Everything comes to an end eventually. In the past three months I was cycling through five countries, covered a distance of almost 5500 km through rain, sun, green fields, mountains, deserts, cities, rivers. Apart from some minor incidents with my bicycle (5 punctures, loose chain, fixing some bags), the whole trip went smooth and without any accidents. On today’s last segment from Tokmok to Bishkek (60 km) I wanted to end the trip in the same fashion as described above. And after a bit less than three hours I reached Bishkek, navigated through the heavy traffic and parked my bicycle at my host’s apartment.
The ride from Tokmok to Bishkek
There is actually nothing spectacular about this last ride. I was basically following a paved main road towards Bishkek, with the traffic getting gradually heavier. The terrain was mostly flat and I had support of a little tail wind. It is nice to finish such a bicycle tour the easy way. The most dangerous part about the traffic are the marshrutkas, the mini-busses for the locals that stop wherever you tell them to. More than once my bicycle path was cut off by an aggressive driver who pulled over and stopped right in front of me.
Organizing my return to Switzerland in Bishkek
Bishkek as a city does not have too much to offer, still I need to get some things organized until my return to Switzerland. Most important, I need to find a suitable cardboard box for my bicycle so I can take it on the plane. In Zurich, I could by a suitable box at the airport, however in Bishkek I don’t count on that.
In a local bike shop, I could find a suitable box, however it is quite small and I would have to disassemble half the bicycle to make it fit in there. So I will continue looking for an appropriate box tomorrow.
Shopping at Osh Bazaar
Bishkek has a few famous bazaars, the most famous one is Osh Bazaar. I went there in the afternoon with Kurmanbek, my host for the next three days. It is really amazing how many food and other shops are located there. There is one hall with only meat for instance, divided into sections by animal type. And one hall was only dedicated to horse meat, which is eaten here in Kyrgyzstan. If I did not already have all my hands full with plastic bags full of vegetables for today’s dinner, I would probably have bought a lot more. If I still find time, I will go back to this bazaar before my departure and buy some souvenirs and / or dried fruit and nuts, from which there is also a huge selection.
Dinner at Kurmanbek’s apartment after sunset
It is currently Ramadan. As Kurmanbek and his family are Muslims, they follow the strict rule to not eat or drink during the day, but only after sunset. Due to the length of days, this meant that we only started having dinner shortly before 21:00. Kurmanbek invited one of his friends over for dinner and we spent the rest of the evening together.
Luckily I am allowed and also offered food and drinks during the day, so I am not that much affected by Ramadan. It is hard for me to imagine how someone could not drink anything in temperatures above 30°C for around 15 hours. Kurmanbek told me that it was also difficult for him in the beginning, but he’s doing that now for ten years during Ramadan, and by now he is used to it and it does not bother him anymore.
Max elevation: 879 m
Min elevation: 768 m
Total climbing: 1214 m
Total descent: -1250 m
Total time: 02:57:25