The end of central Asia

(Before I start I must credit Barry for taking a selection of these photos, he has been putting in a huge effort in his photography whilst we ride and is producing some great images)

Kyrgystan is a country that all long distance travellers heading west, that we came across, said was their favourite. Word was it was simply beautiful.
Having overcome illness from Tajikistan and meeting fellow bicycle tourers we had befriended in Dushanbe where we were staying in Osh, it was hard to leave.
We were eating well and socialising in large groups.

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(evening communal meal)

However the road eventually called and a group of 7 of us decided to head north to the capital city of Bishkek.
Alongside Sarah and Scott were 2 more Aussies, Paul and Leiset and a french man, Bertrand.

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We spent 5 days and nights riding as a group together, meandering slowly through small villages and winding hills towards our first big mountain pass.

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One day it was raining, after a few hours and negotiating large mud pools we collectively decided to stop and rest in an empty farmers building. Here we made a fire to warm up and dry our clothes.

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The next day Paul & Leiset decided to turn back and find an alternative route to the capital, avoiding the upcoming mountains.

So we carried on as a group of 5 up to a 3050metre pass. This was also the first time many of us had cycled in snow!

As we carried on though the valley a big wall of mountain lay ahead, we could see what looked like impossible switchbacks up to the snowline, we laughed that surely we weren’t climbing that!

Oh yes we were!!

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Bertrand and I reached the summit at 5pm, it was freezing cold. The water bottles on our bikes started to turn solid.
However the other 3 were some distance back and couldn’t make it up before sunset so we parted ways and us 2 headed down the other side arranging to meet them in the next town. Communication was achieved by sending paper messages to each other via passing trucks.

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(We camped inside the buildings in the centre)

When we regrouped we had another pass, this time 2800m. We all managed to stick together for this one.

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The road up the pass was gruelling, the road conditions similar to Tajikistan. But we all made it!
The descent after this was just simply incredible, it also blessed us with the best view I have seen all trip, hard to give it justice with my point and shoot compact camera.
It was a real ‘pinch yourself’ and ‘you had to be there’ moment for many of us.

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Slowly but surely we found our way to Bishkek.

This city marks the end of of time in Central Asia and with our good friends, Sarah, Scott and Bertrand who carry on to China through the winter.

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From here Barry and I we have decided to fly to Bangkok in Thailand, in time for the good weather there.
We will have a farewell beer here before we too part ways and continue our respective journeys.

This point also marks the end of stage 3, a continual line of travelling through connected countries and just under half the distance I want to cycle around the world (20,000km).
On refelection I feel priviledged to be undertaking such a trip and am still as motivated and eager to continue.

Next stop, south east Asia!

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