By whatever name people have called this realm, hidden among the mountains of India’s northeast, Nagaland has always evoked a sense of mysticism and awe, intensified by the exquisitely picturesque landscapes, the vibrantly colorful sunrise and sunset, lush and verdant flora, this is a land that represents unimaginable beauty, moulded perfectly for a breath taking experience.
For the adventurous and the intrepid, Nagaland is an ideal place for trekking, rock climbing, jungle camping and offers limitless exploration possibilities in its lush and verdant sub-tropical rain forests. Nagaland is sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of the East.
Ever since the sport of Mountain Biking started in Nagaland it is gaining momentum in popularity and many people are getting into the sport. Several cycling clubs are emerging from different parts of the state which helps accelerate the growth of the sport and also build camaraderie around the mountain bike community. Some of the clubs includes the following:
1. Native Station
2. Trail Hounds Cycling Club
3. Xtreme Tribal Brothers Racing Team
4. Tribal Cult- BMX Stunt team
5. No Barriers Cycling Club
6. Aclaritus Cycling Club
With the cycling community growing at an exponential rate, Bike Stores are also opening up, adding positively to enhance the economy of the state and also bridging the gap between bike companies and riders.
Major Mountain Bike Events take place in the state which has gained popularity at the regional and national levels attracting participants from the entire North Eastern States and major cities alike. Some of which are mentioned below:
1. Kohima Downhill – Organized by Native Station.
The event takes place in the capital city of Nagaland during the Hornbill Festival. It’s one day event and some of the best riders from the region come to compete for the coveted podium. The event has had 4 editions and gearing up for the 5th Edition to be held in December.
2. Mokokchung Mountain Bike Festival- Organized by the Trail Hounds Cycling Club.
The 3 day Mega event takes place in Mokokchung District which is about 120kms from Kohima and is considered as the land of Pioneers, Music & Fashion. The event consists of both Cross Country and Downhill competitions. Two editions of MMBF have been organized so far and the team is preparing for the 3rd Edition to be held in December 2018 during the Hornbill Festival.
3. Niathu Cycling Race.
It is a popular Cross Country Race organized by the Niathu Sports Org. held in Dimapur District.
4. Nagaland Downhill Championship.
It is a Downhill event organized by the Trail Hounds Cycling Club exclusively for the residents of Nagaland. It’s main purpose is to select the fastest riders from the state who will represent Nagaland in other Dh events taking place in the region. After the debut race in 2017, it could not be continued due to lack of support but hopefully the club will make an effort to bring out the second edition in the coming years.
One note worthy mention of a cyclist in Nagaland would be Yakuza Solo who is a famous world tour Cyclist going around the world on a self build Bamboo Bike.
With undulating hills and trails all around the sport of mountain biking in Nagaland is here to stay. With little effort from the government and community, it has the potential to grow into a leading sport which will promote tourism and enhance social fabric in a big way and change lives across the region.
Words by: Atoba Longkumer