Now that I have successfully completed the trip I can talk a lot about the cycle. Cycling from Manali to Leh crossing different peaks at different altitudes with varying terrains is definitely not easy by any stretch of imagination. A high end cycle with better gear ratio would definitely be good bet to cycle on this route and especially one with suspension, disc brakes are definitely a bonus in the terrain.
There are two stretches in the entire route which was really a “pain in the ass”. I cannot though assure that the roads in other stretches would be better next year from what it was this year. In those regions nothing can be predicted and it is always better to be prepared for the worst.
First was downhill stretch from Rohtang La to Koksar. The roads were so bad that I went claiming it to be “cock-sucker”. The second was uphill from Tso Kar towards Tanglang La. Tanglang La is the highest peak in the route from Manali to Leh.
I rode a simple cycle “Hero Thunder Racer” and I can now bet on this cycle any time. The only change I made prior to this trip was to change the tyre to the one used in Hercules ACT 110. The brakes I changed from road bike one’s to a hybrid one. The gear ratio which comes with the cycle is 3 in the front and 5 in the rear, I did not change this gear set. The handle bar positioned as a racer model, again no change to a flat handle bar. Lastly, what is so special about Hero Thunder Racer? It is pure Aluminium cycle and manufactured by Hero Cycles.
During the ride and till we reached Leh there were absolutely no issues with the cycle. No derailleur breakdown, no puncture, no cut cables, no damage to the break and no damage to the rim. It was very much possible riding on those kind of rocks and gravel that there could have been any damage to the rim, thankfully nothing. Yes couple of times in loose sand the cycle did skid but then it was easy to get down and push through.
The icing on the cake was when group of riders from other countries actually could not suppress their surprise seeing me ride Hero Thunder Racer. I believe that it is very important that people realize the potential of cycles manufactured by Hero Cycles or BSA. Their cycles also do deliver.
In this trip the cycle was just about say 30% rest was being fit mentally and physically. I definitely was not 100% physically fit going into the trip. My mental strength pulled me through. Not being 100% physically fit did have an impact since at every steep climb like Gata Loops I followed a strategy of 20secs break for every 2kms of climb.
Not one day did I had complaint of pain in the butt or thighs due to extra strain. Stretching exercises did help ease out that pain, though somewhere in-between I stopped doing stretches but other work of setting up tent and stuff helped in easing the muscles out.
One thing that I could say for anyone planning to cycle from Manali to Leh is, do not worry about the cycle, be confident and be fit.
If I do this route again in future it would be on same cycle only!🙂