Kyrgyzstan Cycle Tour

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Kyrgyzstan Cycle Tour, the intriguing Kyrgyz Republic by bike

Step out of your comfort zone and into a true biking adventure, cycling from Bishkek to rugged Kyrgyzstan mountainscapes, wild alpine passes, and stunning valleys. Make Your Escape, this expedition-style bike trip immerses you into intriguing Central Asian nomad life in Yurts, soak up the ‘Land of the Kyrgyz’.

The Kyrgyz Republic was one of the first of the ‘Stans to become independent from Russia and travel the sometimes turbulent road to find its own identity. Kyrgyzstan, often referred to as the Switzerland of Central Asia is a land of rolling high altitude grass-lands, endless snow capped peaks, huge lakes, and raging rivers.  Add to this an intriguing history, a friendly and unique culture of people who have learned to thrive in hot summers and freezing winters; great (and not so great) vodka and you have the perfect recipe for a fantastic and adventurous cycle tour.

You will gain a real insight into the ‘Land of the Kyrgyz’ while challenging your legs over high alpine mountain passes, across endless rolling grasslands, alongside raging rivers and tranquil lakes. Spend the night in traditional yurt camps, local home stays and camp in wildflower filled valleys. Sample sensational regional food, locally brewed kumys (fermented mare’s milk) and Russian beer and join us on our newest ‘favourite’ cycle tour.

Tour Highlights - Kyrgyzstan Cycle Tour

Departure & Return Location

Start: Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek  
Finish: Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Price Includes

  • 13 nights Accommodation
  • Meals as per tour itinerary
  • Two Escape Adventures tour leaders
  • Local bilingual interpreter
  • Airport transfers and all Land Transport
  • Escape Adventures support vehicles and drivers
  • All group entrance fees

Optional Extras

  • Bike Hire: If required hire fee is NZD $450

Price Excludes

  • Airfares, visas, or airport taxes
  • Optional activities and excursions
  • A couple of meals as per the detailed itinerary
  • Personal vaccinations or personal equipment

Solo Travellers - Single Supplement

  • NO Single Supplement! If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room.
  • If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, a single supplement of NZD $770 will apply*Please note: single rooms are only available on first and last night hotel in Bishkek and only at some of the guesthouses. When staying in yurts and at some of the guesthouses sharing is required due to restricted rooms. When camping single tents will be supplied.

Itinerary - Kyrgyzstan Supported Cycle Tour, Bishkek to Bishkek

The daily riding distances listed below are the maximum we plan to ride each day. Our support vehicle is always close by if you would like a break from the saddle.

DAY 1: Arrive in Bishkek

Meet with your tour leaders & fellow bikers at 5pm for your pre-departure meeting and first meal together. Please plan to arrive no later than mid afternoon to allow transfer to our hotel in time for the tour start.

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: Mountain views and acclimatizing

A short vehicle transfer takes us from the city out to the surrounding mountains. We take a short walk to take in the beautiful scenery and get acclimatized before we jump on our bikes and head down the valley back to Bishkek City.

Cycling Distance: 35km

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: A taste of adventure, cycling rural roads

We transfer by vehicle from the plains and up, up, up into the mountains. Back on the bikes with a huge change of scenery and climate we cycle down into a river valley and on to our first local homestay guesthouse.

Cycling Distance: 55km

Accommodation: Homestay

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: Exploring the land of giants

We continue cycling down the river valley and through a continuously changing landscape from barren rocky gorges to lush green farmland. A relaxing afternoon gives us the chance to explore the town of Chaek.

Cycling Distance: 45km

Accommodation: Homestay

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: Heading for the hills and a night under the stars

Today is an ‘altitude gain day‘as we begin our way towards our first mountain pass. We pass through some small towns and cycle up onto a plateau and camp in a remote river valley.

Cycling Distance: 40km

Accommodation: Camping

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: Cycle a high pass to Son Kul alpine lake

Up and out of camp, we stretch our legs and climb to the top of our first mountain pass Kara-Keche at 3380m. Our descent is through rolling open grasslands being grazed by nomadic herders to Lake Son Kol. It is an awesome achievement and rewarded with 360-degree views.

Cycling Distance: Approx 60km

Accommodation: Yurt camp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: An exhilarating descent rewards your climbing

We warm up around the shores of Son Kol. Then we stretch our legs with a climb up and over our second mountain pass at 3467m. In the afternoon we roll down into the stunning Tolok valley and camp beside a mountain stream

Cycling Distance: 55km

Accommodation: Camping

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: Conquer an alpine pass as eagles soar above

Rolling up and down remote river valleys we pass through alpine meadows and small farm-lets that look like something out of a ‘Sound of Music’. Eagles soar overhead and marmots call from their roadside dens. Afternoon transfer to Kochkor.

Cycling Distance: 60km

Accommodation: Homestay

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: Rest Day, felting workshop and explore Kochkor

A well-earned rest day in Kochkor Town. Check out the local craft of felt making or sit with a beer in the main street and watch life go by in this bustling market town.

Accommodation: Homestay

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10: Pedalling the Kyrgyz highlands

We head away from Kyrgyzstan’s largest lake, Issyk Kol and back up towards the mountains, following a narrow river valley until it opens out into wide open grasslands.

Cycling Distance: 70km

Accommodation: Yurtcamp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: Back roads lead to the lake

A relaxed start to the day and then we roll along a wide-open valley dotted with small farming villages under a backdrop of snowy peaks. After lunch we descend to Bokonbaev, near the shores of Issyk Kol.

Cycling Distance: 38km

Accommodation: Homestay

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: Lake Issyk Kul ‘moonscape’ shoreline ride

A fun ride through a moonscape of eroded hills and valleys alongside the shore of Lake Issyk Kol. After

lunch and a final swim in the revered lake ‘the Kyrgyz sea’ and transfer to our hotel. 

