An organized bike tour will save lots of pre-departure time and headaches, and maximize the chances that all will go more or less according to plan. The itinerary will be well planned, avoiding the dead ends and wrong turns that inevitably come with a self-organized trip. Decent bikes and all the necessary gear will be provided, and guides will take care of maintenance and on-the-spot repairs. Guides can also show you trails you’d never find on your own, keep you off (dangerous) paved roads and help interpret Nepali culture. On longer tours, a “sag wagon” will tote heavy gear, provide emergency backup, and whisk you past the busier or less interesting stretches of road.
A one-day guided trip will typically cost around $35–50, including bike hire, while longer excursions including vehicle support and accommodation work out at more like $120 per day. Generally, you get what you pay for – and it’s worth checking exactly what you’re getting. Many overseas companies offer mountain-bike tours, but almost all are actually organized by a few operators in Kathmandu, and you can save money by booking directly with them. They usually require a minimum of four people for vehicle-supported tours, but shorter customized trips can be organized for just one or two people. Pokhara also has some good mountain-bike shops which double as tour operators.