Now that monsoon’s over, time to dust those sneakers and leave the comfort zone once again. We make a circuit trip to Jitpur Phedi via Mudkhu on this pleasant mountain bike ride to the outskirts.
This short cycling ride to Jitpur Phedi is suitable for all riders, whether you’re experienced or a beginner. There is some climbing required, especially on the first leg of the trip. Make sure your bike is in good condition, and don’t forget to carry a bottle of water along with a couple of bars of chocolates. This 18 kms circuit trip gives you good workout on paved road and easy jeep tracks along the countryside. And of course, you get plenty of photo ops along the way!
The traffic is best dodged, so leave early – say 6-ish – to Balaju from where we go westward to Machapokhari’s bus park. The morning market here will already be bustling. Once we reach the starting point of Kathmandu-Trishuli Highway, the traffic is significantly less. The fresh air of Nagarjuna forest with the sight of the city as we gain altitude makes for a relaxing ride. We pass Pani Muhan gate of Nagarjun forest, which is the entrance to the spectacular Jamacho hiking route. Continue to ride on and see the entire Shivapuri range from here, as well as the view tower of Goldhunga.
Five kms into our ride, we reach our first checkpoint – Mudkhu. The place has gained prominence among growing number of cyclists who come for morning workout. This is the perfect place to enjoy alu, chana and lemon tea for breakfast, which Bhuwan Dai ko Khaja Ghar at Mudkhu has become quite famous for. As you enjoy the food, more and more cyclists are sure to converge here and the place comes to life. The breakfast will cost you no more than a hundred bucks. After thanking Bhuwan dai, we ride a short distance on mostly quiet and paved downhill to Tinpipple. Don’t get confused here: there are three left turns from Tinpipple, we take the last one that leads us to the gorgeous jeep tracks of Jitpur Phedi.
Before going any farther, lock your bike near the school just at the turn and head up the stairs to reach Bhuwaneshwar temple, which chances are, will be locked from inside. It’s a pretty steep climb, but the mini pilgrimage will definitely be worth it. You’ll be graced by a fantastic view of rolling hills that stretch as far as your eyes can see, and breathing in the fresh air is an absolute bliss. Don’t mind the two giant German Shepherds locked inside the temple premises barking at you. After regaining your breath continue your bike journey towards Jitpur Phedi. Ride through the dirt trail along the hill, which is a shouldering massif on Shivapuri’s western side.
Traditional local houses, chicken coop, snotty kids and a vast ricefields mark this pleasant ride. The sight of white herons flying overhead as the cool fall breeze hits your sweaty face will be quite an experience. Splash some water as you cross multiple streams and brooklets along your trail. To give the trip a muddy twist, take a shortcut through the paddy fields carrying your bike. The aalis will be rather slippery, so make sure you’re extra careful. Expect a traffic jam here as children come from the other direction heading for school. A helmet and a mountain bike will invariably lead them to conclude you’re a foreigner – whether or not you are – and then kicks in curiosity. “Namaste! What is your name?” followed by “Where are you from?” Strike a quick conversation with the kids and as the aali ends, find yourself back on the jeep track.
In a distance you’ll notice a bus stop which will also be the end of our jeep track ride. We take a right turn and on smooth, downhill paved road, we soar back to the city. There is hardly any traffic here, perfect to observe traditional lifestyle and feel connected with the nature around. With no effort going downhill, your Jitpur Phedi circuit ride concludes when you reach Ring Road in Gongabu. With mind refreshed and body revitalized, look forward to another bike ride to the hills very soon. !