27th July - Keylong to Zing Zing Bar (4320m)

Distance - 70km

Ride Time - 5hrs 18mins

Average - 11km/hr

Total Ascent - 1811m

Total Descent - 645m

It was hard to pull myself away from the comforts and good food of Keylong, but it was time to move on. Today marked the start of my journey towards Leh on the famous Manali to Leh road. This is one of the highest motorable roads in the world with three 5000+ metres passes. I was looking forward to the challenge, but also a bit concerned at how I would handle riding at this altitude. I left Keylong early with a French Canadian cyclist I met over breakfast and covered the 39kms to Patseo before lunch. Still feeling good I continued on to Zing Zing Bar to spend the night and help with the acclimatisation. Zing Zing Bar is just a collection of parachute tents serving food and basic accomodation. There are no actual towns for much of the journey between Keylong and Leh, just some army bases and seasonal parachutes tent villages.

Te road ahead.

Caution and care make accident rare

Buddhist influence is strong in this region.

Another passport check - one of many. 

Everywhere you look the scenery is dramatic

Time for lunch at a restaurant tent in Patseo. Unfortunately the menu was not as extensive as advertised.

Fancy a row on the lake? 

Time for another snack. These makeshift restaurants are the only services between Keylong and Leh.

Plenty of provisions to keep a hungry cyclist fuelled!

The road sign says it all.

Time for a Chai!

There is always the option to sleep out the back of parachute tent restaurants.  This is a nice example of one.

I prefer the comfort of my own tent.

28th July - Zing Zing Bar to Sarchu (4408m) over Baralacha La (4918m)

Distance - 48km

Ride Time - 3hrs 31mins

Average - 11.4km/hr

Total Ascent - 599m

Total Descent - 622m

I did not cover a great distance today, but I am conscious of the altitude and ensuring that I give my body time to acclimatise before hitting some of the 5000 metres passes.  This day included climbing over Baralacha La at 4918 metres which was easier than I thought. I decided to spend the night in Sarchu which is full of parachute tents and not much else.

Early morning views as I climb Baralacha La.

Hundreds of rock cairns but by passersby 

I was more interesting than the scenery for this Indian tourist.

Great weather with a beautiful blue sky.

It's all about distance and altitude in this part of the world.

Lunch - Dal Bhat, Rice and Chappati

Bed for the night - Silent Place wasn't that silent with plenty of passing trucks.

29th July - Sarchu to Pang (4522m) over Nakeela La (4937m), Lachulung La (5077m)

Distance - 77km

Ride Time - 5hrs 31mins

Average - 12.1km/hr

Total Ascent - 1151m

Total Descent - 957m

I left Pang at sunrise knowing that I had two big passes to climb over today. By early morning I was at the base on the Gata Loops. The Gata Loops is referred to as the Alp D'Huez of the Indian Himalaya due to the 21 hairpin bends cyclists have to climb.

Early morning views. 

Video of the Gata Loops

More Gata Loops

Looking back from where I have come.

Top of Nakeela La (4937m)

Breakfast at Whisky Nalah (4802m)

Always rewarding to look back and see how far you have come today.

Top of Lachulung La (5077m)

Very pleased to be at the top.

The descent to Pang. 

The descent is not always easy!

Unusual rock formations. 

Time to rest in Pang.

The parachute village of Pang.

Video - Checking the wind for the Morei Plain.

30th July - Pang to Rumste over Taglang La (5300m)

Distance - 99km

Ride Time - 6hrs 18ins

Average - 13.4km/hr

Total Ascent - 956m

Total Descent - 1244m

I left Pang early as I had planned a big ride today which included crossing the Morei Plain and over Taglang La at 5300 metres. There was an initial climb out of Pang for about 7 kms, followed by the ride across the Morei Plain for 40 kms. Thankfully the wind was at my back as I crossed the Morei Plain. The climb up the Taglang La was tough as the road was in bad condition and the climb seemed endless. Once at the top I was blessed with brand new tarmac for the entire descent to the valley and the town of Rumtse.

Video - Crossing the Morei Plain

The road ahead on the Morei Plain. Not always great.

The climb up to Taglang La.

A combination of rough road and altitude made this climb tough.

Happy to be at the top of Taglang La (5300m). 

The descent was fast with a brand new tarmac road.

31st July - Rumste to Leh (3563m)

Distance - 87km

Ride Time - 4hrs 10mins

Average - 18.3km/hr

Total Ascent - 474m

Total Descent - 1074m

I was looking forward to an easy day and some rest in Leh when I left Rumste. The ride to Leh was not the difficult, however, there are lots of army bases to ride through and plenty of traffic to contend with making the going tough. Leh is a nice town and the capital of Ladakh. I spent a couple of days there, seeing the sights and enjoying the food and company of fellow travellers.

The road to Leh included passing the Thikse Gompa.

The town of Leh.

Shanti Stupa

Leh Palace

Leh in the morning light.

Leh Palace

View from Leh Palace