A Kyrgyzstan Mountain Biking Tour
Fancy heading into the mountains for a proper adventure? Love travelling on two-wheels? Then this Kyrgyzstan mountain biking tour is just your ticket.
Open skies. Soaring eagles. Endless steppe. Kyrgyzstan’s rolling mountains and wild valleys were made for adventure – and what better way to explore them than by bike? In two epic weeks you’ll puff up steep tracks, whoop down nomad’s trails and cool off in clear mountain lakes. At night, you’ll sleep in yurts under star-drenched skies.
This is a challenging, culture-laden trip that will reboot your soul and leave you thirsting for more.
Tailor-Made Kyrgyzstan Travel
This thrilling cycling route takes you east across the country – from Suusamyr, in central Kyrgyzstan, to Bokonbaevo, on the wild southern shores of Lake Issyk-Kul. On the way you’ll cool your heels at Son Kul, a beautiful mountain lake in the heart of the Tien Shan.
You’ll start and end your trip in the buzzing Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, one of our favourite cities in Central Asia. Here you’ll have the chance to relax at a 5* hotel and sink a few cocktails.
Please note that this is a sample itinerary, and can be altered to suit your fitness, style of travel and two-wheeled expertise.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Bishkek (Manas) International Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||As per your tailor-made itinerary|
- All accommodation
- All meals
- Airport transfers
- Fresh water (in back-up vehicle) and a Water-to-Go filter bottle for refilling on the trail
- Luggage transfers with back-up vehicle
- Your bike – although we can also include this in your package if you’d rather not bring your own
- International flights
- Any riding equipment you need
- Tools for your bike, including spare tyres
- Visas and other permits as required
Run by Expert Kyrgyzstan Guides
Depending on availability, this trip will either be run by Dave Cowell, an experienced British expedition leader and mountain biker, one of our local team, or both. As well as co-founding FATMAP, Dave has led ski touring and mountain biking trips across Central Asia, so you’re in safe hands.
You’ll also be supported by a back-up vehicle that will carry your luggage, spares, a medical kit and fresh water.
Where will we be staying?
We’ll be staying in a mix of places – from five or four star hotels in Bishkek, to wonderful, family-run yurt camps in the wilds of Kyrgyzstan. You’ll also be wild camping for a few nights. You won’t always have access to hot showers, but the wilderness and views will more than make up for it. However, as this is a tailor-made itinerary, we can dial the luxury up or down, depending on your tastes.
Who is Dave Cowell?
Dave has had a lifelong passion for adventure in the mountains and started rock-climbing as a teenager in the 1980s. The obsession grew unchecked into all branches of climbing and mountaineering. After attempting to make the first high-level crossing of the island of Spitsbergen with a friend, sponsored by Newcastle Brown Ale, he set about exploring other far-flung places – including Pakistan, India, Tajikistan, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain and many more traditional destinations. He has devised, organised and led a huge number of trips and expeditions.
In his spare time he has had careers as an environmental scientist and software engineer, and in 2012 he founded FATMAP, the world’s first dedicated global outdoor map platform. He enjoys mountain-biking, bouldering, rock-climbing and skiiing. He lives with his wife Ros and their two children in Bristol, UK.
What kit do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful.
Is there a back-up vehicle?
Yes. We will travel with enough space in the cars for people and bikes, for any transfers we need to do. We will mostly be supported by the car at all times (for emergencies and any mechanical issues with your bike) but there will be some times when it can’t follow us, so will meet us again at the next suitable point.
How much are flights?
This is a moving feast! It depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. From London, it’s around £350-400 return to Bishkek. We can offer flight inclusive packages also though, so just let us know if you’d like us to handle your booking. Again, we’ll send you an information pack containing all the information you need when you book your place.
What will the food be like?
Varied – the ‘stans are a region known for meaty delicacies so you can expect tasty shashlik almost anywhere if this is your thing. But it’s not all bad news for veggies as the salads in Central Asia are fantastic. Bread, plov, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill and vodka all feature heavily!
How fit do I need to be?
This is a challening cycling holiday in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan so yes, you need to be very fit, and prepared for some tough days’ riding.
Will I be affected by altitude?
Altitude can affect different people in different ways. It can also affect the same person in different ways from trip to trip. We will be spending a bit of time above 3000 metres in Kyrgyzstan, with a maximum altitude of 3900 metres. If you feel that you might suffer from altitude sickness, or have history of it, you should consider discussing this with your doctor prior to booking and travel. Diamox and other similar prescription drugs are available to ease symptoms, but the key way to address any onset of altitude sickness is to descend. Luckily, from anywhere particularly high, descent is possible rapidly thanks to our vehicles. Simple precautions and awareness go a long way.Our route is designed with safe altitude gain in mind.
Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?
Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. And we always carry a satellite phone. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.
Is this really for me?
If you love adventure, new places, friendly people, wild landscapes, history and culture then yes.
However, if you’re the sort of person who is going to be worried about the lack of flush loos in a mountain yurt camp, complain that the ascent to Tosor Pass is too steep or fret about Wi-Fi availability, then this probably isn’t your bag.
You need to be a fit, experienced mountain biker to come on this trip. If you’ve never ridden a MTB before, aren’t used to mountain conditions and are going to cry at the sight of a steep incline then no, this trip definitely isn’t for you. Sorry.