Friday, June 8, 2012

Riding for A Cause – Kathmandu Kora Cycling Challenge

A bike is a means of travel, yes its true but to our cycling community in Nepal it’s so much more than that, it’s part of us, part of our daily routine, a means to get from a to b, to have fun, for some people a chance to race, to show skill and talent, but for most of us a simple form of enjoyment with nature, friends and our bikes! And if we can use our passion in riding bikes to raise money for a good cause then what better reason to get out there on July the 21st and ride the Kathmandu Kora, have fun, make new friends, challenge yourself and help this cause.

So what is the Kora? The kora is a circuit route of the Kathmandu Valleys lower hills, suburbs and sights. About 50km of riding will take us in a complete loop of Kathmandu.

The event coordinators have a fundraising target of 500,000 nrs which will be spent in the Rukum to help improve facilities at the local birthing center. Money will be used to purchase mattresses for birthing beds, stainless steel scissors, torch lights etc for Birthing Facilities which at the moment are very inadequately maintained and equipped. The idea is to help combat the 25,000 deaths per year of new born babies in Nepal.

So get involved, be a rider taking the challenge or sponsor a rider and help this cause. Himalayan Single Track is entering a team in the Kora and we have a target to raise 50,000 rupees towards the cause, so please help us by sponsoring.

BE a SPONSOR: We are asking people to pledge Rs. 100 per kilometer that each rider rides. Say, we have 100 riders who each do 50 kms – that’s 5000 kms – If we get Rs. 100 for each of that kilometer, we will have raised Rs. 5,00,000 – OUR TARGET

You could sponsor just a few kilometers, or a number of riders, or the whole amount.

Get involved.... lets make cycling work for charity.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Himalayan Outdoor Festival – A beginning

Last weekend saw the opening of the inaugural Himalayan Outdoor Festival, the festival is the brain child of some very inspired outdoor types who wanted to bring all kinds of outdoor sports together under the pine needle roof of Hattiban. The festival held over three days was a big success and those of you who missed it should pen it in your calendar for next year! This event is going to get bigger and bigger and is exactly the injection that outdoor and adventure sports in Nepal needs to kick things up a few notches.

Friday 11am not much was going on up at Hattiban, but as the skies opened with rain, hordes of volunteers and event organizers descended from no-where and battled the heavy winds to transform the pine forest and Hattiban Resort into an outdoor sports paradise.

Up hill race winners
One of the first events of the festival was the Uphill Mountain Bike Challenge powered by Marmot. Races lined up at the bottom of the hill and awaited dusk; this race was perhaps the first of its kind in Nepal. 20 or so riders battled out the steep, bumpy climb from the road to the resort in the dark, most of them without lights! Cheering crowds got the festival into the spirit of things. Naryan Gopal won the race, but we also need to plug our own Aayman Tamang who normally is about ten minutes off  Naryan’s pace, he came second just 1 minute behind him! Super improvement this year from Aayman, we think he’s almost ready to take the top step of the podium!
At the climbing wall

An overnight windstorm and rain almost flattened the venue, but did not damper the spirit of the event. The day kicked off with the Hattiban Super Challenge MTB Race, powered by Himalayan Single Track held over a 2.5km track which slipped and slid its way around the pine trees. 10 and 5 k trail running was also held on this day. Runners and riders finishing at the same time added to the spectator enjoyment. It was also nice to see women participating in both events, though most where foreigners…come on Nepalese girls where are you all….? The time is now for you girls to get into the sports like mountain biking and running and there are plenty of people ready to support you. 

A tight XC Course
In the afternoon was the Downhill Super “D”, the team from Chain and Epic pulled out all stops to make a brilliantly fast and challenging short course which the riders ripped up! It was good also to see some new faces in the downhill line up and the fast and furious pace was much appreciated by the hordes of spectators who turned up to watch the boys on big bouncy bikes!

The best thing about the festival was the sports converging on each other, climbers, runners, XC riders, down hill riders all had the chance to mingle and understand other disciplines and even better was the chance after all the huffing, puffing, running and racing was over, there was a huge party with live music and food so everyone could relax, mingle and tell their tails of triumph or woe or just plain old fun. This kind of community building is essential for the long term stability of all sports in a developing country like Nepal and it was a very brave step to take by the event organizers….and one we LOVED!
Taking a flyer in the Super D

It was super fun and many lessons were learned about how this event can go bigger, badder and better in 2013 and we hope that more people will attend, support and sponsor such a great event. May long live adventure sports in Nepal! And a huge thank you to everyone involved.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Building a Race Course – Building a community, Building the Future

When the organizers of the Himalayan Outdoor Festival approached Himalayan Single Track with the idea of having some kind of mountain bike race as part of the festival, we were very excited. We made a few trips to Hattiban to see how we could tackle the problem of building a cross country style course in a pine forest on top of a hill… easy task.

