Cyclists are required to carry their personal gear which includes a day pack, besides of course a good quality mountain bike with sufficient spare parts. Hybrid bikes with sturdy mountain tyres are most suitable for this rugged journey. Cyclists should ensure the spare parts include; chain links or chains, spare tyres and pump, at least 4 spare tubes and puncture repair kit, cables, pedals and a good tool kit. A good repair kit and spares will be brought along by us, however, it is essential that every cyclist carries some spares as this ensures you have spares that fit your bike. Support members will be present to assist with repairs when you are biking and also at our overnight halts should problems be more complicated. If you plan to buy a new bike before the trip, make sure you are absolutely familiar with it, prior to you departure. You should also ensure you fit at least 2 one litre water bottles to your bike, though water will be available from the back up vehicle throughout the journey.
Clothing for High-Altitude
The trick is to find an ideal mix of sweat-soaking and cold protection clothing. The issue is that you will start out cold, warm up and break into a sweat which on a down slope with the wind-chill factor can be quite bone chilling.
The following items are useful:-
- Windproof/waterproof trekking shoes with stiff sole (if possible, with neoprene boot covers).
- Gloves with inner liners.
- Glasses that wraparound and protect your eyes from the sun, UV and dirt. Clear and orange lenses will always be a value addition.
- Lightweight ski socks.
- Layering keeps you comfortable in changing conditions, and the thin, featherweight materials used in cycling apparel makes packing and layering up or down easier.
- Headgear - A fleece liner inside your helmet will keep your head and ears warm while the helmet will provide adequate protection.
- Always wear a Helmet.
- Never ride beyond your control.
- Know the texture, turns & bends of a trail/road. If not, be slow and play safe.
- Follow traffic and hill driving norms and always stay on the side of safety.
- Know your bike and body limits before embarking on the journey.
- Beware of wild dogs and yak menace.
- Be careful not to frighten any animal. The trick is to pass by discreetly. In case threatened, stand still and hope the animal forgives you. In case charged at, rush to the nearest high ground or curb in the road.
- Ensure right of way to the faster cyclists!
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- Make sure that your bicycle is of the right height and that once mounted, you are able to place both feet on the ground. This is necessary to ensure that you are able to break any falls, in case of rugged terrain or bad road conditions. Also en sure that the bicycle seat is comfortable and suited to your height and weight.
- On long rides such as the Manali-Khardungla Cycling Championship, always carry two bottles of water - one for drinking and the other for washing dirt off scrapes and bruises or for cleaning equipment. Also carry enough energy bars or high carbohydrate snacks and energy drinks to keep you going.
- A basic first aid kit containing bandages, antiseptic lotion/cream, cotton, pain relief sprays, standard over the counter anti-allergens and anti-pyretic drugs and your prescription drugs if any, is a must in your backpack.
- Make sure that your bicycle is in good condition and that the brakes, gears and wheels are all running smoothly. Watch out for strange sounds or unnecessary drag. It just may mean that an overhaul is required.
- If this is your first long distance ride - always, always, always - train for the distance you are challenging to do. A good weight training program coupled with regular bicycling bouts before D-day often makes the difference between success and failure, no matter how short or long the journey is.