Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful country to cycle in, and you can write a book about the where and how of it all. This will have to come later, though. Here are some short basics for those considering cycling in Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz men drive dangerously. Speeding, overtaking on the inside, ignoring traffic lights and whizzing by very closely is all common. Drunk driving is common too, as is buying your driver’s licence. It is advised not to cycle after dark, when these dangers multiply.
Bikepacking’s Tian Shan Traverse is a great template to use for penciling out your route. Complement it with an extension through the Kazakh part of the Tian Shan and the Pamir Highway for an excellent cycling adventure.
Buy, sell, rent and repair bicycle (gear)
We have a forum dedicated to buying and selling bicycle (gear) while on the road.
In Bishkek Gergert on Gorky street is the biggest shop but the staff in the shop are reputedly not very knowledgeable, the staff in the repair/rental section next door are the ones to talk to.
VeloLider is a smaller shop but it seems to carry more/better quality spare parts and the guy there speaks some English (closed on Mondays).
Freebike rents out bicycles in Bishkek.
There is a stall with spare parts at the market. They carry surprisingly many parts and instruments. The ladies who work there seem to know a lot about bicycles and know a guy who apparently knows how to repair bikes.
There is no bike rental place in Karakol anymore, besides Karakol cafe, which rents out two bikes.
A stall at the bazaar sells bike parts and the guys there might be able to help with some repairs.
A few stalls at the bazaar sell cheap Chinese spare parts. We previously recommended the legendary “Master Tolik”, but he became a priest and now lives in Bishkek.
The new bike repair master in Osh, Hajiakbar, 0555 891 877, is considered to be very friendly and honest, no English but decent Russian, and he seems to know what he is doing. His stall is next to all the other bike repair stalls. He also has a friend who imports spare parts from China and can give directions to his house, in case the necessary part is not available at the market.
Updates are welcome in the Osh bike repair forum topic.
Roads and maps in Kyrgyzstan
For the lowdown on roads in Kyrgyzstan, check out driving in Kyrgyzstan.
We have a separate page with all our advice for maps.
Bike on train or bus
The only trains in Kyrgyzstan are headed north. You can put your bicycle on the train, but it will involve some improvisation.
Getting anywhere not served by a train with your bicycle will prove to be a hassle, since there are no large buses in Kyrgyzstan, only marshrutkas and shared taxis. It will take some time to find someone who can take your bicycle. Expect improvisation and negotiation. Hitchhiking a truck is perhaps the easiest solution.