Races are important for the future development of mountain biking in Nepal and for the training and development of rider’s skills as well as the development of a strong and tight-nit mountain biking community. Once we decided that the potential was there it was the task of getting out there and creating the track. Yesterday we went to Hattiban and did just that, built a race track.

But this is not something that Himalayan Single Track can take any credit for. Yesterday 12 riders went to Hattiban, including several of Nepal’s top ten riders, lead by Ajay Pandit Chettri who showed incredible determination, skill and leadership to transform the pine needle strewn hill top into a fantastic race course.
Because of the amazing team work and passion shown by the riders yesterday, we no longer want to call this race Himalayan Single Track’s race, it belongs to the riders, and too the mountain biking community in Nepal. Hattiban  MTB Super Challenge  will be held on the 2nd of June 2012 as part of the Himalayan Outdoor Festival,  supported by Himalayan Single Track and the Himalayan Outdoor Festival.

The course is short, 2.5km, technical, challenging and something that we hope will showcase the skill of Nepal’s riders to the crowds attending the festival. The course is 90% single track, winding in and out of the pine trees, technical downhill, steep climbing and jumps.

Entry forms will be in mountain bike shops in Kathmandu from Friday the 18th. Entry fee costs 500 nrs, the entry fee going towards the cost of race course constructions and prizes. Entry closed on Wednesday 30th of May. At the moment we will have Open category but if we get enough entries there will also be women’s and fun rider category. In any case prizes will be award to 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners and first finishing female and fun rider held over a shorter course.
We hope that all riders will come out and support the race and the Himalayan Outdoor Festival. And a huge thank you to all the riders who turned up at Hattiban on Wednesday to help work on the track.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Journey on a Giant Bike

Many people ask us when they come to our shop, why we choose to sell Giant Bikes. I am Jenny, co-owner of Himalayan Single Track and this is my story of how Giant bikes has become part of my life and also why Santosh and I choose to promote and sell the brand in Nepal. I hope you like my story....

In my country Australia, biking has always been associated with the brand Giant, with adventures and with discovering new places and making new friends. Ever since I was a kid growing up in Australia I can remember every kid in my street had a giant bike, BMX was the craze back then and I have fond memories of my girls pink BMX bike, complete with basket on the front, I don’t have so fond memories however of riding into a brick somebody left in the middle of our favorite hill and putting my front tooth through my lip. My first bike, my first visit to hospital. 

The bikes grew with us, from BMX, to teenagers bikes and then to road bikes that we could peddle and peddle and peddle. These memories of blood, tears, adventure and endless days of fun from our childhood, when the days never seemed to end, dirt did not matter and food was always on the table for us when we got home, those careless trouble free days where our Giant bikes provided us with adventure! 

Those days have long passed and there has been many bikes in my life, all of them Giant, my first mountain bike too was a Giant and my second and my third…..Hardtail cross country bikes that took me from being a road rider in Australia to discovering the rugged terrain of Nepal. From learning to ride up long steep climbs and down steep technical tracks, to my first multi day trips and my first ever mountain bike race and beyond that into the heart and soul of a country, its culture and its nature. 

The trails of Nepal are lot harsher, a lot tougher and a lot more real than those purpose built MTB trails back home and our smooth black topped streets.  In Nepal, I learnt what Single Track meant in Nepal, I learnt what real mud was and what it really meant to ride up hills, I also learnt the value of a good mountain bike, of quality components. The giant MTB Bike is a workhorse, you can ride and abuse it all day, throw it in the shed and do the same all over again the next, why bother cleaning it? If your bikes too clean your not a real rider. Giant bikes are great they just work, day in day out…..

Today I still ride Giant, It’s part of me and its part of my upbringing, my culture, my personality, it’s a bike that can grow and travel with me. My bike is my life, my office, my work, my family, my friend.

So of course at Himalayan Single Track, me and my Business partner Santosh choose to sell and promote Giant bikes in Nepal. We sell the Giant Brand in our shop at Himalayan Single Track, why? It’s a brand that we know and that we trust and we want to pass on to our customers a bike for them that can also take them on their own adventures.

Giant is a brand we trust. You can make it yours too.

Giant, A Bike for Your Every Adventure

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nepal – From Mountains to Plains

The unique geographic diversity of Nepal offers something for all levels of Mountain Biker, from the snow capped peaks of the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalaya’s, right down to the dusty plains of the Terai and everything in between.

