Adventure through Uzbekistan by bicycle
A true adventure, bike touring the heart of central Asia. Experience the mountain gorges, desert oases and the Great Steppe of Uzbekistan, all while taking in the incredible history that has shaped Asian empires for thousands of years.
This bike tour runs Tashkent to Khiva.
This is part of the new generation of Pioneering Grasshopper bike tours.
Lost in the heart of Asia is a land long forgotten. Situated at the centre of a cultural melting pot in which empires have been cast and broken for over two millennia. Its richness of culture and turbulent history is evident today in its diversity, architecture and tales of empires long forgotten by the modern world.
This is a land of desert oases, ancient fortified cities, bustling bazaars, tented caravans, spices and smells that kidnaps the imagination. Whisking it away to a time of opulent Kings and quarrelling Sultans of opulant Empires, knife wielding assassins, thieves and nomadic traders who made the lifeline of the silk road both their business and home. Uzbekistan will not disappoint the adventurer in you and nothing compares to taking it in on a two-wheeled odyssey stretching across the country.
This bike tour will have you riding through the ancient cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Shakhrisabz and Khiva. Cycling the incredible canyons and peaks of the Nuratau Mountains and the vastness of the Great Steppe. Experience modern Uzbekistan in Tashkent, emerging through the wake of the Soviet era. Then the ancient nomadic way of life in yurt camps stationed on the old Silk Road.
Join us on the path less travelled for an unforgettable journey through Uzbekistan, the lost treasure of Asia.
14 days duration
505 km distance
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
What makes Grasshopper so special?
Find out how your next bike tour goes the extra mile.
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No matter where we are some things don’t change. Great bikes are essential to a great bike tour. All the bikes we use are current Giant, Trek or Cannondale hardtail mountain bikes, with appropriate tires, lockout front suspension and hydraulic disc brakes. Sizes available to suit all heights.
Grasshopper have always focused on quality riding and experiences. Accommodation and cuisine play a large part in this. Our focus on accommodation and cuisine is to deepen the richness of your experiences. Staying, wherever possible, in beautiful, unique places, that reward you after a days ride. But to make the most of this beautiful country, we are occasionally staying in extremely remote locations and for two nights, camping is the only option. But fear not. We do camp in style and strive to meet all your needs while on this adventure. Food is equally important, we understand the importance of a quality meal after a ride and it can also be part of the experience, we will open horizons in your culinary adventure, with delicious and exciting local fare. From nourishing snacks presented mid-ride to the adventurous tasting of local delicacies, you will never go hungry!
This tour has been hand crafted by Grasshopper's Expedition Engineers. This team brings with them a wealth of knowledge on all things Asian, and all are experienced in the delivery of outstanding expeditions. In addition to a Grasshopper representative joining you, you will be supported by a well informed, English speaking local guide who can provide unique insights on the local customs, cultures and landscapes.
Pioneering tours have the same Grasshopper support systems as our regular tours. Groups of 4-8 guests will be accompanied by our expert local guide and our expedition leader. For groups of 8 or more, we will be joined by a cycle mechanic. Our support crew are always on hand to help tired riders whenever needed.
Full vehicle support follows riders at every step of the tour. The vehicles carry your luggage and bikes when not in use and there is always a comfortable seat when needed.
Take It Home
A beautiful souvenir Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home. We also provide a Grasshopper drink bottle as an extra memento.
This is one of the few tours where we work with partners. In the remotest parts of Asia, we have worked very hard to seek out the finest partner businesses to work alongside us to create tours that are unique to Grasshopper. These businesses share the same attention to details and customer centred focus, working together to bring you the best possible cycle tour. Importantly, each tour is comprehensively researched in advance by the Expedition Leader.
Being pioneers doesn't stop us doing what we do best! The Grasshopper attention to details and quality service is ever present throughout all of our tours. From the time you arrive to the time you leave the details are taken care of. There are no additional (hidden) costs to our tours.
4 to 14
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of 4 travellers. And we limit the group size to only 14 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travellers - we will match you with another same sex single traveller. If you want a single room there is a an optional upgrade that you can book.
Arrival Day in Tashkent
As you arrive into Tashkent you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Relax and unwind or satisfy your curiosity and delve into the eccentrically convoluted city that is Tashkent where ancient Asian traditions mix with the modern lives of the 21st century and the shadows of a Soviet past. Then a traditional Grasshopper welcome dinner and briefing before an early night.
Transfer & Cycle to Ortacheku Rocks
We transfer far away from the bustling city, before jumping on your ride after lunch and the bike tour begins. Away from modern Tashkent life is very different and the pace to life slows. The wide open landscape is both hard and beautiful and you will get your first tastes of it on this ride. Soon we climb the Pistalitau Ridge and down into a small town of Bajram in the shadow of Ortacheku Rocks where we camp for the night. If the weather is clear, a beautiful sunset awaits us.
Transfer & Cycle to Sentyab Village
After breakfast we have a great day of bike touring. We first transfer to the far side of Ortacheku Rocks then ride into the beautiful mountains, stopping in rural Yangikishlak village for lunch. The afternoon has us tackling the breathtaking Nuratau Ridge and beyond to Sentyab village and our traditional homestay with delicious home cooking.
