One hundred eight riders from Nepal and Thailand took part in a bicycle rally on the occasion of Lord Buddha’s birthday. Saman Lamsal was one of the riders.
--BY SAMAN LAMSAL
The cycling rally from Kathmandu to Lumbini kicked off on 15 May. I was excited because the route was new to me. Two days before the rally all the riders were briefed regarding the cycling routes and the core values of the rally. I was eager yet a little concerned because we were going to face the heat of the Terai. We were accompanied by a professor from Thailand, Dr Thongchai Panswad (72yrs) and one of Nepal’s oldest mountain bikers, Sonam Gurung (66yrs).
Swayambhu - Hetauda (88km)
All the riders gathered at Swyambhu stupa at 6 AM. After the short speech by the program coordinator, the rally started. The ride leader led all the riders to the bottom of Chandragiri hill. Then we ascended the hill via the cable car. From there it was downhill until Bajrabarahi, a village in Makwanpur district, near Tistung. The downhill route was dangerous as we encountered big rocks on the way, and the ground was slippery because of the rain. I avoided the front brakes and feathered the rear brakes to reach to the bottom of the hill smoothly. After that, the route was from Kunchhal to Daman, which was mostly uphill. All the riders reached Hetauda at 7 PM where dinner was served.
Hetauda - Rajhar (105km)
After breakfast, the riders gathered for stretching and debriefing at 7:45 AM. Riders were advised to ride in a single line to the left-hand side because of the traffic and the narrow roads. After a long ride, we reached Khurkhure where our lunch was served on plant leaves, which was very appetising. Then, the cycle distribution program was conducted where students with excellent academic records were provided with a cycle. The Thai guests funded the cycle distribution. We started the ride again at 2 PM, heading towards Rajhar. We reached Rajhar at 6 PM and stayed at a Tharu home stay. The food was delicious and seeing the Tharu cultural dance was a once in a lifetime experience.
Rajhar - Butwal (115KM)
We headed towards Butwal early in the morning. The temperature was almost 40°C due to which many stops were made for drinking water. Heading towards Kawaswoti and Chormara, we finally reached the infamous 7 KM uphill route of Daunne. Just before attacking the hills, a short hydration break was made. Climbing Daunne was the hardest part of the 350 km ride because it was 12:15 PM and the sun was directly above our head and made it almost impossible to continue pedalling. After an hour, we reached Daunne where lunch was served, and we continued our ride towards Bardghat. Passing through Bhumahi and Parasi, we reached Butwal where we were welcomed by the Butwal cycling group with refreshments and snacks.
Butwal - Lumbini (42KM)
It was the last day of the rally with less distance to cover, but it was harder than other days because the temperature was rising and we had spent all our energy pedalling for three days. Finally, we reached Lumbini at 1:00 PM. The riders went to the Mayadevi temple and then we were taken under a giant tree for meditation, which was relaxing for the mind as well as the body. Then all the riders went for tree plantation led by Megh Ale (River man of Nepal). After dinner, all the riders were distributed certificates. Then the cycles returned to Kathmandu on a truck and cyclists on a bus