Long renowned as one of the world’s best trekking trails, this fable route of the Yak Attack, one of the toughest mountain bike stage races in the world is an excellent place to test your skill and stamina. Here you will learn what mountain biking in Nepal is all about. Pit yourself against nature and the wilderness as twelve days takes you from the humid sub tropical valleys around Kathmandu up through ancient mountain trade route to Throng La at 5600 meters. The route is dotted with mountain villages and culture. Along the way sometimes you will have to carry your bike sometimes it will carry you, you will learn to love your bike and savor the challenge. You will learn to respect the mighty Himalayas and go beyond your own limits and fall in love with this amazing country and this inspiring trail.
Best Time – March/April/May, September/October/November
2012 Departures – 17th September, 30th September

Upper Mustang
The place that makes grown mountain bikers cry! This high altitude arid region boasts some of the most mind-blowing scenery on earth, not to mention some truly brilliant mountain biking. Cycle deep into the heart of Tibetan culture and fall in love with the people, landscapes and trails of Lo. Discover the walled kingdom of Lo Mantang and have tea with the king. The best bit is the biking, challenging climbs, heart pounding single tracks and rolling switch back downhill’s make this one unforgettable expedition.
Best Time – April/May, October/November
2012 Departures – 24th September

Red dirt, Sal Forests, Tamang villages and rocky river beds are the heart and soul of riding in the Terai. Single tracks traverse from plateau to plains through terraced fields of rice and maize.. The true spirit of single tracks, free riding and mate-ship can be found here in the low lands of Nepal at a Farm House resort called Life Cycle. Life Cycle is one of the best places to ride, meet riders, and then chill out. Right on the resorts door step is a dam side pump track where you can hone your skills before hitting the real trails. This place is super fun for experienced riders and a brilliant way for novice riders to build confidence and skill.
Best Time – October to April
2012 Departures – Every weekend

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The current situation for professional riders in Nepal is not ideal. For the first time in 2012 Mountain Biking will be recognized as a National Sport and the National Championships will be held with support of the Nepal Sports Council. This is the first of many positive steps required for building professional mountain biking in Nepal. 

Events like Yak Attack and Trans Nepal are trying to bring the world spotlight onto Nepal’s mountain bikers to help them in the future. There are some extremely talented riders here with far superior climbing and technical skills than any one would expect and with the right sponsorship and support they can certainly make a brake on the world stage within the next five years.

But presently races are few and far between, when they do happen they are poorly sponsored, riders get maximum one week notice prior to races making it impossible to train and prepare, and prize money is little. Most riders work full time and the average salary they earn is between US$60 to US$200 per month and with families to support as well as rent and living requirements there is no money left to fulfill the proper nutrition requirements for training, let alone to purchase and maintain performance bikes and the equipment associated with riding on a professional level. Yet despite this, each year Nepal’s top four riders manage to compete in the Asian Mountain Bike Championships, fill the top two or three position in Himcahal the 8 day stage race in India and to date have always filled the top ten positions in Yak Attack one of the toughest stage mountain bike races in the world on sub-par bikes, without proper clothing and surviving on local food and rice! The caliber of riders in Nepal is incredible; imagine if this potential was nurtured to its fullest. We believe that with the right support and sponsorship, within five to seven years a Nepalese rider can be competitive on the world circuit. Himalayan Single Track is aiming to be an active part of that process by helping the riders get the support they need to succeed.

With the help of many friends and fellow mountain bikers we started the Yak Attack Riders Fund, a support base that raises funds to help riders with the entry fees and other expenses associated with competing in Yak Attack, now we want to take this one step further and with Extreme World Challenge Uk also coming to the table with a riders fund we are talking about creating a solid fundraising/sponsorship base with extensive training programs, nutritional support and help with access to bike parts. Our joint aim …. Getting Nepalese riders into the 2016 Olympics. Right here right now this seems like a huge task, with something as important as a regular yearly  National Championships and long term sponsorship for riders no-where in sight it seems like an unachievable  task, but our dedication and work starts right here right now. We want to build the blocks that will help riders achieve these dreams.

Proper management of funds, and the support and commitment of riders and all parties involved is critical to the success of the project. So we are posting this blog to put the idea out there to the local and international community that has a stake in mountain biking in Nepal and we are looking for your comments and interest in this project which is in its infancy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the future of professional mountain bikers in Nepal, to build the sport to an elite level with a permanent fixed calendar of races, a pool of sponsors and funds for riders and to help some pretty talented athletes achieve their full potential.