Cycling in shimla

#1 May 3rd, 2010, 00:35
Join Date:
Apr 2005
Park Cafe, Shimla
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Distances – 88 kms NE of Kalka, 115 km NE of Chandigarh, 234 Km NW of Dehradun, 342 Km N of Delhi.

Shimla is the capital town of Himachal Pradesh. Though, known as “The queen of hills”, “an ideal summer destination”, etc, attracting leisure tourists from around the world, Shimla also has a lot to offer for the more active, adventure seeking tourist. The hills are robed with dense forests of oak, deodar, pine, fur and rhododendron. The high mountain peaks, steep slopes, deep valleys, waterfalls, rapids and colorful natural flowers form the scenic natural beauty of Shimla. Shimla derived its name from 'Shyamala' - the name of Goddess Kali whose temple once existed in the forest which covered Jakhoo Hills. The place gained prominence after the British arrived here in 1819. They made it their summer capital in 1864. With its enticing location, the incomers were quick to explore the surrounding Shivalik foothills and before long, some of the worlds’ first trekking agencies were set up here, offering treks to officers and their families.
Cycling is one of the activities, which is rewarding in Shimla. Mountain cycling can be experienced in its best in Shimla. Forest trails, old footpaths (Singletracks), backroads, an ideal altitude (2200 – 2400 meters), lots of uphills and lots of exciting downhills, make Shimla and its environs a world class playground for Mountain Cycling. MOUNTAIN BIKING HIMACHAL, said to be the toughest Mountain Biking event in India, also starts from Shimla, and winds its way through Shimla District, before getting to Manali.
Come to Shimla to enjoy a rewarding holiday on cycles for one day, two days or stretch it to 5-6 days, we assure it will never let you down. Shimla is also the base camp for long touring holidays up north into Kinnaur, Spiti Valley in the Trans Himalayas or just exploring the neighboring Apple country on cycles.
Good infrastructure, connectivity, boarding and lodging places suiting every budget, make Shimla a preferred destination for Cycling. Defined below are a few circuits in Shimla, for cycling enthusiasts. You can choose your circuit, couple it with a few others, add another activity (Rafting, Hiking, climbing etc), and can experience a most pepped up holiday of your life.

Mashobra Distance – 14km N of Shimla
is a wooded glade near Shimla. Situated at a height of 2600 m, Mashobra is a retreat with apple orchards, pine and oak woods. It has numerous glades, streams, glens and Trails, and is ideal for Mountain Biking, camping, picnics, and treks. The thickly wooded slopes of Mashobra are part of the Shimla Reserve Forest sanctuary and catchments area. This place is the habitat for jackals, kakkar (barking deer) and leopard, and variety of bird species such as the Himalayan eagle, pheasants, chikor and partridges. The Ride from Mashobra to Baikhalty (18kms) is one of the best in the region
Naldehra – 30 km NE of Shimla lies Naldehra perched at 6706ft, it boasts of an 18 hole (played twice over) golf course, developed by Lord Curzon in the pre independence era of the British, making it India’s oldest golf course. When not playing golf, there are numerous walks through the thick woods at Naldehra, rich in flora.

Craignano – 3kms from Mashobra, Craignano is one more old pre independence era retreat, named after the Italian countess of Craignano. In 1890 Craignano was turned in to the united service club. Craignano’s another claim to fame is the world’s highest water lift (7657 ft) built by the British that still serves Shimla.

Tattapani – 35 kms from Naldehra Tattapani on the banks of the river Sutlej is famous for its healing sulphur springs. Also there is an old cave dedicated to lord Shiva, discovered in the 1950’s. 11 kms from Tattapani is Chabba, the put up point for white water rafting on the Sutlej.

Mashobra to Baikhalty
Distance 18 kms
An ideal cycling stretch, for beginners and advanced enthusiasts, this is 18 kms in distance and passes through a breathtakingly refreshing country side, dotted with small villages and the wide open vista of the Greater Himalayas keeping you company all the time. It’s not a trail, rather more of a backroad, with sections of offroad (rocky) and paved bits. This stretch is also the first stage of the reputed Mountain Biking Himachal Enduro. The riding is almost flat, for about 13 kms at 2300 meters, and the last five kilometers you gain 230 meters in 5 kilometers (not much of an incline). The Ride meets the national highway 22 at Baikhalty, two kms from Fagu, towards Shimla. You can ride all the way back into town (18kms) or drive your way back.

