardly a fore-filling first meal of the day. Its also very True as breakfast is not huge part of the lifestyle here.

Breakfast is a key meal of the day. It kick starts your metabolism and sets you up for the day...not only that by eating it you can enhance both your mental and physical performance.

Here is a simple solution

Home Made Muesli

High in slow release energy and goodness and also quite affordable to make. Make it up once every two weeks and store in plastic container. Then you can a fast and full of energy breakfast before you go riding.

500grm Plain Oats Toasted                            200nrs
1 cup Dried Dates Pitted and Chopped            90nrs                    
1 Tray Dried Apricots Chopped                    190 nrs
200grm Raisins                                              110 nrs 
100grm Almonds  Chopped                          180 nrs
100grm Walnuts  Chopped                             250 nrs 
Coconut toasted                                               50nrs
1 Sml Packet Hemp Seeds                               60 nrs
1 Sml Packet Sesame Seeds                            60 nrs

Two Weeks Breakfast - @ 85nrs Per Serving….

Serve with a mashed Banana or Mango, Milk or Curd and some Honey if you like things Sweet.

Other Tips
Out of tourist season quite often super markets have buy one get one free offers on packets of Muesli bars...They are good as a snack on the go
Bananas range from 60 to 90 rupees a Dozen, two or three bananas are great "go" food.

Remember if you don't have the habit to eat breakfast then you might feel uncomfortable  or some stomach cramping for few days....but you will get used to it and you will soon see improved results in your stamina.

Be Healthy Wealthy and Wise... :) 
Enjoy your food and your riding.