It was a simple plan, I wanted to cycle across Kyrgyzstan. A country I’ve ridden from west to east and east to west and north to south was the only option left for this trip. However the big difference was that I intended to do it in the depths of winter. Central Asian winters are not that snowy but seriously cold. The forecast for Song Kul was quoting well below -20. This was going to be interesting and I was genuinely nervous to see what happened and how I’d survive!
Kinesis kindly supported me for on this trip to once again test the limits of the invincible Tripster ATR. I’m pretty good at breaking things and I’ve been trying to find the limits of the Tripster V2 for a year now without success, but this was going to be the harshest test yet!
I would be following a combination of roads and gravel tracks but with compact snow and ice meaning studded tyres were fitted. From the snowy steppe to misty mountains the landscape in its winter coat was exciting me, then there were the friendly people and how they survive here in such tough conditions. I flew into Bishkek and attempted to ride this route below – with somewhat mixed success;
I’m going to post the full blog very soon, but I wanted to illustrate the trip with my favourite 12 images first, so here goes…
The roads from Bishkek were carnage in a thick smoggy freezing mist;
The beautiful Orto Tokoy reservoir on the way to Kochkor at sunset;
Kochkor a dusty back-water town was snow free and the locals were friendly;
I headed up towards Song Kul and 3440m and the snow gradually reappeared, forcing the horses and sheep onto wind swept ridges.
The road got too snowy so I had to head back but no regrets from riding this gravel detour, despite a few dogs chasing me. Why are dogs more aggressive in winter?
The soft winter light was fantastic in the snowier steppe and bigger mountains further south;
I was mostly on the snowy part of the road to avoid the speeding cars making it slow going.
The weather turned snowy and grey as I headed to the most southern point – Tash Rabat
Tash Rabat was, for me as a Silk Road addict, a massive highlight and you’ll have to read the full blog to learn more about why!
The ride back out was one of the best I’ve ever ridden with beautiful mountains, ride-able but untouched snowy gravel and yaks.
The views from the gravel got more dramatic as headed further north;
Well that’s it for now, so many amazing pictures from this trip so selecting just 12 was super hard. You’ll have to wait for the full blog to see more and learn exactly how I got on!