August 5th – 11th Osh (Kyrgyzstan) to Murghab (Tajikistan). 420km.
Osh sits at about 900 metres above sea level, the lowest we’d be for a while, which means only one thing. We’ve been riding uphill. A lot. Well rested and fed, with panniers full of supplies for the coming days, we set off to the South-East on the M41. Our first day was all uphill, gradually at first through the agricultural area surrounding Osh. It was a hot day so we stopped regularly for drinks at roadside magazins, making the most of them while they were still available. At one stop we met a young couple from Scotland who’d just returned from an attempt to climb Peak Lenin, (7,134m) but unfortunately the weather forced them to turn back just short of the summit. Later we met yet another South Korean cyclist heading our way, Kim. He was heavily loaded and riding quite slowly, so we rode on ahead after a chat, but our paths would cross regularly for the next few days.
july 29th to August 1st. 248km
We were lucky with the timing of our rest day in Kazarman. On our first night there we had thunderstorms and heavy rain, but with a roof over our heads, we slept soundly. We didn’t do much on our day off (not that there’s anything to do in Kazarman) but we raided the few shops in town for food supplies as we’d heard that the next few days would be quite remote. We were heading towards Osh, on yet more dirt roads and over another 3,000m pass.
A short video edit of the day riding up and over the pass to Song-Kol. The best day of our trip so far.
I’m sure for anyone starting their cycling tour there is a big count down until the day they leave. For us, we had the idea for our trip around three years before we set off, we hosted numerous touring cyclists in Hokkaido, gathering lots of useful information, and we did a few smaller trips in Japan before the big off. Now it is a whole year on since we said goodbye to our apartment in Iwamizawa and our friends we had many fun adventures with in Japan. And what a year it’s been. There have been so many amazing experiences leading to it being one of the best years, but also one of the worst years with losing my Dad. With great loss it can put life in perspective, to try and live every day and make the most of this one opportunity we have. I have tried as best I could to do this.
July 22nd to 27th. 317km
This trip just stepped up a level, both in difficulty but mainly in the amazing landscapes we’ve been riding through for the last 6 days. Leaving Kochkor, we knew we’d be saying goodbye to asphalt roads for a while and heading into the mountains, so we made the most of the smooth riding for the first 35 kilometres of the day. We stopped at Sary Bulak for a last restaurant meal and to load up on food for the coming days at the shop there. 3 kilometres further up the valley we left the sealed road and started the climb up towards Song Kol on gravel.