Mountain biking is popular with Bhutanese and expats alike. Companies that specialise in cycling tours, have repair shops and bikes for hire, and can advise on routes include Wheels for Hills and Yu-Druk Bike Shop; the latter also stocks e-bikes. Internationally, check out Bhutan By Bike (www.bhutanbybike.com). Some adventure-travel companies organise trips that allow bikers to bring their own bikes and travel throughout Bhutan accompanied by a support vehicle; otherwise local mountain bike hire costs an extra US$35 per day.
Long journeys are challenging because there’s a lot of uphill pedalling and approaching vehicles roar around corners, not expecting cyclists. Local cycling excursions in the Paro, Thimphu and Bumthang valleys offer a safer and less-strenuous mountain biking experience. Suggested places include the following:
Cheli La For a wild ride, get dropped off at the top of this pass and ride 35km nonstop, downhill, either on the main road or on logging roads via Gorina.
Paro valley The paved road to Drukgyel Dzong and the return trip along the unpaved western farm road from Satsam make this a 30km day trip.
Phobjikha Bike trails here are part of the local ecotourism initiative, and there are also new opportunities to follow graded logging roads to Tsele La and overnight to Tikke Zampa.
Punakha Offers several dedicated mountain bike trails.
Tango and Cheri A fine day trip north of Thimphu, combining biking and hiking.
Thimphu to Paro An interesting ride, though traffic can be heavy as far as Chhuzom (the turn-off to Phuentsholing).