We spent 48 days in Kyrgyzstan in total but 27 of those were just in Bishkek waiting on visas. We had cycled straight into Bishkek the same day we crossed the border, so our first impression of the country was only based on the city. We had heard mixed things about Bishkek but overall we really enjoyed our time there, we just were there too long. If we had realised that our visas would take so long then we would have gone off and done a small trip. Oh well we can’t change that now.
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.
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.