Distance: 13 kms.
Pedal your way on the Mashobra – Baikhalty stretch for 2 kms. Tighten your grip on the handlebar, and follow some downhill (4 Kms) through a verdant forest of cedar and Oak, maneuver through a great single track (3kms), through meadows and reach Kanda. From kanda its an uphill climb of 4 kms to Kotidhar, on the Mashobra – Baikhalty stretch. Either continue further towards Baikhalty (14kms) or back track towards Mashobra (4 kms). This is a great experience and makes for a great cycling session outdoors.

Distance: 14kms

This is 14kms of gravity assisted mountain cycling. All you need is a good grip on the handlebar, some technical skill in tackling stones and roots, and you are riding the fresh breeze. Pedal your way to the Kanda bend, and keep following the downhill towards Mulkoti village. A small flat section and again we are on a downhill towards Shaddi village. The stretch is all off road, only big enough for jeeps. From Shaddi we keep the riding till Thailla.
Continue the ride on a paved from Thailla towards Gumma and further to Chabba(23kms) or Tattapani .(29kms) You also have the option for a session of white water rafting on the Sutlej from Chabba to Tattapani (18kms: One Hour, through grade III rapids) . Or gear up and ride the grueling uphill from 900 meters to 2400 meters to Dharampur village, off the NH 22, just 4 kms short of Matiana.

Distance: 7 kms
Start from Mashobra bazaar, and pass through the village towards Talai. This is a paved section and involves a flat ride towards the end of the bazaar from where we start the ascent of about 2 kms towards Talai. The incline is not much (about 200 meters). From Talai, Craignano is only about a kilometer and a half, on a downhill track. We have two options here. Either we circle the Craignano hill and wind our way towards the Horticulture centre through some switchbacks (2kms) or take the downhill to Koti (3 kms). In either ride we get on the double track that would take us to Baldeyan. (2kms)
From Baldeyan we can come back to Mashobra via the state road (6 kms) or take the downhill to Thailla bridge (18kms), via Shaddi village. From Shaddi, enduro enthusiasts can climb towards Mulkoti or Kanda or Kotidhar (14kms). We also have the option of following the road down to Tattapani/Chabba (26 kms), completely paved, which makes for some great downhill riding.

Kufri – 14 kms from Shimla main town, Kufri is famous for its ski slopes. Skiing in winter and walks, pony rides, mountain biking in the summer makes Kufri an ideal out door destination east of Shimla. One should also the visit the Himalayan Nature Park, housing black and brown bears, leopards and gorals. The crowded Mahasu peak is also a point of interest.

CHARABARA – 9 kms from Shimla, this hilltop village is dotted by small houses, and a grand view of the Himalayas, stretching from Kullu to Kinnaur. A favorite with old timers, Charabara also houses, The Retreat, the President’s Summer Abode.

We reach Charabara, from where a paved road (1kms) extends to the Himalayan International School. This is a flat stretch, with a small uphill section of 300 meters. The double track Downhill begins from here, facing the Cheog Sanctuary, nicely perched on a ridge, and descends to Blind School, the last bits being almost a single track. From here we wind our way around the hill, and begin the ascent (3kms) towards the President’s retreat. The total Circuit is 7 kms.


Pedal down towards the retreat, and taking a sharp bend, get on a downhill single track, passing through a verdant forest, which winds its way to Mashobra. This is a total offroad of 8 kms, and a little technical, though still makes for a first attempt for beginners. One has many options further to continue on the Mashobra Baikhalty stretch, or maybe even experience one of the best gravity assisted trails, from Charabara to Chabba (48 kms).

CHARABARA – HMC (Hotel management College)
Just where the village of Charabara begins, at the bus station, a little single track on the left winds its way up into the Shimla Catchment sanctuary, opposite the Oberoi’s Wildflower Hall. The First bits are an ascent of 1.5 kms, through a thick forest, and the rest a flat and a downhill of 2.5 kms, meeting the NH 22 at the Hotel management college. From here either we can turn back to Charabara or continue on further towards Fagu (6 kms) or Kufri (2kms) and descend from there towards Mashobra – Baikhalty road.

HOPE THIS IS INFORMATIVE FOR ALL CYCLING ENTHUSIASTS OUT THERE .. Would be adding more rides in all places of Himachal, soon, and from time to time .. next coming up is Narkanda, another day or two ..

Enjoy .. Please also add in your rides, inputs and suggestions. And questions definitely ..

Cheers to All ..

#2 May 11th, 2011, 17:42
Join Date:
May 2011
  • fayaziorganize is offline
Information from you is always, always very detailed and loved my friend! Thank you, its an encyclopedia you are creating here and pls dont stop!

Would you know if we can rent mountain bikes from Shimla for a couple of days? Actually we would like to rent 3 and take it to Spiti. and return it back to Shimla when we are done...

Pls reply

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