One of Central Asia's Top Cycle Touring Spots
You're forgiven if you can't quite place Kyrgyzstan on a world map.
While this former Soviet republic may not be a hot spot for package tourists, it's fast becoming a favorite among long-distance bicycle travelers. In fact, Kyrgyzstan has been ranked as one of the top 5 destination for bicycle touring.
The big draws are the rugged snow-capped mountains, sparkling lakes and friendly locals right in the heart of Central Asia. Bicycle touring in Kyrgyzstan is a just a dream for many. This couple made it a reality.
Guest authors Kelly and Michael of Cycletrekkers tell us more.
Reason #1: Amazing Wild Camping Spots
In Kyrgyzstan we experienced some of the most beautiful, wild camping spots of our entire France to China trip. Just picture setting up your tent surrounded by stunning mountains, often with views of the turquoise lakes in the valleys.
We always had these mountain campsites to ourselves, except for the occasional passing donkey or mountain goat. It’s definitely a great way to experience the natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan.
Reason #2: Freshly Baked Bread
Whenever passing through one of the small towns or villages we’d always pay a visit to the local bakery for some freshly-baked bread. We’d watch, admire and drool over the baker lifting a warm, tasty loaf from the oven. It was definitely a highlight of cycling through Kyrgyzstan – just thinking about it now makes my mouth water.
We’d watch, admire and drool over the baker lifting a warm, tasty loaf from the oven. It was definitely a highlight of cycling through Kyrgyzstan – just thinking about it now makes my mouth water.
Reason #3: Smooth Roads
The main roads and highways in Kyrgyzstan were as smooth as a baby’s bottom – for the majority of the time anyway! The government had repaved a lot of the main truck routes in Kyrgyzstan, which meant smooth cycling for us. This was definitely a nice change from some of the potholed roads we experienced in Uzbekistan and some of the other Central Asian countries.
Reason #4: Mountain Passes
Kyrgyzstan boasts some of the most challenging, albeit rewarding, mountain pass climbs in Central Asia. Some of the passes exceed 3000 meters(9,800 feet) above sea level.
However, what goes up, must come down. I’m not going to lie, cycling up some of those passes was tough, but we were always rewarded with stunning views, great campsites, and an enjoyable descent.
Reason #5: Yurts!
Kyrgyzstan is yurt country and who doesn’t love a yurt? Yurts not only look awesome, the nomads that live in them are also super friendly. It was always a pleasant surprise to see a yurt appear in the distance.
About the Authors
Kelly and Michael are Aussie adventurers with a passion for cycling, hiking and exploring. Their ride through Kyrgyzstan was part of their first ever bicycle tour when they biked from France to China in 2014.
That initial tour inspired them to head off on their current world cycle tour which began in June 2016.