If you’ve read any bike mags at all over the last few years, the name Cass Gilbert may ring a bell. Cass is a ridiculously experienced bike expeditioner and has written extensively about his adventures. Now he and girlfriend Cara Coolbaugh have launched a slightly out-of-the-ordinary MTB tour company to make similar adventures a little more accessible to others, without taking away too much of the magic.
Out There Biking’s ethos is low impact and personal, organising trips in the Indian Himalaya. The Manali-Leh trip is the lowest impact of all – it’s a self-supported tour, so you’ll be carrying everything you need with you. Out There supply trailers or racks and panniers to put it all in. They even supply tents and sleeping mats, so you just need to bring a bike and clothes.
If you’re looking for something a little more in the vein of a traditional MTB holiday, Out There’s jeep-supported trips in the Spiti Valley may fit the bill. It’s a 23-day, 850km epic on varied terrain. The jeep carries the overnight kit, you just ride with a day pack. Accommodation is a mixture of camping and locally-run guest houses.
Prices start at £675 including pretty much everything except flights and insurance (what exactly is included depends on the trip). Extraordinarily comprehensive details are available at www.out-there-biking.com – there’s stacks of information on there about bike setup, the region itself, health issues, food and drink. It’s well worth a look even if you’re planning an independent trip…