A GROUP of cyclists spent their holidays cycling back to their roots with a 500-mile pedal across rural Pakistan. 

Altaf Hussain, Sheraz Rashid and friends from across the UK have regularly cycled together in places such as Girona, Gran Canaria, Mallorca and the Dolomites.

But nothing prepared them for the latest trip where they rode from Islamabad to Pakistan's border with China via Babusar and the Khunjerab Pass - the highest border crossing in the world at 5,100 meters. 

They rode along the infamous Silk route in mountainous terrain.

“The scenery and landscape were stunning,” said Mr Hussain, 45, an IT consultant.

Asian Image: One of the views the group encountered on their ride in PakistanOne of the views the group encountered on their ride in Pakistan (Image: Altaf Hussain)

“It was off the beaten track so we didn’t see many tourists except for a few mountaineers.

“There are a lot of cyclists in the towns and cities but not many doing what we did. I believe we were the first to cycle as a group from Islamabad to the China border.

“We all have Pakistan heritage. I have been two or three times in my life but always to the village where my father lived until he moved to England in 1966. This was breathtaking to see the real beauty of Pakistan.”

The tour took seven days to complete, but was the result of nine months of meticulous planning by Bradford-born Sheraz.

Asian Image: Altaf Hussain and Sheraz RashidAltaf Hussain and Sheraz Rashid (Image: Brothers on Bikes)

Researching hotels, planning day-to-day routes, and arranging the relevant support required all made the tour a success.

One of the group, Atsham Ali from Scotland, had family settled in Pakistan and they helped provide the support vehicles and important local knowledge.

The elevation of the Khunjerab Pass meant the cyclists suffered headaches, altitude sickness, and swelling of the hands and feet.

Mr Hussain said: “However, it was all worth it for the epic views and landscape. Stunning natural biodiversity where we encountered lots of wildlife.

Asian Image: Another view of the 500-mile ride in PakistanAnother view of the 500-mile ride in Pakistan (Image: Altaf Hussain)

He added: “We were blessed with good weather and very fortunate not to have encountered any major issues apart from the odd puncture. No accidents or major mechanicals was a godsend or else things could have been wildly different. 

“The support team, routes, hotels, food and culture were out of this world. I’ve cycled in Mallorca, Girona, Gran Canaria, the Dolomites, and in the UK but nothing beats Pakistan.”

He went on to say that due to the trip's overwhelming success, he hopes to arrange another visit to the same area next year – this time by car and with his family.