Beyond the sense of meeting a shared challenge, Rana was struck by the number of young cycling enthusiasts and how the sport has developed in Nepal in recent years. Whereas five years ago, many participants used worn down bicycles with patched up tyres, this year’s ride featured more brand new bikes of all makes than ever before, even electric bikes.
“I was very impressed looking at the variety of bikes,” says Rana. “Today, cyclists are more professional and understand their equipment better than in previous years.”
Pre-Covid Koras have also seen the participation of organisations supporting cancer survivors. In 2019, the Richa Bajimaya Memorial Foundation took part to raise money for breast cancer screening for patients through the rally.
Says Rana: “I had put the Kora as my target. Everyone knew about my treatment, but I wanted to show that having cancer need not change your quest for adventure. You have to go on with your life and enjoy every moment.”
When Raj Gyawali organised the very first Kathmandu Kora in 2011 with a young British volunteer, there were only 35 cyclists who raised money for charity.
In the past decade, the Kora has never abandoned its dedication to help the under-served in society while instilling a spirit of adventure in young Nepalis.
It is a measure of how much the sport has grown in popularity that there were more than 3,000 registered riders on 16 July.
Unlike a traditional race, cyclists push themselves to complete whichever challenge is best for them.“It’s not a rally, it’s a ride,” says Gyawali, explaining the Kora challenge’s goal of bringing Kathmandu’s cycling community together.