Dad was excited about biking in Kathmandu. Why not? He’s an avid cyclist, biked to work for years, and has overcome the Pyrenees, circumnavigated France, Spain, Italy, Vietnam and parts of New Zealand by bike. We did a small ride earlier in the week, courtesy of a loaner bike from Ryan (Thanks, Ryan!) and today we set off to conquer Shivapuri National Forest and then ride on to Helipad and through the pine forest. This was to be a primer for Saturday’s repeat of the ride, in order to check our pace.
At 10, we rode off from the house, watered and vetted, and appropriately insulated from the cold. By 11 we reached the foothills and by 11:30 we were taking a break for milk tea. By noon we had paid our entry fee and were climbing steadily up the hillside, switching back and forth was the landscape shrank below us, looking as though we were in a small plane. We made it to the end of the road-portion of our journey and took a cliff bar break. We pushed off road into a jungle track and climbed up the “technical” (outdoorsman-speak for “difficult”) route into the forest.
By 1:00 I realized I was not going to be back in time to pick up the girls from school and texted our Didi to pick them up. By 2:00 we were out of cell range. We looked down into the smoggy valley and breathed. We zoomed down the bumpy path, rattling with the hard tails on our bikes, and splashed through streams. By 2:30, I realized I certainly wasn’t going to be back in time to collect Lucas from the bus stop. I finally got into cell range by 3:05 and called the Didi. Mom would get Lucas. Relief. Dad and I moved down past Helipad into the pine forest and wove along an even narrower track, wind whipping around us, sand and pine needles beneath us, down the foothills of the valley. We emerged in the basin just past 4, and crept across the steppes in low gear as people were closing up shops and making their way home. We slipped into rush hour traffic on a main road and made it home in time for me to make some pizza for the crowd. Excellent day! We decided to bail on Saturday’s ride 🙂