After trekking to the Annapurna Base Camp and cycling the entire Annapurna Circuit there was one more thing we wanted to do before leaving Nepal: Getting from Pokhara to Kathmandu by bike avoiding the main road.
We found it rather hard to find motivation again after we completed the Annapurna Circuit. It had been such a huge goal and we kind of missed having a next one.
We stayed in Pokhara a few days and then finally started our way to Kathmandu. The main road is considered one of the worst roads to ride a bike. It's narrow, the potholes are countless and the Nepali drivers scare the shit out of you. So instead of taking this road we opted for an alternative route on secondary roads. Because of Emma and Rob we knew it was possible to do it. Inspired by how they had done it and after some more research on Strava, Komoot and Ride with GPS Andreas had built a tough but mostly rideable route from Pokhara to Kathmandu .
The first two days were super nice, but the third consisted of too many, too steep and too sandy dirt tracks to call it a good ride anymore. Quite exhausted we arrived in Bandipur and started a huge and stupid fight over where to stay until we found a nice homestay. It was time for a restday.
>>> Strava file Pokhara - Begnas Lake (19 km, 240 m elev. gain)
>>> Strava file Begnas Lake - Damauli (50 km, 830 m elev. gain)
>>> Strava file Damauli - Bandipur (31 km, 1320 m elev. gain)
Desire for change...: Maybe we had simply spent a little to much time in Nepal or maybe we were just spoiled from the places we had ridden our bikes so far. Fact was that after leaving Pokhara for Kathmandu we didn't enjoy the riding as much as we had before. The sceneries were still nice but just not as spectacular as the ones in the previous weeks. The Nepali dust roads were demanding, too, but nothing we had not done before. Maybe the difference really was that the views were not as rewarding as in the Himalayas and therefore we had to push ourselves hard to keep on riding.
>>> Strava file Bandipur - Gorkha (50 km, 1017 m elev. gain)
After another two mentally and physically tough days we arrived at a beautiful camp spot by the river and spent a lovely evening sitting around a bonfire with some locals and volunteers from abroad. It was just what we needed.
>>> Strava file Gorkha - Ghyalchok (42 km, 700 m elev. gain)
The next day we gave the mainroad a chance but after 20km and numerous near death experiences we decided to take a minibus for the last 40km to Kathmandu. We're still not sure if it was the safer option though, as the driver was pretty crazy and obviously would be worldchampion if he was racing cars professionally.
>>> Strava file "22 km on the Pokhara - Kathmandu Highway"
After some days in Kathmandu where we were hosted by some lovely and generous warmshower hosts we said goodbye to Nepal and jumped on a plane to our favourite road cycling destination in South East Asia: Chiang Mai, Thailand.
>>> Click here to see our entire Nepal route (incl. Annapurna Circuit) in details and download the gpx-file.