Cycling Distance: 38km

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: Following the canals, we’re back in Bishkek

A morning transfer back towards Bishkek City. Our last ride of the tour follows canals back into the heart of the city.

Cycling Distance: 20km

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14: Farewell

Our final Kyrgyz breakfast together.  If you are flying out today we can help arrange your transfer to Bishkek Airport.

Meals: Breakfast

Photos from the Kyrgyzstan Cycle Tour

Map - Kyrgyzstan Cycle Tour

Kyrgyzstan Cycle Tour Frequently Asked Questions

Escape Adventures fully supported bike tours have been running for decades, if you have any questions "just ask us"

The biking lowdown

Your tour itinerary offers 30-75km biking per day; a total distance of up to 580km spread over 11 days of biking. You should be comfortable riding 3-5 times a week with regular rides of 30-60km in length. Preparing for your cycle tour should involve plenty of gravel, dirt and off-road riding, with some good sized hills.

The Terrain is mostly on dirt and gravel roads with very little traffic. The terrain varies from gentle meandering river valleys, some sustained climbs and lovely long valley descents. The majority of the tour is between 800m and 3000m above sea level with the highest point being a 3467m pass, with moderate gradients. The road surface can be rough at times, loose or corrugated. This tour is suitable for bikers with gravel road riding experience, a good level of fitness, an adventurous attitude, and perfect for a hard-tail mountain-bike.

Support: Our trusty support vehicle carries all your luggage, has lunch, snacks and water at hand, and is there if you need a break from the saddle.

How fit do I need to be for this cycle tour?

Your cycle tour includes rides of up to 75km per day, but should not be judged by distance alone! Please do read about the daily riding distances taking note of the riding terrain in the itinerary below and prepare accordingly. The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your adventure! Heat, hills, altitude and road surface combine to offer a good challenging cycle tour…

– Heat is usually only an issue on the first day’s ride out of Bishkek, but may be up to 35-40 degrees C.
– For most of your cycle tour the altitude will range between 1500-3500m above sea-level with plenty of ups and downs. Some of the bigger days offer 5-10km climbs.
– The roads are mostly dirt or gravel and the surface can be anything from smooth, fast and flowing to gravelled and corrugated depending on when the grader last went through.

You should be comfortable riding 3-5 times a week with regular rides of 30-60km in length. Preparing for your cycle tour should involve plenty of gravel, dirt and off-road riding, with some good sized hills. Please do contact us if you would like some help with a detailed training plan.

What type of bikes do we ride?

In Kyrgyzstan we hire new mountain bikes through a local bike shop. Each season they are a brand new fleet of hard tail mountain bikes with hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano Alivio/Deore 27-speed components and available in S, M, L and XL. These bikes are often not as highly spec’ed as we would like, but they will be serviced and maintained by our crew and are certainly up for the job!   If you will be hiring a bike from us please let us know prior to your trip.  Please feel free to bring your own saddle (as yours always fits best!) and your own pedals if you normally clip in.

You are also welcome to bring your own bike!

What kind of meals do you provide?

Your tour leaders will take care of your meals and snacks throughout your adventure with us. This excludes one lunch and one evening meals which are at your own cost to give you the opportunity to explore eating options of your own choosing. We are able to cater for vegetarians* and special diets and if this includes you, it is essential to advise us of this before your tour begins, so that the support vehicle can be stocked with the necessary supplies.
Typical meals include:

  • Breakfasts – Vary from oat or semolina porridge, muesli & fruit, local traditional breakfasts, and hot drinks.
  • Lunches – Meat & Vegetable dishes in cafes** / and Picnic style lunches of fresh salads, cold meats, cheese & bread.
  • Evening Meals – A range of delicious traditional meat and vegetable dishes.**

*Vegetarians – Please note that in Kyrgyzstan meat is considered staple and vegetarianism is not widely understood. We will be doing our best to request dishes with plenty of vegetables (and meat-free dishes) however vegetarian options are limited and hence can be repetitive.
**Kyrgyz traditional food consists of meat and potato dishes, rice, vegetables, eggs, traditional round breads and boorsok (delicious donuts). We will do our best to supplement with plenty of fruit and vegetables.

What kind of accommodation can I expect?

All accommodation for the duration of your tour is included – four nights in hotels, seven nights in local guesthouses/home stays and yurts, and two nights camping in tents. Guesthouses, home stays and yurts are mostly on a twin-share basis, however at times it may be necessary for up to four to share in home stays and yurts. The camping is ‘real camping’ in remote locations with basic facilities, but there is always the opportunity to wash at the end of the day. We supply dome tents which we will show you how to erect. You will need to bring your own 2-3 season sleeping bag, sleeping mat (thermarest or similar) and a small travel pillow.

Singles: We do not charge a single supplement! 
If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room.  If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply!

What is the maximum size of the cycle group

This trip has 6-12 bikers, plus two experienced Escape Adventures guides and a small team of local interpreters and drivers. 

1 Review
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Karen Savage

Solo Traveller

“Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful country. I took great photos of the mountains, valleys and farming lifestyle. However, the best you cannot catch on film. This is the warmth of the people; particularly those in the isolated mountain valleys where John and his team led us. Beautiful families who made us welcome and showed us how much they valued their family lifestyle and so wanted to share hospitality, humour and time with us. We felt that we were the first ever tourist to have biked past their yurt.

Excellent personal care, clear and concise daily briefings, great bike care, good food and timely sharing of protocol, finance and personal expectations in this new country. I always felt comfortable and was given the guidelines to cope in a new culture. The enthusiasm and warmth of both leaders made this another special Escape Adventures journey.”

May 4, 2023