Bicycling in theKathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Travel Blog› entry 19 of 41 › view all entries
When the British left India in the 1940's, they left behind the factories, molds, and tooling which produced bicycles; a version of the Raleigh ... 'The All Steel Bicycle.' As Atlas and Hero brands, the bicycles were still being manufactured and exported to Nepal and many other countries. China fabricated a copy of the design and dubbed it 'The Flying Pigeon.'
The bicycles were an excellent way to explore the region and rented for 6 Rupees per day (about forty cents); the Flying Pigeon, one Rupee less. Our wobbly rides smoothed after just a few blocks and our confidence blossomed. With minimal use of our bells, and only sporadic shouts of impending danger, Chris and I merged into traffic and pedaled out of town.
Dirt pathways led us from one ravine to another. Hillside tiers of narrow farmland produced potatoes in the dry winter months and rice during the wet rainy season. When we approached a family that was washing a water buffalo in the Bagmati River, near an old, old, temple which we speculated to be Suryabinayak, we realized we had drifted southeast. Then, peasants working the fields told us we were lost; not verbally but with their eyes and odd expressions. Eventually, we spotted the smoke-stacks of the brick factories in Haradishi and found our way back to Kathmandu. While resting on the roof-top patio at the Kathmandu Guesthouse, sipping chai and studying the map we should have brought, we were surprised to learn that we had pedaled more than twenty miles.