Shimla: Cycling through the rugged mountain tracks of Himachal Pradesh is on a roll. And this time, the adventurous mountain bikers are not just foreigners. At a nine-day, 438-km long mountain biking (MTB) expedition here last week, 62 of the 75 cyclists were Indians - most of them with white collar jobs in big cities. "Initially, Hercules MTB Himachal used to see mostly foreigners. But for the past three-four years, the expedition is getting popular among Indians. A major chunk of them are corporate executives from metros," said Mohit Sood of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA).
The club in Shimla had organised the expedition, considered one of toughest in the world, during Sep 29-Oct 6. "The trend to explore nature on a cycle is getting popular among domestic adventure lovers too. They now see mountain biking as an adventure holiday for healthy living," he said. "It is an exercise of the mind and the body," said Saminder Saluja, a cyclist from Delhi who participated in the expedition. "For the past few years, I have been a regular participant."
The growing enthusiasm among Indians for mountain biking has also meant growing business for travel agents and tour operators. Those in the adventure tourism industry in Kullu and Manali say the best time to pedal in the hills, especially in the higher reaches, is from June till snowfall begins in November. They also list the best cycling routes. The 475-km Manali-Leh road linking the tourist hill
12:01 PM, Oct 11, 2012