Should Cyclists Always Ride In Danger ?

Few days back, I was riding my bicycle around New Baneshwor area. I was moving along the extreme left side of the road adjacent to the pedestrian walkway, which I assumed, was a safe way to ride in a busy road. But it didn’t take long to prove me completely wrong. All of a sudden a motorcycle jumped in from nowhere and gave a hit on my front wheel, dragged it for few seconds and I was crushed into the ground. To my dismay, nobody cared. The person from the motor bike looked back, I stood up in rage and asked him to stop. He absconded in a flash. I tried noting the motorbike’s registration number but effort drifted away in vain as it was not visible. He could have stopped motorbike as soon as he saw the bicycle. But no, the belligerent ego of being on a motor vehicle got him into much superior feeling that he ran into me. Public stood and watched me being dragged,no traffic laws to protect bicycle rider and motor biker absconded in a sheer pleasure of accomplishment. With this accomplishment, he now must be more confident. He now knows that there aren’t such rules to protect the bicycle riders, hit and run won’t drag him into any trouble.

How many lives and accidents more are we waiting to realize that the strict rules regarding bicycle safety needs to be enforced soon? A motorbike zooming in with a speed in front of a helpless bicycle rider,hitting the front wheel and dragging it for few second and absconding from the scene. This kind of incident is common now a days as commuters via bicycle has dramatically increased in Kathmandu valley since economic embargo. With more number of such commuters and without proper rules and regulations, we are at great risk of raising the the percentage of accidents and death following it. Its a high time that the authority take a responsible action on these matter. Yes, bicycle lanes are of priority for safety and we can also understand that it takes some essential amount of budget and notable development effort to transform the unconventional roads of the country to cycle friendly one. This, no doubts needs years. But why aren’t we applying efforts that are easier just need some intellectual effort, not a budget eater and would produce results as soon as it comes into an effect. To start with,we just need a simple traffic rules to ensure helpless bike riders ride safely, nothing much fancy. This should not take long if we start soon.Its the utter ego and recklessness of the motor vehicles that are the causes of accidents most of the times. And these are all driven by lack of proper law and prosecution against such accidents.

I am not saying that all of the bicycle accidents are the result of recklessness and ego of the drivers, but majority of them are. There are some bicycle riders who love to perform stunts in the middle of the busy road too. Having said that, these constitute just a small fraction of the majority. Every other day I check the accident portion of various newspapers and every other day I see the a cyclist being hit by a truck,motorbike etc and driver absconded with ease. Its the affordability of running away and feeling confident is what exacerbating the situation for cyclist. Had they been prosecuted in compliance with the proper laws, for sure, situation would have been different.

Cycling from Shivapuri to Sundarijal

Trail Details 
  1. Level : Intermediate/Advanced
  2. Duration : 7-8 hours (5 moving hours)
  3. Cycle map : Checkout this MTB Trail 
  4. Distance : 55 kms 
  5. Elevation : 1470m
  6. Cycling route : Chakrapath - Budanilkhanta - Nagi Gompa - Sundarijal

About the trail:
This trail is challenging one if you are just a beginner and planning for a fun One Day simple ride with friends. Check out such beginners trails here.

Hills around Kathmandu valley offers a great variation in landscape in a single trail. This one is not an exception. This is one of the lovely trails for cycling in Kathmandu valley. For the regular cyclists with intermediate and advanced skills, this trail offers a lot of technical details to hone and test your techniques. You will need ample technical skills to conquer this trail and after you are done, you will no doubt realize where you stand in terms of the cycling techniques. The climb is around 20-25 kms and doesn't demand a great deal of stamina but be sure to use your skill set else it will be harder. Uphill is not too steep but the path is full of rocks making it harder to pedal. After the climb you will pass through lovely path between the woods, witness a typical village and a great top view of Kathmandu valley. Finally downhill starts with rocky track. Its more scary and full of technical details. It will be harder to conquer if you lack basic cycling techniques.

Recommendations for the Ride
  • Hone your cycling skills (especially downhill) before you plan this ride.
  • Perform ABC Bike Check before you begin. (Must)
  • Carry sufficient amount of food and water supplies as there are no shops in between.
  • A lot of cases of robbery has been reported at past and wild animals like leopard have been spotted frequently (we saw one during our ride). Ride in a good size of four people (minimum) and carry a swiss knife if possible.

