After a month of waiting, finally Manali to Leh highway got opened. This year it opened very late because of uncertain weather conditions and with snow falling on mountain passes till May end. Border Road Organisation earlier told that they would open the route by 30th April but no one can escape nature’s fury and they were helpless too. Now I could begin further on my cycling journey and complete my Kanyakumari to Leh cycling expedition.
I have already cycled 4,300 kilometers from Kanyakumari to Manali and almost 500 kilometers is still left. I was travelling around in Himachal Pradesh in between till the route got opened. This time, I am really thankful that I would be accompanied by 02 other cyclists as well but they reached Marhi a day before and waited there for me from where we all will cycle together. I have not met anyone of those two but one of them is my friend on Facebook and he arranged accommodation for me at Paravoor when I was cycling in Kerala.
I started late in the afternoon at 3 from Manali as I had to go to Firefox cycle store in Kullu and bought 04 extra tubes as Manali to Leh highway is really off the beaten path and you will not find no population at long stretches in between. So any problem with our rides, we have to take care of it. Soon as I went the other side of the bridge on Beas River, up slope began in the very starting itself and I knew this up slope would go up to Rohtang Pass i.e. for 51 kilometers. I was cycling fast as I had long way to go to Marhi before it get dark. I loved my ride in the green beautiful meadows. There were many small but beautiful waterfalls on my way.
Weather is always uncertain in mountains. Clouds came rolling in and it started raining when I was on last 07 steep loops on my way to Marhi and Marhi was still 05 kilometers away. I took out my poncho (big polythene raincoat) to cover myself and my luggage. I put my cycle on high gear and started cycling fast on up slope which strained my knees. My legs pumped up. Rain got slowed down after some time and I reached Marhi at 7:30 pm.
I saw three guys greeting me there. Two guys I was to accompany found one more guy on their way to Marhi who was cycling solo from Manali to Leh. So we were then a team of four and we had 02 two-man tents which were already pitched in. After having some food at the nearby hut, I slept early as I was too tired.
I was happy that my cycling journey had finally begun and my expedition was going to get over in next few days. More happy because I had company for my further journey.