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Mountain Biking Adventures in Asia

Looking to get in some adventurous mountain biking and cycling around Asia? Had enough of soccer mom biking paths and Sunday afternoon rides by the riverside? These choice destinations are worth looking into for those seeking a real challenge:

Yak Ru
A prominent annual mountain biking race held in Nepal—this is a true high altitude challenge, taking riders through the Annapurna mountains and featuring a circuit that tops out at 5416 meters (17,770 ft). The race takes place in late April, the route is 240 km long and pits riders against almost every type of weather and trail conditions imaginable. Amazingly, the starting elevation of the race is only 700 meters above sea level. After crossing the highest point at the Thorong-La pass, the trail descends down to 3000 meters in Kagbeni Village. As to be expected, an ample amount of time is needed to acclimate in the region prior to competing in an event like this. For more information on mountain biking news, tours and races in Nepal, check out Dawn til Dusk.

Mt. Fuji Hill Climb
This is a huge annual race that takes riders up a public road as far as Mt. Fuji’s fifth station (2300m/7,545ft). It is not very steep compared to other routes but is sure to challenge many. The race covers 24 km with a total elevation gain of 1,218 meters (4000 ft). There are anywhere from 6000-8000 riders so, well, be prepared for that if you do want to join this event. Alternatively, you can save your entry fee money and simply opt for cycling this route during off season months, although the road wouldn’t be closed to traffic (as it is during the race).

Mt. Fuji cycling events are certainly not limited to the popular Hill Climb—The Mount Fuji Eco Cycling event takes riders on a 120km course around the entire base of the mountain. Then there’s the Tour of Japan—a brutal road race highlighted by a steep portion (fourth stage) of Mt. Fuji. But this seems to be for professional riders, so (unless you are one of those) probably best to find other events or routes if you are bent on biking up at least some of Mt. Fuji.

Tradewinds LIMBC
This is a stage race that spans five days on the island of Langkawi, off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. The routes take riders on single track trails through a variety of terrain including rubber plantations, rice paddies, jungle and beachside. Riders of all abilities can enter the race and are organized in different classes. Registration doesn’t come cheap though, at around US$800 (for non-Malaysian nationals) but this event is also known for offering the largest cash prize for a biking event in Asia—US$150,000!

For those seeking simple alternatives to pricey races, there are ample opportunities for biking around/just outside Kuala Lumpur. Make sure to check out the Kuala Lumpur Mountain Bike Hash Club. There is also Malaysian Borneo for those seeking more off the beaten path adventure. For more information on other mountain biking destinations around Malaysia, check this guide out.

Mount Pinatubo
There are no big-name mountain biking events here but there are biking enthusiasts who do organize group trips to Pinatubo, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Much of the access points in the area are through sand and mud flow flats, features resulting from the 1991 eruption of the volcano. There are also jeep trails and numerous rocky stream crossings and bit of hiking leading to fantastic views of the crater. Be prepared for some serious heat here as well as really fine sand that will get into everything. Probably not the best place to bring a top-of-the-line mountain bike. But the challenge, along with incredible scenery would make this an option to consider.