Bike Fit - Getting comfortable on your bike

I have seen many cyclist ride a badly setup bike and give up on cycling because they were not having fun. Badly setup bike can give you aches,pains and a bike that's hard to handle. Although bike setup depends on personal preference, in this post I will give you basic tips to get a good starting point.
  • Seat Height: Seat height is critical to maximizing your efficiency and comfort on your bike.More importantly, proper seat height can prevent long term injuries. Running your saddle too high can causes pain in your back and back of your knee, seat height too low will damage your knee and reduce flexibility in hips. The optimal seat height is when you knee is slightly bent (about 30 degrees) when your feet is at the bottom of the peddle stroke. This will set you relatively close to your proper seat height and you can make small adjustments from there.
  • Break lever angle and position: Break lever position might seem like small adjustment on your bike but it might make a huge impact on your riding. The angle of the lever in relation to the bar influences your body position on the bike. Too low angle will put too much weight on the handlebar leading to crashes. Too high angle can injure your wrist in jumps and drops. A neutral position roughly 45 degrees to the bar is a good place to start. Modern brakes are designed to be modulated with one finger. So adjust your lever where one finger comes right at the end of lever to get maximum leverage.
  • Tire pressure: Tire pressure is influenced by multiple factors such as tier selection, riding condition, riding style and tubeless setup. If you ride very aggressively, high tire pressure will prevent pinch flats and rim damage. if you ride less aggressively, lowering your tier pressure can improve your grip and overall ride quality.Tubeless setup will allow you to run lower tier pressure with increased traction and much lesser chance of getting flat tiers. 
  • Stem Length: Its important that your stem length match the style of riding you do. The rule of thumb is that the more aggressive style of riding you do, the shorter is the length of the stem.If you are having hard time turning or  going over the bars while hitting small obstacles or pain in shoulder blades, get a shorter stem. And  if your front of the bike is not gripping as much, get a longer stem. Longer stem is better for climbing while shorter is better for downhill.
  • Do you need upgrade? As you keep on riding certain things will start to bother you, just tackle one thing at a time. when you are ready for your second bike after making enough adjustments on your first bike, you will exactly know what you want from your second bike.

Why do I cycle?

It has been quite some time that I have been using bicycle as my primary mode of commute. I use bicycle to commute to work and to travel around on other days. My love for bicycle as mode of conveyance is the new found love. It was mid-2014 when I gave up on my scooter and public transportation and started to cycle regularly. Cycling started as a hobby and I cycled mostly in and around Kathmandu on Saturdays calling my own adventure as #saturdaycycling. Gradually, I fell in love with cycling and started to cycle more often. In no time cycling changed the way I commute. I am often asked why do I cycle? People tend to ask me of any particular cause or factor that motivates me to use cycle on a daily basis. People often assume few things about my cycling habit. Some of the most common assumptions being; I am concerned about my health, I am concerned about the environment, I am too poor to buy a motor bike, I want to be cool, I want to present myself being different, I want to lose weight and blah blah blah. But the only reason I cycle is because I like cycling and I feel good when I cycle. This is the only underlying reason. No I am not health concerned neither an environmental activist nor poor or showoff (maybe I am, but not in relation to my cycling).

When I first started cycling for fun, I never thought I would cycle to work. I had no idea cycle would replace my scooter, make me avoid restaurants having no proper spot to park my cycle. I happened to make few new friends and renewed friendship with few old friends who shared common enthusiasm and love towards cycling. In a very smooth way, cycling got into my way of life. I also convinced my friends to get on saddle and ride around. In some instances I succeeded and in some I failed. But I'm convinced (at least for now) that cycling for me is the most enjoyable way to commute these days. I feel really good when I am in my bicycle. I remember the days when I used to find it funny if I saw a law school faculty member in a bicycle. I would have never hesitated to judge a lawyer getting to Supreme Court in cycle, a weirdo. In every way possible, I would not have missed any chance to make fun of this guy. Really, who would go to law school, to an NGO and to Supreme Court in bicycle that too in Kathmandu, Nepal? It has just been a year and I turned into the same guy, but trust me, this has been the most constructive change of my life. I also acknowledge few undeniable fact about my cycling habit. I feel it has significantly increased my stamina. I am a self-reliant commuter (my commute is not affected by fuel crisis that cripples the valley every now and then). I get to see amazing places in and around Kathmandu. I get to take pictures. I get to feel tired yet rejuvenated during trail rides. I do not have to worry about ma. pa. se. (drink and drive) every time I decide to grab a beer for myself. I have saved some money (my mom would disagree on this when considering my investment in cycling and related accessories).  I have made some really good friends (who should be reading this post rightly) and this is why you are seeing this post. Most of all, cycling makes me happy.

