Tailor-Made: Kyrgyzstan Mountain Biking

12 Days
Ride the Mountains of Heaven
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  • Cycling
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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 LOCATIONBishkek (Manas) International Airport
DEPARTURE TIMEAs 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.


Day 1

Start Point: Home
Destination: Bishkek
Travel: Plane
Notes: Arrival in Kyrgyzstan

Today you’ll arrive in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and – depending what time your flights arrive – have the remainder of day to rest and explore the city at your leisure. We’ll collect you from the airport, whisk you to your 5* hotel and introduce you to some of the sights and tastes of this buzzing capital city.


Day 2

Start Point: Bishkek
Destination: Suusamyr
Travel: Car

After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll jump into a 4WD and head south towards Suusamyr, a valley that lies around 2000 metres above sea level between the Suusamyr Too and Kyrgyz Ala-Too ranges. You’ll soon see why Kyrgyzstan is lauded as the ‘Switzerland of Central Asia’. Tonight you’ll be staying in a yurt camp at 2100 metres above sea level. Already home will seem a long, long away away.



Day 3

Start Point: Suusamyr
Destination: Karakol Valley
Travel: Bike (60 km ride)

This morning you’ll saddle up and head east into the mountains for your first day of riding. There’s 900 metres of ascent today, and 140 metres of descent: on the way you’ll pedal past glossy herds of horses, nomad’s camps and flower-filled valleys. Tonight you’ll be in another yurt camp in the heart of the mountains.




Day 4

Start Point: Karakol Valley
Destination: Kyzart
Travel: Bike (80 km ride)

Today you continue east through the heart of the mountains. You can expect 650 metres of ascent and 1450 descent, with a possible river crossing or two thrown in for good measure. Tonight you’ll rest your weary body in a cosy homestay in the village of Kyzart, north of Lake Son Kul. Or, if you’re a hardier traveller, you can camp out in the wilds. By now you’ll have fallen hook, line and pedal for the beauty of this place.


Day 5

Start Point: Kyzart
Destination: Son Kul Lake
Travel: Bike (46 km ride)

Today will start with a leg-pumping ride up to the 2664 metre Kyzart Pass, from where you’ll be rewarded with epic views across the velvety mountains and down to Son Kul. This evening, after a tough 46 km ride, you’ll arrive at a yurt camp on the shores of this high-altitude lake, where you’ll spend another night marvelling at the diamond-scattered vault. Few places on earth do the stars quite as well as here. Overall, you’ll ascend  1240 metres and descend 460 metres today. Phew!


Day 6

Start Point: Son Kul Lake
Travel: Horse, foot or bike
Notes: Day off by the lake

After a tough few day’s riding, today is all about relaxing by this beautiful lake. You can read a book in your cosy yurt, go for a walk, ride a horse or just hang out and give your muscles a rest. If you’re really brave, and want to entertain the locals, you can channel Wim Hof and swim in the lake. At 3000 metres above sea level, it’s not exactly warm! Tonight you’ll be in the same yurt camp beside the lake.



Day 7

Start Point: Son Kul
Destination: Naryn
Travel: Bike (70 km ride)

OK, that’s enough resting….it’s back into the saddle today. To ease you back in, today is all about downhill riding, with only 320 metres of ascent. During 1790 metres of decline, you’ll carve around glorious bends and whoop with joy as you glide downhill.  You’ll end today in the regional town of Naryn, in a good hotel with hot water, proper showers and an excellent restaurant.


Day 8

Start Point: Naryn
Destination: Eki Naryn Valley
Travel: Bike (60 km ride)

After breakfast at the hotel, it’s back on the bikes and east towards the wild, beautiful Eki Naryn valley. You’ll climb 600 metres today, crossing from the gentle Moldo-Too range into the much larger Teskey Alatoo, part of the Tien Shan proper. Tonight you’ll be camping at 2800 metres above sea level in the gorgeous Eki Naryn valley, a pine-studded wilderness where two rivers converge. Part of this valley is a National Park, home to wild boar, bear, mountain goats and even the odd snow leopard.


Day 9

Start Point: Eki Naryn Valley
Destination: Tosor Pass Camp
Travel: Bike (60 km ride)

Today is a truly epic day of riding, from the green Eki Naryn valley up and towards the Tosor Pass. You’ll wild camp at just over 3000 metres altitude, and get a good rest before the Big Push over the pass tomorrow. This is your last night in the wilds, so fill your lungs with fresh mountain air.


Day 10

Start Point: Tosor Pass Camp
Destination: Bokonbaevo
Travel: Bike

This morning it’s a tough, but stunnin, ride up to the 3900 metre Tosor Pass, on the southern shores of Lake Issyk Kul. Your lungs will be bursting by the top, but afterwards it’s a glorious 2300 metre descent to the town of Tosor, where you’ll end your riding by the shores of Issyk Kul lake. Tonight will be spent in a yurt camp on the shores of the lake. There’ll be swimming, feasting, music and no doubt vodka galore!


Day 11

Start Point: Bokonbaevo
Destination: Bishkek
Travel: Vehicle

It’s goodbye to the mountains today as you swop two-wheels for a 4WD and head north-west to Bishkek. On the way we’ll show you Burana Tower, all that remains of the once powerful Silk Road city of Balasagun. Tonight, after a four hour drive, you’ll be back at your 5* hotel in the city centre.


Day 12

Start Point: Bishkek
Destination: Home
Travel: Plane

We will get you to the airport in good time for your flight home today. You’ll leave Kyrgyzstan with wonderful memories of this enchanting country, and its heartwarming people.

TourStart DateEnd DatePrice
Kyrgyzstan Back-Country supported MTB Tour03/05/202130/09/2021£3,950.00Taking Bookings

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.



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