The Telegraph
Thursday , October 27 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cycle tour to boost adventure sports

Kalimpong, Oct. 26: A cycling expedition to promote adventure tourism in the region will be flagged off from Kurseong tomorrow.

According to the organisers of the 10-day event, the cyclists would travel through Darjeeling and Sikkim before reaching Kalimpong and the Dooars.

“The first edition held last year was restricted to the Darjeeling and Kurseong subdivisions and Sikkim. This year, we have routed the expedition through Kalimpong to promote tourism in the subdivision and also because the Kalimpong-Algarah-Lava-Gorubathan stretch is an excellent mountain biking route,” said Neel Kamal Chhetri, a partner of Help Desk Tourism, the main organiser of the rally.

Ten cyclists from America, Australia and Canada will cover 1000km during the expedition that will end at Chalsa in the Dooars.

“The team will be halting in Darjeeling, Pelling, Yuksom, Ravangla, Gangtok, Kalimpong and Chalsa during the tour,” said Chhetri.

Bob Thompson, a co-organiser of the expedition, said the roads in the region were very challenging and that was the main reason for them to choose it for the rally.

“The area is very challenging. It has lots of ups and downs and the people are very friendly,” said Thompson.

For 66-year-old Graeme Watkins from Australia, it is about difficult roads, friendly people and good beer.

“This is a great place to cycle. I like the people here who are very friendly. You get good beer here as well,” chuckled the resident of Melbourne who has taken part in over 15 cycling tours all over the world.

“The cycling route we have selected this time allows the participants to explore the diverse topography of the region. The expedition has been routed through some of the scenic places of the region, from the lush green tea gardens to the thickly-forested areas,” said Chhetri.

According to him, certain changes had to be made in the route because of the September 18 earthquake.

“We had originally planned to go to Mangan and Yumthang in North Sikkim. But the roads there have been badly affected by the quake and that leg has been taken off the schedule,” Chhetri said.

North Sikkim was the worst hit region in the quake that killed 60 people in the Himalayan state.

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