However, there are few concerns about cycling on daily basis in Kathmandu. The air pollution level (can fix with quality mask), getting to work all sweaty, the effect of rain on me and my fancy phone, walking in to meeting with high level professional with helmet in your hand and strap in your pants, and most of all drivers who think cyclist have no right to be on road. But again these are like minor glitches in things you love doing (you do it anyway). I love cycling even with all this concerns and challenges. However, I do not undermine these concerns and have made (or at least tried) to make myself a safer and smarter cycling enthusiast. I hope with time I will get better at addressing the downside of cycling in Kathmandu.

In closing, I would like to make it plain and simple. Cycling is fun and you might like it if you give it a shot. I do not think we need any reasons or justifications for cycling but you need some motivation, I am sure you’ll find plenty. If you are skeptic about my suggestion this is what John F Kennedy said about cycling, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.
Go Cycling!!

This wonderful guest post has been contributed by Mr. Barun Ghimire.

How to use STRAVA to find and follow new mtb trails

If you are looking for new mountain bike trail, Strava makes it very easier for you to find and follow mtb trails. If you are one of those people who is excited about cycling but is not aware of any good mtb trails around, you are at right place. Check-out our posts in section 'TRAIL LEVEL' to find amazing mtb trails to ride around Kathmandu and use Strava to follow the trail. Don't worry, even though you are not aware about the trail, Strava will not let you get lost. In this post we will guide you how to use Strava to follow the mtb trails that we have covered.
  • Download app and create account: Download the Strava app on your phone android/iphone and create a free account. You can create free account from desktop version of Strava here.
  • Find your trail: Go to any labels under the section 'TRAIL LEVEL' and click on the link to Strava which you can find under mtb trails details section of the post.
  • Star the trail: Click on the 'star' button to mark the route as starred. This route will now be saved in your profile and you can use Strava app to follow this route.
  • Loading starred route for your ride: When you are ready for your ride, open your strava app and navigate to 'Feed'-> 'Record Activity'. If your GPS is not enabled, you will be prompted with a pop-up, enable your GPS and contunue.
    Go to the 'Load Routes' at the top of the screen. Here you will find all the routes you have 'starred'. Select any of the routes you want to ride and select 'Use Route' at the bottom of the screen. Select the red button at the bottom of the screen to start your route.
  • Follow the Route: After you have started, you can see where you are (blue dot with arrow) and where the route starts from (green button with continuous red line). Once you are at the green dot (starting of the route), follow along the red line. Its not necessary to constantly view the app to follow the route but check in intervals to see if you are not deviated from the route. if you are deviated from the route try to catch the red continuous line in the map.
If you are not familiar with STRAVA, check-out our post about Strava and it's features.

Mountain Biking for Beginners - Things to consider before getting your first mountain bike

