At the time of writing this article, I'm already in Nepal and a more than 2 months have passed. So I'm gonna make this brief!

The border crossing from Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan is among the most "sketchy" I've experienced so far: a run-down but well-heated container set-up along the unpaved dirt track. My details are written down in a book for the last time.

One more passport check in the next container. I get my stamp and the guard lifts the barrier. I'm now in no-man's-land and cycle the 15ish kilometers down to the Kyrgyz entry point.

On the way down I catch up with Yoshi again, who I had lost a few days earlier. Making our way into the valley we both agree: this just as scenic as Tajikistan!

We spend the night nearby the border and have a relaxed cycle into Sary-Tash the next morning, the first Kyrgyz village on our way.

Needing to get local currency we are glad to meet some bicycle travelers in front of a cafe who are about to head the opposite way, with who we exchange all our remaining Tajik currency.

Lucky indeed as we later find out that the only ATM in town is broken. After asking around for a bit we manage to exchange dollars into Somoni at the gas station for a really good rate.

Sary-Tash is also where Yoshi and I will part ways for good: not having applied for a Chinese (or Pakistani) visa I will continue to Kazakhstan from where I fly to India, while Yoshi will track forward by bus to Bishkek in order to apply for his Pakistan visa and then continue through said countries.

Weeks later when inquiring about his progress I only feel validated in my decision to avoid Xinjiang when I read his upset response: Apparently he had to wait at the Chinese border for 2 days (which was closed for holiday festivities). Then the Xinjiang police took away all his knifes, forced him onto a bus which cost $60 (cycling wasn't allowed) and into a hotel (camping was not permitted either).

Embarking from Sary-Tash the following ascent is steep but rewarded with an epic, 20+ km descent on good roads through a few villages. Neither the ensuing headwinds nor the light rain in the following night can spoil my mood though and I master next day's pass in similar fashion. On the way I now meet many cyclists heading opposite way. At least 3 couples are making their way out of Osh that day.

My highlight in Osh: the breakfast buffet at the TES guest house. The best I've had in a hostel in the last few months.

A few more hilly and no less scenic days lead me from Osh to Bishkek. However there is a horrible tunnel on the way. It is dimly lit, but with 2 way traffic still quite intimidating. At least it is sloping down coming from Osh. I definitely would not want to cycle through those thick clouds of exhaust fumes going the other way.

The last few hundred kilometers of my route in Central Asia will lead me again into Kazakhstan, this time: Almaty, from where I've booked my flight to Delhi. The ride from Bishkek to the biggest city in Kazakhstan is not noteworthy and probably the most boring part of the last 2 months. Highlight: a car stops on the road to hand me a fresh Kebab! I had just eatin lunch, but as the saying goes: there's always room for just one more Kebab... right?

As my Kazakh friend who I met in Beyneu is just on vacation in Europe I spend the time eating, drinking beer, catching up on internet memes and: getting my bicycle ready for shipping.

This proves more difficult than imagined: as it's end of season, not many bicycle shops do have empty bicycle cardboard boxes left. In fact I only find a single shop, Crank Master, to have a bicycle box in store. It turns out to be really small though, even after taking of the front rack, handle bars and saddle and I have to go back and get another box of the same size to "extend" the box by a few centimeters.

The whole endeavor takes a whole day in total. I'm glad I started a couple of days earlier to prepare.

I manage to board my early AM flight without major issues and take note of the weights:

  • Bike box: 25 kg
  • Checked bag 1:16 kg
  • Checked bag 2: 11 kg
  • Carry-on: 8 kg (estimated)

Minus an estimated 2 kg for the bike box this puts the bike's total weight at 58 kg (without food, water and petrol) -- I would've thought it'd be 2-3 kgs more.