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Tour Description

Eastern Tibet - Dege to Lhasa 30-Day Extreme Cycling Challenge

Dates: Saturday, April 13 to Sunday, May 12, 2013

Amelia Oliver

On top of Yakri Shung-La (la means pass)

Eastern Tibet - Dege to Lhasa 30-Day Extreme Cycling Challenge

Dates: Saturday, April 13 to Sunday, May 12, 2013

Route Map

This 30-day cycling tour begins in Western Sichuan near the Tibet border in Dege, Sichuan and ends in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. This is a very challenging ride and should only be considered by those who have a strong desire to cycle to Lhasa the entire way. Due to high elevation and long gradients, the average daily cycling mileage will be about 60 km or 37 miles. Government regulations require a support vehicle to accompany the group so riders need only their day-use items in their bike handlebar bag. Riders will have to be very fit and should have some experience at cycling for an extended time at high elevation.

To keep the cost to an absolute minimum, this will be a "bare bones tour." Only the minimum required to get the necessary permits from the government will be provided including a vehicle and driver, permits, insurance and a guide. This means that riders will have to purchase their own food, accommodations, admission fees, etc. in addition to the cost of the tour. 

The tour begins in Dege, Sichuan, 918 km northwest of Chengdu. If there is interest, a group cycling tour from Chengdu to Dege will be provided (please contact us for details), otherwise riders will have to reach the start point in Dege on their own. There are local buses from Chengdu to Dege that take about three days, or riders can legally cycle there on their own (in about 12 days).

The tour is estimated to take about 30 days including three rest days and a two-day vehicle tour to Namtso Lake, the second largest salt-water lake in China. The itinerary below is meant only as a guide; the actual schedule will be flexible so that the riders can cycle all the way to Lhasa despite unforeseen delays. For example, the excursion to Namtso Lake could be canceled if delays slowed the progress of the tour. 

When the tour ends, riders will have the option on how to return to Chengdu or continuing on to other destinations such as Katmandu or Golmud.

Itinerary and Tour Details

Eastern Tibet - Dege to Lhasa 30-Day Extreme Cycling Challenge

1,511 km - 922 miles
Route Map

Day Location Cycling
1 Dege 0/0 Group meets in Dege, Tour begins.
2 Aila 55/34
3 Jiangda 52/32  
4 Qingnedong 56/34  
5 Daoban 63/38  
6 Tuoba 31/19  
7 Changdu 79/48  
8 Changdu 0/0 Rest day.
9 Jitang 65/40  
10 Youxi 47/29  
11 Bangda 50/31  
12 Basu 81/49  
13 Basu 0/0 Rest day.
14 79 Bandao 67/41  
15 Axi 75/46  
16 Bomi 75/46  
17 Kangyu 89/54  
18 Dongjiu 47/29  
19 Luyang 46/28  
20 Bayi 51/31  
21 Bayi 0/0 Rest day
22 Langar 79/48  
23 Gongbujiang 68/41  
24 Jinda 61/37  
25 Xiabatang 61/37  
26 Niaosijiang 89/54  
27 Hezhugongka 56/34  
28 Lhasa 68/41  
29 Namtso Lake 0/0 Vehicle tour to Namtso Lake, the second largest salt-water lake in China.
30 Namtso Lake 0/0 Return to Lhasa. End of Tour.
  Total Distance 1,511 km 922 miles  

Details - Eastern Tibet - Dege to Lhasa 30-Day Extreme Cycling Challenge

Dates: Contact us with the dates that work for you.

Start location: Dege, Sichuan Province

Finish location: Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region

Tour type: Vehicle-supported - riders carry only their day-use items. A support vehicle will carry luggage (and cyclists when needed).

Geographical location: Southwestern China. Elevation range: 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) to 5,050 meters (16,560 feet)

Climate: The best weather for touring is in the spring and fall. Chance of rain (or snow at the passes). Historic weather information for Chengdu and Lhas is available from the link below. Higher elevations will be colder.

Click for Chengdu, Sichuan China Forecast
Click for Chengdu, Sichuan China Forecast
Click for Lhasa, Tibet Forecast
Click for Lhasa, Tibet Forecast

Terrain: Very mountainous; cycling through the Himalayas.

Cycling tour level: Extremely challenging

Total cycling distance: Approximately 1,511 km (922 miles): Average distance per travel day: 68 km (42 miles) Cycling may be supplemented on occasion with vehicle transport when needed.

Days: 30

Nights: 30

Cycling Days: 25

Group size: 1 - 8

Accommodations:To keep cost at a minimum, accommodations will not be provided as part of the tour. Each cyclist will have to pay for accommodations and/or camp along the way. Some camping will likely be necessary estimated at six nights.

This tour is limited to no more than eight people.

Tour includes:

  1. Bilingual bike tour guide to accompany the group throughout the tour.
  2. A support vehicle and driver for 30 days.
  3. All group permits fees.

Tour does not include:

  1. Accommodations
  2. Food and drinks
  3. Admission to places of interest.

If you decide to do something on your own, you will be responsible for those costs.

This will be a vehicle-supported ride. This means that riders will carry their only their day-use items. A support vehicle will follow with luggage and to carry cyclists when needed.

Tour Cost: Depends on the total number of people going on the tour and the time of year. Below are the price per person (pp) and quoted in US dollars (US$) for non-holiday periods*:

Group size:
1 person: $5,560
2 people: $3,250 pp
3 people $2,400 pp <<-- price per person for the next registrant
4 people $2,060 pp
5 people $1,790 pp
6 people $1,650 pp
7 people $1,530 pp
8 people $1,460 pp

Current registrations:

There are two people registered as of

An announcement of the cost of the tour will be made to the group 45-days prior to the start based on the number of registered members.

A deposit of $500 per person is required. This is fully refundable up to 45 days prior to the start of the tour. Submission of a deposit will guarantee your place on the tour. Balance is due at the beginning of the tour.

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For general ride information that applies to all rides, please visit out FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and the General Info page.

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