Route advice for Kyrgystan

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Posts: 1
Joined: 13 Jan 2020, 8:19pm

Route advice for Kyrgystan

Postby velowallah » 13 Jan 2020, 8:21pm

I'm looking at a cycling trip there and debating a few routes south of Issyk Kul and towards Naryn. There seems to be at least two options, one from Tosor going over the Tosor Pass, or another one from Barskoon going over the Arabel Pass. Is anyone familiar with how bikeable both routes are, and which would be the best for scenery? Would there by any services, like tent camps or any food, on either route?

My second question is on Kel Suu lake. It's quite remote with no services at all from what I can gather, even very little water apparently. Is it worth the detour?

And finally, how likely is Kegety pass passable on a bike at the end of July?

Posts: 45
Joined: 13 Sep 2014, 10:48am

Re: Route advice for Kyrgystan

Postby dondelion » 23 Jan 2020, 12:05am

I rode Pereval Tosor solo in mid June 2015 in good weather and it took me about 10 arduous hours of climbing. There was some hike a biking due to some rocky bits and especially in the snow at the top but the descent was particularly scenic and enjoyable. All on a panniered Surly LHT with 2 inch Schwalbe Mondials. There was a farm near the start where I shared chai with a friendly farming family but upon trying to buy bread from the first farm the other side I found that the moody baseball becapped snotty teenage son had stolen my emergency food fiver whilst his concerned parents chatted with me about his future. Can't remember much about services but most Kyrgyz villages have at least a kiosk and there are yurts with helpful locals in every valley.

Posts: 221
Joined: 24 Mar 2013, 9:27pm

Re: Route advice for Kyrgystan

Postby djb » 23 Jan 2020, 4:02pm

Without knowing what touring experience you have, I'd still highly recommend spending time looking at the cgoab trip journal site.

You'll find reliable, and hopefully recent info from real bike tourers.
That's certainly what I would do if considering a trip in this part of the world.
You want to get the most info you can, that's what I've done before my different Latin America trips.

Posts: 533
Joined: 28 Jan 2011, 7:24pm

Re: Route advice for Kyrgystan

Postby hufty » 23 Jan 2020, 10:12pm

The Tosor Pass is definitely rideable. It seems to have a bit of a reputation but I think that comes from bikepackers all reading the same website. I did it South to North a couple of years ago and remember the descent being excellent fun. I also thought at the time that coming the other way might be a bit of a drudge.

Barksoon Valley/Pass was a highlight although I only got as far as the mine turning then ran out of time. There are holiday camps for Kazakh tourists lower down with cafes and shops, but after the tanker check point the real climb begins. The scenery is amazing but the road surface is terrible. Great camping spots just off the road to enjoy your tinned fish or other protein source.

You definitely want your own tent for Kyrgyzstan and the capacity to carry enough food for a few meals.
Please do not use this post in Cycle magazine