Cycling Adventure in Sikkim: Ride the Silk to Dzuluk

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As the regular readers of this blog know, I just returned from Sikkim. I visited various parts of the state and in Gangtok, I was hosted by Manisha at the Tagalong Hostels, where she also told us about the event she organizes every year, a cycling event to the old silk route in Dzuluk. While my participation in the event is suspect considering other engagements, I am putting this up for  those who might be interested. I am just the messenger here. Contact Manisha using the contact details given below if you want to participate. These photographs have also been provided by Manisha.

As a matter of fact, I can see that mountain biking is really becoming popular in the Himalayan areas as well as North East India. Adventure cycling is physically demanding but I think it is a more environment friendly trend compared to driving or riding motorcycles. So, this is good to see a cycling event like this in Sikkim.

What and where is Dzuluk?

Zuluk or Dzuluk is a small village in East Sikkim that is becoming a popular tourist destination. It was a part of the eastern Silk Route that connected Tibet to the ports of Bay of Bengal. This is the area beyond Nathu La and very close to the border, which is why it requires permist for visitors. But the process is simple for tourists and there are homestays in Dzuluk  and many other villages on this route.

Read Dzuluk Travel Guide for more details.

What is Ride the Silk?

Ride the Silk is an epic 5-day cycling journey along the ancient Silk Route in East Sikkim that will change your perception towards high-altitude cycling forever. An insane 160-km adventure ride along the 900-km trade route, that once  connected Lhasa to the port of Tamluk in West Bengal in the first century A.D. The thrill of kick-starting the ride from Aritar in East Sikkim, rising up the many hairpin bends – the Zuluk loops, and then to Nathu La mountain pass at 14,000 ft, moving close to the Indo-China border and finally completing the ride on reaching Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim.

Ride The Silk 4.0 Dates

This year the dates of the event are from 23rd-30th March 2019

Day-Wise Itinerary of Ride the Silk

Here is the day to day itinerary for the ride.

Day 1: Bagdogra/Pakyong to Aritar – 120 km

Pick up from Bagdogra/Pakyong Airport by mid-day and drive to Aritar (120 kms/4-5 hours). Check into a nice, local homestay, where you rest and prepare for the ride ahead.

Day 2: Aritar to Phadamchen – 36.7 km

The ride flags off from Lampopkhri Lake in Aritar (4,600 ft), and you initially ride downhill towards Rongli and then uphill towards Phadamchen (8,000 ft) by covering 36.7 km and gaining 3,400 ft. Enjoy local hospitality and cuisne at a homestay in the evening.

Day 3: Phadamchen to Dhupidara – 24 km

Leave Phadamchen early and steadily ride up 10-km stretch of pine forests  to reach the point from where you will start seeing the famous 32 hair-pin bends of the Zuluk loops. By the time you reach Dhupidara, you will cycle 24 km and gain 3,500 ft. Depending on teh weather, you will get clear views of the Dzuluk loops as well as the Kanchendzonga from here. Check into another homestay.

Day 4: Dhupidara to Gnathang via Zuluk Loops – 9 km

Today will be a relatively shorter ride through the iconic Zuluk Loops for around 9 KMs to Gnathang (13,500 ft) where you will check into another homestay for the night.

Day 5 – Gnathang – Nathu La – Gnathang – 29 km

Today you will ride to the Nathu La, near the border to China, visiting several landmarks including lakes and temples dedicated to fallen soldiers.  Return to Gnathang at the end of the day.

Day 6 – Gnathang – Tsomgo Lake – Gangtok – 59.5 km

Today will be a long but downhill ride towards Tsomgo Lake, which is one of the most popular destinations in Sikkim. At the end of the day, you will reach Gangtok and check into the Tagalong Backpacker Hostel.

Day 7: Gangtok Sightseeing

A complete rest day in the city. You can just relax at the hostel or explore Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The places to explore in and around Gangtok include monasteries like Rumtek, Enchey and Tsuk La Khang, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park, Hanuman Tok, Tashi View Point, Lal Bazaar and M.G. Marg. If your zeal for adventure is still unsatiated, take a dig at Paragliding. For food lovers, authentic local delicacies, and unheard-of flavors await you.

Day 8: Gangtok – Bagdogra – 123.4 km

Drive to Bagdogra Airport from Gangtok and move on to your next destination.

How to Participate in Ride The Silk?

You can simply arrive in Sikkim and join the group. Bikes and other necessities will be provided by the organizers. However, if you want to bring your own bike, it can be done too. In that case, you will get a small discount.

How do I register for the Ride?

As mentioned already, I am just the messenger. So, just call or mail using the details below to register or inquire about the cost etc.

Tagalong.Asia

phone – +91 – 7550925535 email – [email protected]

 


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Jitaditya Narzary

Is a traveller disillusioned by the familiar and fascinated with the unknown... and of course the founder of this blog.

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