If you have come here looking for this post, let me tell you, you are making a great decision. Your decision of getting into the sport of mountain biking will change the way of your life. Having said that, however choosing a mountain bike can be overwhelming and confusing at the same time. Mountain biking has evolved so much from the time of its birth and embraced so much of new technologies that it can be confusing for someone who is new to the sport. If this is you, don't worry, I am going to guide you through exactly what you need to know before buying your first mountain bike.
The following guide will cover everything you need to know when making a decision of what mountain bike to buy.
  • Your Budget for Mountain Bike:  For most people, this is the most important element when buying a new bike. Remember that the price of mountain bikes can range widely from $200 to $2000 and the higher you pay,the better components you get. But, you don't want to spend $2000 on your first bike. Get a decent bike for $500 - $600 and upgrade to a expensive bike if you decide to continue with mountain bike. Also separate a part of your budget to buy cycling accessories. Buying a helmet, a good pairs of gloves and lights should definitely be on your list..
  • Types of Mountain Bike: There are different types of mountain bike designed for different style of mountain biking and different types of terrain. Below are the types of mountain bike and their intended use. Decide what you are looking first.
    • Hard-tail Bike: Bikes with no rear suspension are hard-tail bikes. Hard-tail bikes are good for developing riding skills and are good for pedaling efficiency.
    • All Mountain Bike: These are full suspension bikes designed for efficient peddling. They fit into category where you want to climb  uphill easily and hit downhill hard.
    • Cross-Country: Cross country bikes are light weight and fairly rigid bike designed for more long distance, walking trail style riding.
    • Trail bike: Trail bikes are designed to bear everything a rider might run into during a whole day ride. These bikes are very good balance between control and comfort.
    • Downhill Bike: These are bike designed for roughest terrain. Downhill bikes are designed to survive drops more than 20 ft.
  • What size mountain bike: Mountain bikes are not like one size fits all. As mountain bikers come in different shapes and sizes, so do mountain bikes. And remember it's very important that you get the size right. There is no exact formula for bike sizing but make sure that the bike does not feel too big, with slightly smaller frame its easier to shift your weight around to keep the bike balanced. Below chart will help you get the size that fits you perfectly. While trying bikes, also try bikes with one size above or below than the suggested size.
    Rider heightRider inside legSugested frame size
    4`10''-5`1''148-158 cm24-29''61-73 cm14''47-49 cmXS
    5`1`-5`5`158-168 cm25-30''63-76 cm15''50-52 cmS
    5`5`-5`9`168-178 cm26-31''66-78 cm16''53-54 cmM
    5`9`-6`0`178-185 cm27`-32`68-81 cm17"55-57 cmL
    6`0`-6`3`185-193 cm28`-33`71-83 cm18"58-61 cmXL
    6`1`-6`6`193-198 cm29`-34`73-86 cm19"61-63 cmXXL
    • Stand Over Height: If you have chosen correct frame size, you will have about an inch of space between your bikes top tube and your inside leg when you stand over the bike.
    • Reach from seat to handelbar: While you are sitting on you bike and holding the handelbar, you should neither feel too stretched(too long) nor to squeezed (too small).
  • Wheel Size: You have 3 options for wheel size. 26 inch are considered as standard size, 29 inch are fast and roll over obstacles easily and 27.5 inch fits right between 26 inch and 29 inch offerings. I suggest you go for 27.5, they give you good control over your bike and also roll over obstacles quite easily.
  • Brakes: Choosing right brake for your mountain bike is very important. There are basically 2 types of breaks for mountain bikes:
    • Rim Brakes: Rim brakes use two pads at each side of the rim and grab the rim when break is applied. They are light but have limited stopping power and do not work well in wet condition. I don't recommend these brakes for your mountain bike.
    • Disc Brakes: Disc brakes are best for mountain biking. They have good stopping power and work in any weather condition. Disc brakes have two flavors, mechanical and hydraulic. If you have the budget, I suggest you go for hydraulic brakes. They are responsive and extremely efficient in bringing you to complete stop smoothly and safely.
  • Components: The quality of your bike components depend on how much you spend on it. The better the components, better is the riding experience. Below chart will help you choose the components from two most popular component supplier.
BasicAcera and AltusX3
Entry level for dirt trail ridingDeoreX5
Mid-range levelSLXX7
High-end enthusiast levelDeore XTX9
Pro race levelXTRX0 and XX

When you are at the store buying your bike, don't hesitate to try few bikes and choose bike that you like and that you are comfortable with. It's only when you like your bike, you will ride more.

