Growing up in a farming family

I am Mangal Lama, a father of two children and husband of a loving wife, an adventurer, tourism entrepreneur, a guide and an aspiring adventure photographer and videographer. I grew up in a farming family in a small village in Kakani, which is North of Kathmandu proper. Growing up in a marginalized group with all the financial and social hardships that many families face, I was presented at a very early age the responsibility of looking after my parents, supporting my siblings, and eventually surviving my own family when the time came. Being close to Kathmandu presented some opportunities, which many young people my age never get. Schooling in my village was not great or exciting. I didn’t do too well and having failed 9th grade– afraid of reprimand from my parents– I decided to run away to Kathmandu to work and earn money so that I could at least support my family financially.

Starting a career in the mountain biking industry

I was about 15 years old then. Initially, I worked as a laborer and even as a co-driver for a night taxi with a friend. Eventually my brother referred me to a job in a cycle shop which one of his friends owned. Having seen some people riding through my village on mountain bikes, I was curious about possibly making a living riding bikes. So I was grateful for the opportunity, even though I had to work for free in the initial months. But it was hard work as I had to commute daily from the village to Thamel where the shop was. I would wake up at around 4:30 am and start heading to the shop on a cheap bicycle, which in hindsight prepared me physically and mentally for the career I was to have. I had earned the trust of the shop owner pretty quickly and was handed the bike workshop’s keys. I would open the workshop, do my chores, even do a ride or two, and wait for the owner to arrive at around 9 am.

After 3 months of working for free at the shop, I got my first salary of Rs. 1000 per month which was minimal but something I was proud of. I ended up working for 3 more years with my salary slowly increasing to Rs 2500 per month.

While working the job, I didn’t earn much but I could develop my cycling skills by both riding and working as a mechanic and improving my English by interacting with clients. Winters tested my resolve a lot as waking up early and riding from Kakani to Thamel proved increasingly difficult. Sometimes I would stay in a guest house where a relative used to work. In return, I would have to open the main door and greet customers who came to check in at night. After about a year, I decided to rent a small room in Maharajgunj to focus on my job and my newfound passion for cycling.

Pursuing a career in mountain biking

Few but some opportunities started presenting themselves to help me kickstart my cycling career. At the end of 2007, I learned of a mountain biking race in Sikkim which I decided to participate in without knowing much of what that entailed. Hopeful of support from the shop’s owner, I was devastated when the owner told me to leave his company if I decided to go to Sikkim to race. There was not even a shred of support in the form of the shop lending me a bike for training or any financial support to cover logistical costs for participating in the race.

However, I was quite determined to continue to develop my mountain biking skills, and wanted to test myself by racing professionally. I started ‘training’ for the Sikkim race without the knowledge of the shop owner. I would wake up early in the morning, ride to Thamel from my rented room before everyone else woke up, train while using the shop’s bikes, and then clean up after myself so that no one would notice.

Training was one part of the process. Another important one was being able to afford to buy a new cycle decent enough to race. Despite financial difficulties in the family which I was acutely aware of, I decided to ask my father and my brother for loans, not knowing where else to seek support. The money I was earning was barely enough to pay my rent in Kathmandu and survive. The fact that my father supported Rs. 15,000 and my brother Rs, 10,000 still gives me goosebumps as I perhaps never expected such support from my family, especially given that they were not in a position to do so.

The race in Sikkim was a huge learning experience for me. I was able to see the kind of training and dedication that goes into professional racing. I realized that I still had a lot to learn and a lot of ground to cover if I wanted to be successful. However, the race also gave me the confidence to pursue my passion for mountain biking more seriously. I returned to Kathmandu and started working even harder, both at my job and on my training. I also started looking for other opportunities to race and improve my skills.

Over the next few years, I was able to compete in various local and international races and gradually build a name for myself in the mountain biking community. I also worked hard to improve my financial situation, eventually leaving my job at the cycle shop to focus on racing full-time. It has not been an easy journey, but it has been incredibly rewarding and I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that I have had along the way.


years of competitive racing


national and international races


career titles


years of national and international guiding

My Dream: GHT on Wheels

Over the course of my life’s journey as a mountain biker, I have grown to deeply appreciate nature and my place in it. I have also learned about the imminent dangers of climate change, especially in our dear Himalayas — home to and vital for the survival of billions of people. I have seen firsthand the struggles of various indigenous communities that live in highly eco-sensitive regions across the Himalayas. Mountain communities in Nepal continue to struggle to recover from the not-too-distant 2015 Earthquakes, seasonal floods and landslides, and more recently from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

Like many around the world, as I continued to be locked-down at home due to Covid-19, I grappled with a number of these thoughts and strongly desired to be helpful to the communities and to nature that has given me all I have ever needed. Thus came the thought of #GHTonWheels, a dream project I had ever since I learned of the Great Himalaya Trail. I decided then to pursue my dream project with the motivation to give back to the trails and the people. I am thankful to all friends and well-wishers who pushed me to pursue my idea, and who have helped define some of the major scope of #GHTonWheels.

