Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Distance: 110kms

A phenomenal day. Despite very little sleep on account of the annoying nocturnal Frenchman I shared a room with, and the early start. I easily navigated my way out of the city and was relieved that the bitumen continued beyond the outskirts. Today’s ride could have been anywhere: Australia, the US, Europe or Nepal. [...]

Distance: 100kms
Lazy start to the day with a sleep in til 7.30am. It was a restless night’s sleep, with frequent startling and moments of unbelievable disorientation. No sooner was out of town than I hit 15kms of road works: dust, slush and rock combining to slow progress. I had another bad stretch between 40 and [...]

Distance: 100kms
By far the best scenery of the trip, ranging from red cliffs in the first canyon, to lush green valleys and towering mountains. The final pass to 3600m was also the highest point of the route so far, and the day included 3000m of vertical climbing.
The day started early and I skipped Frank’s offer [...]

Distance: 105kms
Couldn’t get breakfast – even bread – anywhere in town and so pedalled off towards the Tajikistan border hoping the 5-egg dinner from last night would do its job. It was with a gulp that I rode headlong into the mountain range of 6000m, snow-capped peaks that awaited me.
First stop was the Kyrgyz border [...]

Distance: 145kms

An epic day in both mileage and scenery. On the road by 7.30am after a great night’s sleep and dodgy breakfast of one solitary fried egg, I made great progress early. The road was dead straight and flat and at 30kms in I stopped at a river to refill the bottles. Stupidly I put [...]

Distance: 115kms
Nightmare bureaucracy at its most zealous. My hopes of getting chores done quickly dissipated at the hands of administration. I was required to register with the KGB in town or risk a $100 fine it was supposed to open at 8am but actually opened at 10am. Luckily I had copies of my passport and [...]

Distance: 130kms

Possibly my best day cycle touring ever, despite 9 and a half hours in the saddle on some of the toughest roads I’ve come across. The scenery and cycling was sublime.
After a quick breakfast of creamed rice I left $20 for the family (I usually pay $10 but these guys really did it tough [...]

Distance: 120 kms

Another phenomenal, gruelling but utterly magical day. Having become so used to solitude and isolation today was a feast for the senses. Village life was infectious and created a sensory overload of sights, sounds and interactions. The skies were also clear for the first time in weeks in this valley, creating amazing views [...]

Distance: 110kms
A hard but smooth day which had me in Khorog by 3pm. I endured one of the hardest-to-stomach breakfasts I have ever eaten: a large bowl of salty milk with a tablespoon of pure fat added for `taste’. I was instructed to soak bread in the liquid and eat the concoction and managed just [...]

Distance: 140kms
Cycling paradise. Unbelievable canyon scenery, good asphalt, downhill and even a slight tailwind. Seven hours in the saddle never felt so good. As planned I had a sleep in and took a decent look around town. The bazaar was a hive of activity but not particularly exciting. Also had a great breakfast of fried [...]