Evening Ride to Siddha pokhari - Ride that makes your day

Trail Details 
  1. Level : Anyone 
  2. Duration : 2-3 hours
  3. Cycle map : Checkout this Trail 
  4. Distance : 30 kms (Both way)
  5. Elevation : 344 m
  6. Route : Koteshwore - Sallaghari - Siddha pokhari -Bhaktapur Durbar Square
This evening ride is perfect for many euphoric moments. Not a day long ride but a ride like this will certainly make your day. If you want to get out of the chaos of Kathmandu valley and give your mind some peace, grab your bike and head for Siddha pokhari. Start the ride from your location and reach Koteshwore. The highway is really nice from there on. The amazing part of this highway is that there are lines made at the sideways to separate the main road, helping cyclists to ride safely. Ride on and you will pass Jadibuti, Naya Thimi and finally you will reach a junction where you need to take a detour to Nagarkot Road leaving Araniko HighwayAn hour ride from the heart of a city, Koteshowre, will place yourself to the heart of another city, Siddha pokhari. A sweet uphill pull from the detour will place you to your destination. Grab a JuJu Dhau(Famous Yogurt of Bhaktapur), calm yourself and enter siddha pokhari to feel the moment.

Watching the golden sun on the horizon ready to sign off from his day's work and the birds landing on the their feed will surely make you feel joyous. You can buy some corn made items and feed it to the fishes in the pond. Sitting aside the pond and feeding the fishes will make you forget the stressful day. After this, grab your bike and head towards Bhaktapur durbar square and ramble around. Amid the mass, you find a different sense of calmness in there. Ride yourself around 55 windows durbar, on to the narrow paths and observe what city has to offer. This ride will certainly make your day.

Some of the awesome pics here has been contributed by Mr. Barun Ghimire.(Instagram)


Strava is a community of athletes from all over the world. Strava lets you track your rides and runs via your phone or dedicated GPS device and helps you analyze and quantify your performance. Strava has become a familiar term in cycling languages and it's by far one of the best cycling apps I have come across. If you have't embraced Strava yet, here are 8 reason why you should.

  • Its Free!! : Strava actually is a free app and you don't need any dedicated hardware to use it. Although it has a paid version, the features it provides in its free version is more than enough.
  • Most cyclists are using it: Chances are that your friends might be using Strava and you don't want to miss out. Also many professional cyclist are using it. You can follow them for some inspiration and take up the challenges.
  • Friendly community of athletes: It is a platform where you can follow others and offer encouragement with likes and comments, You can also join clubs and be part of a local, or wider, cycling community. Join our club here.
  • You don't need internet connection: Strava does not require internet connection to track your ride. You just need to enable your GPS on your phone before you start your ride and you are good to go. Strava tracks the path you ride and shows it in the map. It also calculates the elevation gained during the ride, calories burned and data related your efforts. You will need internet connection to sync your ride and see the stats which you can do after returning to home.
  • It does not drain much battery: This is one of the main reasons why I love this app. You might think turning on the GPS on your whole ride might drain your phone's battery quickly but you will be surprised. For a whole day ride (about 5 to 6 hours) my phones battery drains not more than 30%-35%.
  • Compare your efforts with your riding buddies: If you are riding in a group, Strava lets you compare your efforts. You don't need extra settings for this, just use it how you normally use. Strava is smart enough to know if you are travelling in a group and will present you with the stats after you sync your activity.
  • Auto-Pause: Strava has auto pause feature. It will know when you are not moving and pause your activity. This will help you get more accurate data for your ride.
  • King of the Mountains(KOM): The reason many people become addicted to Strava is the challenge of being at the top of a leader-board on a segment. A segment can be a part of a local hill or a stretch of road between two points and a leader board compares your time with that of everyone who were on it.
Click here to learn more about Strava.