My Journey conquering the GHT on Wheels

In 2022, I embarked on a solo-riding project on the Great Himalaya Trails (GHT), a long-held dream of mine. The idea for this project had been in the back of my mind for a while, and I took the opportunity presented by the lack of tours and the closure of all tourism in Nepal to really think through this great challenge.

With the support and encouragement of friends and acquaintances, I developed a rough itinerary and set out to accomplish my goal of promoting the GHT as a premier mountain biking destination in the world, while also highlighting the societal and climate change-induced challenges faced by local communities along the trail.

In 88 days, I completed the solo-riding project, and was able to showcase the beauty and potential of the GHT as a mountain biking destination, while also raising awareness about the challenges and opportunities facing local communities. It was an incredibly rewarding experience, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to give back to the trails and the people who have given me so much in my life.

Current Projects

I’m excited to announce that we are working on several exciting projects related to my solo-riding journey on the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT). These projects include a book, a documentary, and a series of adventure trips. The book, which is still in progress, will be a memoir of my 88-day journey and will provide a detailed account of the challenges and triumphs I faced as I rode through some of the most remote and under-appreciated areas of Nepal. The documentary will use footage captured by drones, GoPros, and cameras to tell the story of my journey and highlight the stunning landscapes, cultures, and communities I encountered along the way. The adventure trips, which are available for booking under the #myghtonwheels brand, will be led by me and will provide unique and authentic experiences for travelers who want to explore the beauty and culture of the Nepal Himalayas.


I’m excited to announce that work is underway on a documentary film about my groundbreaking solo-riding journey on the Great Himalaya Trails (GHT). Using footage captured with drones, GoPros, and other cameras, the film will showcase the stunning landscapes, cultures, and communities that I encountered during my 88-day journey. It will also include insights and lessons learned by me as I rode through some of the most remote and under-appreciated areas of Nepal. We are currently looking for sponsors and partnerships to make this a reality.


I’m excited to announce that work is underway on a book about my solo-riding journey on the Great Himalaya Trails (GHT). This memoir will provide a detailed account of the challenges and triumphs I faced during my 88-day journey, as well as insights and lessons learned along the way. The book will also highlight the stunning landscapes, cultures, and communities that I encountered as I rode through some of the most remote and under-appreciated areas of Nepal. I can’t wait to share this book with the world and provide a deeper understanding of the incredible journey of GHT on Wheels. We are currently looking for sponsors and partnerships to make this a reality.

Racing and Adventure Experience

Bagmati Eco Challenge2005Kathmandu2nd
Damauli – Bandipur Race2007Tanahun3rd
Kanchenjunga Mountain Bike Expedition Singles2008Sikkim1st
Kanchenjunga Mountain Bike Expedition Team2008Sikkim1st
Nepal Mountain Bike Race2008Kathmandu3rd
National Mountain Bike Championship2009Kathmandu3rd
Third Yak Attack2009Annapurna3rd
Fourth Yak Attack2010Annapurna3rd
Kathmandu Mountain Bike Race2015Kathmandu2nd
Nepal Mountain Bike Championship2015Kathmandu2nd
First Solo GHT on Wheels Expedition2022Across Nepal1st
Asian Enduro Race (Masters Category)2023Nagarkot2nd
Pokhara Enduro Race (Masters Category)2023Pokhara2nd

Skills & Interests

  • Adventure Photography and Filming
  • Tourism and Mountain Biking Development
  • Sustainable Development and Climate Awareness
  • Outdoor Education Promotion in Schools
  • Entrepreneurship Promotion in Rural Mountain Communities


  • NOLS WMI Wilderness First Responder 2016 by NOLS USA
  • MTB Leadership Course 2013 by British Cycling Association
  • Wilderness First Aid Course 2011 by Initiative Outdoor
  • First Aid Course 2011 by Exodus Travel Company
  • First Aid Course 2008 by Nepal Red Cross Society Trekking: Everest Region, Annapurna Region, Langtang Region, Upper Mustang