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The group flight arrives in Kathmandu in the late afternoon. We will have a full briefing in the evening before dinner. The local leader will collect your passports, your return flight ticket and a copy of your insurance to secure the group visa for Tibet. Group members arriving independently today should make their own way to the hotel.
Warm-up ride along the roads and trails of the Kathmandu Valley.
After breakfast we will issue local hire bikes for anyone who requires them, and then head east into the Kathmandu Valley to explore the fantastic network of country roads and off-road trails that this area has to offer. Today is the ideal opportunity to stretch your legs and begin the process of acclimatisation.
Fly to Lhasa.
An early rise to take the morning flight to Tibet. This is one of the world's most spectacular flights, with a one hour flight over the incomparable Himalayas - keep your eye out for Everest! After landing at Gongkar airport we transfer 70km to our hotel in Lhasa's beautiful Tibetan Quarter. After checking into the hotel, we go for a walk around the Barkhor Square, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
Optional rides and cultural visits in and around Lhasa to Sera Monastery, Potala Palace, or relax in Lhasa.
Acclimatisation is very important at this considerable altitude (Lhasa is at 3680m), so for the first few days we make exploratory local rides and cultural visits to become accustomed to the thin air. Points of interest include: - The dramatic Potala Palace (Winter Palace) and the Norbu Linka (Summer Palace), the palaces of the Dalai Lama, with many temples and rooms to explore. - Sera Monastery, one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries, once housing a population of around 5500 monks, though now it numbers only a couple of hundred. - The Jokhang Temple - the most revered religious structure in Tibet - where the bustle of worshippers creates an atmosphere and spectacle as absorbing as the temple itself.
Second day of optional rides and cultural visits in and around Lhasa to Sera Monastery, Potala Palace, or relax in Lhasa.
Second day of exploratory local rides and cultural visits to become accustomed to the thin air.
Ride out of Lhasa along Lhasa River to Chusul.
Now fully acclimatised, we take to our bikes and cycle out to the Drepung Monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa. The Freedom Highway then leads us away from Lhasa down the Lhasa Valley and to our guesthouse in Chusul.
Transfer (or ride) over the Khamba La (4794m) and on to Yamdrok Lake; to Nagatze.
Following breakfast, those who feel up to it can tackle the 25km climb up to the pass of Kamba La. This tough climb will take 3-4 hours but the views from the prayer-flag-strewn summit at 4794m are spectacular. We then descend to the turquoise Yamdrok Lake where we have lunch, before taking the gentle and scenic road around to the small town of Nagatse.
Ascend to Karo La (5045m) followed by 1000m descent to Gyantse.
Following breakfast, there is the opportunity to tackle the first and (fortunately) ‘lowest' of the high passes - the 5045m Karol La. This climb will take approximately 3 hours. The subsequent descent is twice as long and descends over 1000m in altitude to Gyantse in the heart of the Yang Chug Valley. There is plenty to catch the eye here, including the Palcho Monastery and the magnificent Kumbum Stupa - a fantastic tiered structure that is now unique in the Buddhist world. You will also be able to see the beautifully located Gyantse Dzong - where Lt. Col Francis Younghusband made his infamous first stronghold in 1904.
Ride down to Shigatse.
Today's ride is a scenic and gentle 94km across beautiful plains with a dramatic mountain backdrop. After a mid-ride lunch stop, we continue across the plains into Shighatse, Tibet's second largest city and home to the controversial Panchen Lama, whose home is traditionally at the Tashilunpo Monastery.
Rest day in Shigatse and visit Tashilhunpo Monastery.
Visit the huge Tashilunpo monastery complex. During our time in Shigatse, the necessary permits will be issued for visiting Everest Base Camp.
Cycle the passes of Tra La (4050m) and Tsuo La (4520m) to Lhatse.
A gentle start to the day with rolling terrain across the Shigatse Plains. A long but gradual climb then takes us to the double passes of Tra La (4050m) and Tsuo La (4520m). There is then a fantastic descent which flattens out before we arrive at our guesthouse at Lhatse.
Gyatso La (5248m) challenge.
A day to test the legs! We leave Lhatze and ride to the foot of the Gyatso La, before climbing to the summit of the pass at 5248m! This is the highest pass on the Friendship Highway and a steady effort will be needed to conquer it. The sight of Everest looming into view is the reward for attaining the summit, as we gradually approach the Himalayan chain.
Follow the Friendship highway to Tingri
After yesterdays big mountain pass, today we have a slightly easier day on the bikes as we follow the smooth tarmac of the Friendship highway all the way into Tingri where we will see views of Everest in the distance.
Cycle to Rongbuk Monastery near Everest Base Camp.
We leave Tingri which is bordered by the mighty Himalayas and we will have distant views of Everest, Cho Oyu, as well as the ruins of buildings destroyed in the 18th Century Nepalese invasion of Tibet. We will ride through the wide valley and over the Lamma La pass into Jarongbuk. We drive and ride on wide jeep tracks gaining 860 meters of altitude.
Rest day at Jarongbuk and visit to Everest Base Camp (5200m).
After breakfast, we take to our bikes and head slowly up the gravel jeep trail to Everest Base Camp. The route is only 4km, but the stunning views and thin air mean it might well take 90 minutes! The views from Base Camp are spectacular and offer a 360 degree panorama of the high Himalaya to put your photographic skills to the test! After enjoying the ambience of Base Camp, we return to our tented accomodation where our cooks will have prepared another amazing lunch! The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the incredible surroundings.
Cycle over the Nam La (5100m) and down to Tingri.
Heading back out of the wide valley, a turn-off takes us over the Nam La pass and along smaller tracks to Tingri, a little town overlooking the sweeping plains. Tingri is bordered by the mighty Himalayas and we will have distant views of Everest, Cho Oyu, as well as the ruins of buildings destroyed in the 18th Century Nepalese invasion of Tibet.
Ride the passes of Lalung La (4950m) and Yarle Shung La (5200m) and start the epic downhill towards Nepal!
We usually drive to the first of the double passes of Lalung La (4950m) before riding down and up to the Shung La (5200m), the last pass in Tibet. The high-altitude lunch spot here is fantastic with tantalising views of Shishipangma. Lunch is made even more enjoyable for knowing that it is now more than 4000m down to Nepal! We begin our epic descent by thundering down to Nyalam where we will spend our last night in Tibet.
Cross the border into Nepal and continue on down towards the Kathmandu Valley.
Not a high pass to be found today! At Zhangmu we pass through Chinese customs before continuing down to Nepal, crossing the famous Friendship Bridge at Kodari. Please remember to ride on the left in Nepal! From Dolalghat we transfer to Dhulikhel.
Ride through Kathmandu Valley to Kathmandu.
After a fine breakfast we head off through the greenery of the Kathmandu Valley towards our final destination, Kathmandu via the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bhaktapur, where we will have the time to visit the beautiful Durbar square. From here we transfer to our hotel where we pack up the bikes, shower, and prepare for our well-earned farewell celebration dinner.
Our tour finishes after breakfast.