To be honest if you asked me a year ago I probably wouldn’t have been able to point out where on the map it is either. Also, it wasn’t my original plan to start this motorbike trip here. The dream was to start in India and go through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey… However, it soon turned out to be much more complicated to go this way as you have to deposit an insane amount of money to temporarily import your vehicle into these countries, let alone to get a Visa for Pakistan on the road. As it seemed impossible to go around these problems I had to alter my plans and started new research. Soon the plan to go from Kyrgyztsan was born. I knew there was lots of mountains and picturesque landscapes yet, didn’t really know what to expect. After many ups and downs in the planning of making this trip happen I decided to just give it a shot and booked a flight from New Delhi to Bishkek as information online is sparse. As I arrived at the airport I instantly noticed the kidness and warmth of the people. Despite a big language barrier as not many people speak english you always find people helping and welcoming you (the amount of tea I drank at peoples houses is insane). I booked a stay at a place called “Hostel 23” which turned out to be an ordinary apartment with a few bunk beds in it that made it the perfect base for chasing visas and dealing with paperwork that came with buying a motorbike. Compared to south east Asia and India you hardly see any motorbikes on the roads, thus not many for sale either, which made finding a suitable bike within my budged the first challenge. After about a week I finally managed to find one online which at least came close to what I need for this trip. Without hesitation due to such limited options I agreed to buy it and started getting it ready for the trip. With only a small eight liter tank I wasn’t going to get very far. Luckily I managed to find a welder who artistically created a rack for an additional 10 liter canister on the side.With long waiting times for my visas, translations for the motorbike papers and other burocratic stuff I decided to start working at the hostel and ran it when the owner wasn’t there. Everyday I had the pleasure of welcomeing new people with new amazing stories, from cycling around the world to driving to the other side of the globe to build up a music fan base and other crazy adventures. After three weeks of planning and organizing Esther (the motorcycle) and me started our trip (with still a lot of uncertainty about border crossings, a lack of mechanical knowledge and tools and the not ideal chinese gear I found in Bishkek) and drove to the second biggest alpine lake in the world, Issyk-Kul. After a five hour drive I arrived at the yurt right by the lake that I stayed at for the night. Sitting by the lake one could mistake it for the ocean and might wonder why there are snow capped mountains and sheep around it. I spent the night by a bonfire at the lake stargazing and seeing the milky way clearer then I have ever before in my life. Everything in this country still seems unspoilt by mass tourism… finally I found what I have been looking for for so long.
The next day I made my way to another lake in the mountains called Son-kol. With rough roads and thunderstorm it wasn’t an easy ride but a hundred percent worth it. Again I stayed at a yurt by the lake where a local family hosts tourists. We cooked dinner together in a yurt on a wood oven and spent the rest of the day drinking tea while it was hailing outside.
As the weather seemed to get better the next day and I packed the bike I noticed the first flat tire. Unorganized as I am I had forgotten the glue to patch the tube and was left with no other choice but to pump up the tire almost every 20 km on the way until I reached the next small town. Soon after I left the thunderstorm started again and I had to drive in the rain at a very low temperature through a stream, which got a lot rougher than the day before due to the rain, and muddy, bumpy paths for hours… That’s when I knew the adventure had started.
Some people told me it is stupid to do this trip on a cheap chinese bike without much mechanical knowlege, however, whenever there was a problem I got to meet some of the nicest people who helped me out and invited me to their houses.
With one stop on the way I moved on to my last stop in this Country, Osh. Osh is besides Bishkek the second major city in Kyrgyzstan and the last place for a while to get spare parts and service for the bike. After two days and two “new” second hand tires I was ready to make my way to the border to Tajikistan hoping to be able to cross without too much hassle and start my journey on the second highest highway in the world, the Pamir Highway.
-stopped twice by currupt police
-two flat tires
-1000 l of tea