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Cycling Xinjiang (Winter/Spring)

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:29 am
by timagius91
I’m on a cycling tour (now in India) and will be flying to Urumqi on Jan 24th. Yeah I know it's gonna be cold! I couldn’t make it any later as my Indian visa runs out haha, but I am excited after seeing many recent photos of the area in winter!!

Just wondering what your thoughts are on how good or crazy of an idea cycling through there from Feb onwards is? I want to see all areas really, and end up crossing the border to either Kazakh/Krygyzstan – do you think there’s any particular order/route of regions I should do to avoid the unbearable parts ? (Hopefully I’ll have 3 months if everything goes fine with Visa!)

I'm also open to leaving the bike behind sometimes and doing some trekking or something instead. But I guess the main thing I need to know if there's any major roads that are completely closed during this time.


Re: Cycling Xinjiang (Winter/Spring)

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:48 pm
by sakara
Hi I was in Urumqi end of december and crossed to kyrgizstan 4 days ago. There was heavy snowfalll in Urumqi, and some lighter snowfall in Kashgar. Mountainroads and city roads were snow/ice covered.
Especially in the southern parts ( Kashgar region) roads are probbably clear of snow again, but theres no garantee - and it could snow again.
No idea if you can cycle on hard pressed snow/ice.
You cannot cycle thorugh irkeshtam pass( not allowed) and I would discourage it: -15 degrees, strong windand snow everywhere on the kyrghiz side. The landscape is fantastic!!!

Trekking in the mountains will be difficult because of snow.

sorry for the bad news, but the mountain landscapes are indeed amazing.

Re: Cycling Xinjiang (Winter/Spring)

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:18 am
by alforgesinquietes
hey tim! we are a couple from barcelona and also cycling from india! we have cycled india and nepal, we are now in Xining, Qinghai and we have chinese visa until 24th februrary. we will be cycling towards kashgar but people are warning because of snow and sand storms... let's see what happens!
we understood that we cannot cross overland to kazak, only to kyrgyz. any news about that?
anyway, hope you arrived safe and maybe see u on the road!!!
roger & silvia

Re: Cycling Xinjiang (Winter/Spring)

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:43 am
by bwv812
You can cross overland to Kazakhstan from China; you just need to cycle to Urumqi instead of Kashgar. This is actually a shorter route for you, but less interesting in my opinion.

Re: Cycling Xinjiang (Winter/Spring)

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:01 pm
by alforgesinquietes
thank you, bwv812! we are a bit worried about the weather too, since urumqi seems colder than kyrgyz. so as we are now in xining, what way would you recommend? originally we were not planning to follow the silk road, but the rest of the area seems quite empty... maybe dangerous in winter?

Re: Cycling Xinjiang (Winter/Spring)

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:34 pm
by bwv812
Unfortunately I can't say much on weather or route, except that you might have more success on a cycling forum like warmshowers. I believe most people take the G30 to Urumqi, and this might be the best bet as it likely has priority for snow removal (though will likely be much busier and you may not be able to use the parallel old highway in the winter, if they don't remove snow from it).

I was able to find a blog post on cycling between Urumqi and the Kazakh border: ... g-changed/

Re: Cycling Xinjiang (Winter/Spring)

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:58 pm
by alforgesinquietes
thank you!!! yes, we are also using warmshowers but the people we wrote to didn't say much.. :) we'll keep searching, although tomorrow we set off!
all the best!!!