Those who’ve been following my journey would know that I’ve been pestered by a recurring knee ligament injury, and it was this that stopped me from riding the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. So Kyrgyzstan’s Osh to Bishkek highway was in many ways my mountainous compensation, and as a single road it soon became one of my most enjoyable stretches of the trip.
The Bishkek-Osh road is a sequence of diverse landscapes compressed into one stretch of tarmac. It takes the cyclist over two 3000m-plus mountain passes, through the yawning Suusamyr Valley, around the immense Toktogul Reservoir, and down the deep Naryn River gorge and into the broad Fergana Valley. It is also the only road artery connecting Kyrgyzstan, and even now it experiences the odd snowfall, avalanches and rock falls which split the country in two.