Cycling route from Sitapaila To Switzerland Park

Trail Details 
  1. Level : beginner/intermediate
  2. Duration : 4-5 hours
  3. Cycle map : Checkout this MTB Trail 
  4. Distance : 30 kms (Both way)
  5. Elevation : 835m
  6. Cycling route : Sitapaila - Ramkot - Bhedunga - Switerland Park
About the trail:
Blend of dusty and well maintained roads cutting through the forest and the civilization makes this cycling route a wonderful experience. You start off with a sweet uphill at Sitapaila warming up yourself,  then cutting through the civilization towards Bhedunga. The road that goes from Sitapaila to Bhedunga is little bit dusty but you will love yourself riding those bumps passing through the village. As soon as the village ends, this cycling route presents you with small segments of gradual climbs with green trees on one side and view of valley on the other. Most part of the cycling route is a gradual climb except for the last few climbs which are fairly steep and long and will definitely challenge your mental and muscle strength.If you are a beginner or intermediate mtb rider and are looking for mountain biking this weekend, this cycling route will not disappoint you. However don't keep your expectation high on the park itself.
Riding Experience:
We started with a quick check of our bikes and supplies. It was around 10 am when we all gathered at Sitapaila chowk and began our bike trip. The beginning was a fairly easy road taking us away from the city, however some small segments of uphills was a sweet warm up. After 45 minutes of cycling, we stopped at a local place to hydrate and fuel ourselves with eggs.
Filled with energy, We moved towards Bhedunga. The cycling route starts to get difficult from here. As we moved on, civilization became thinner and the air became more fresh. After half an hour of climb, we reached a point where road to DEURALI DANDA and Switzerland Park separates. From here  on it  was all uphill with around 3 kms of steep ride giving your muscles a test. However, the road cutting through the forest and cool breeze makes you feel with the nature. You will sweat a lot but it pays off when you finish this climb. A picture perfect view of kathmandu valley relaxes your muscle and energizes you back for some action. After few minutes of  ride of dusty road along the forest, we reached our destination, Switzerland Park.

cycling to switzerland park, kathmandu valley

cycling route to switzerland park

cycling route to switzerland park

cycling to switzerland park

Before you start your Ride - bicycle safety

If you are a mountain biking enthusiast, when you are ready for a ride all you want to do is GO!. But for your own safety and to save yourself from an unpleasant riding experience it’s really important that you get into the habit of performing three simple checks whenever hit your MTB Trails. Here are some bicycle safety tips for you.

ABC Bike Check: There's nothing worse than standing in the middle of nowhere with a broken, it is important to check your bike every time you ride.

  •  A for AIR: Always check tire pressures before riding. Remove small pieces of flint that may have lodged in your tire, as these could work their way through, causing a flat. Also, check wheel quick-releases to ensure they are fully tightened.
  • B for Break and Bolts: Breaks are very important so make sure that they are working and in condition.As a general rule your brakes should be fully applied by the time your brake lever is pulled halfway to the bars. Pay attention to break levers, break cables and break pads. Also Check handlebar, stem, seatpost, cable clamps, plus mech and mech hanger bolts frequently to make sure they’re still firmly tightened.
  • C for Chain and Controls: Have a quick run through the gears. If the chain does not move up onto the next cog smoothly, or it rattles and skips between the two randomly, make small anti-clockwise turns of the barrel adjuster — increasing the cable’s tension — on your rear mech until the chain shifts correctly. Now make sure you can shift with precision up and down the cassette.
Tools and supply check: Forget any one of the following cycling gear and you’re setting yourself up for a struggle home.Most times you can get away with them, but other times you can really ‘kick yourself’ for not bothering, or forgetting.For now, these 6 items are what I consider a bare minimum to remember for each and every ride – no matter the weather, no matter the time of year.

  •  Water: Remember drink before you are thirsty.
  • Puncture repair kit: Learn to fix a puncture and always carry a repair kit (or you can carry a spare tube)
  • Pump: No matter what, always carry a pump with you. Forget your puncture repair kit or your pump and you’ll have a long walk home!
  • Food for Energy: As a general rule, eat(light) every 30 minutes after the first hour of riding. You might not always find shops on the way, so at least buy 1-energy bar(sneakers), 1-wai-wai and 2-bananas. (depends on how long your ride is)
  • Money and a charged up mobile phone:You never know when you might need cash for a taxi home, need to buy food or need a break to have a nice cup of tea.A phone is useful for the unexpected if you get lost on route, need a lift home or need to phone the police.
  • Electrolytes: If you are planning to ride for more than an hour, it's sure that you will sweat a lot and with sweating you will loose electrolytes. Its a good idea to carry a pack of ORS or other form of electrolytes to compensate the loss. This will prevent you from muscle cramping and headache.
Climate check: Always think what to wear for cycling before you hit your MTB Trail.  Before starting your ride check the type of climate you are riding in. sometimes you may start in fairly warm temperature but your destination might be freezing cold. Be prepared for the whole ride. Carry a rain cape if there's a possibility of rain or a warm jacket if its cold. Always keep a ultralight windproof jacket for normal weather.
Remember brains before beauty, Always wear HELMET