Cycle to Aktash Village
Today's ride is incredible. Transferring to the beautiful gorge of Sob, we climb the high pass in the shadow of the majestic Gaukum peak before an amazing long descent through the picturesque Nuratau Mountains. Taking in the alpine vistas of quaint mountain villages and as far of Aydarkul Lake we make it to the peaceful Fazilman Lake for lunch. Then finish at a tented camp in Aktash village.
Cycle & Transfer to Samarkand
After breakfast we cycle away from the mountains of Nuratau. Through the valleys we bike a dirt road that winds its way through giant boulders. Prehistoric sculptures carved out by time and weather. Some hide local farmhouses in their protective shadows where the occupants live lives lost in another time. We meet more villages as we cycle the path of the Urganchy River. Crossing the valley, approaching Aktau Ridge we get to Dzhuzh village where the bus is waiting to transfer us to Samarkand.
Sightseeing in Samarkand
The city of Samarkand optimises the ancient romance and mysticism of the Silk Road. One of the world's oldest cities stands with its dome and minaret topped medieval architecture, vibrant energy, and colours of its bazaar contrasting the bland uniform Soviet structures of the modern city. Samarkand's 2000 year old history becomes evident as we tour the city. Visit majestic Madrassas, gigantic Mosques, an ancient observatory, the exotic Siab bazaar, the Necropolis, and mausoleums of rulers through history.
Cycle to Shakhrisabz
There is 95km of road to get to Shakhrisabz the birthplace of the famous ruler Tamerlane, Amir Timur. This ride includes a breathtaking high mountain pass to cycle over. Enjoy great vistas of villages and lakes in the valley below and towns far beyond. This long ride ends in the humble little town of Shakhrisabz. A small town with a big past!
Transfer to Bukhara
Spend the morning walking the ancient ruins of Ak Saray Palace. Picturing the grandeur and opulence of Timur's most beautiful palace. This small town was once the jewel of the silk road, overshadowing its neighbours with its beauty. After lunch we transfer to the holy city of Bukhara in the vast Kyzylkum desert.
Sightseeing in Bukhara
The desert oasis of Bukhara was already mentioned in the Chinese annuals in 111BC as a large developed city. Bukhara became the centre of the powerful state of Samanids (9th century), then the capital of the mighty Bukhara Emirate (16th century). Learn more about this interesting history on the day excursion, cycling around the city's many historical monuments. followed by lunch with a masterclass in Uzbek Pilaf. After lunch, visit the impressive fortress which was the key to Bukhara's success.
Cycle Tour around Bukhara
This day trip has us bike touring the back roads out to the summer residence of Emir of Bukhara. The Moon and Stars Palace offers a great insight into the kitsch lifestyle of the last Emir. Visit the Bakhautdin Nakshbandi complex. This is the birthplace and tomb of Bakhautdin, an important figure in the Sufi order and the unofficial patron-saint of Bukhara. The beautiful tomb and leaning minaret are a backdrop for the unique religious practices and traditions of the locals, that are based on ancient legends and myth.
Transfer to Ayazkala
Transfer by bus from Bukhara to the Ayazkala yurt camp. The road passes through the Kyzylkum desert, in some places along the Amu Darya River, floodplain crosses the ridge of dunes. Accommodation tonight is in traditional yurts.
Cycle & Transfer to Khiva
We start with an excursion to the ruins of Ayazkala (from Turkic meaning frosty and cold). One of the fortresses of ancient Khorezm (1-3rd centuries). We bike through more areas of interest in Khorezm including Toprak-Kala Fortress (Earth City), which was one of the many homes of the mighty King of Khorezm. Biking in the direction of Urgench, we finally transfer to Khiva.
Sightseeing & Cycling in Khiva
The walled city of Khiva was one of the last strongholds of the Khan Empire. Situated on the wild fringes of the Silk Road this is a city known for its cruel history, frequented by savage slave traders, barbaric bandits and the wild tribes of the Steppe. The walled city has been preserved by the soviets and now feels like a giant museum, frozen in time. After lunch we cycle down and around the lake to watch the sunset.
Tour Concludes in Tashkent
After an unforgettable adventure it is time to head home. We transfer to Urgench (1 hour) and then take a flight back to Tashkent. On arrival we will transfer you to the international airport where you can connect to your homeward bound or onward flight.
What's the Riding Like?
Can get cold at times
9 days riding
The terrain we will be bike touring in Uzbekistan is mostly a mixture of sealed and unsealed on secondary roads. When cycling out in the remote areas of Steppe and desert we will be cycling on primary/main roads. These roads are the only ones in the area and see very little traffic. There will also be sections of riding on rough high passes through mountainous terrain which is moderately technical with short achievable climbs. During some of these sections the 4WD support vehicle will follow meeting the bus later in the ride. The majority of the journey is on small roads through the rural villages. The road surface can at times be rough and broken, depending on seasonal conditions. In most cases, there is a comfortable line through the puddles or potholes and it makes for more interesting riding than a perfect road. The mixture of adventurous, sometimes challenging cycling with travel and camping in some very remote areas, makes this a slightly more challenging tour than most of our adventures, so we have rated it at five out of six stars. As with all our multi-day tours a support vehicle is always on hand to rest your legs if needed.
What our guests tell us...
Just a selection of reviews from some of our tours.
Every day was a new adventure! The riding was challenging but very fun, especially downhill! I had an amazing trip surrounded by amazing people! Any problem we faced got worked out. Even though some things
didn't go as planned, it all went pretty smooth.
Excellent adventure with very high standards of hotels, food, crew, company and knowledge of two thousand years of history.
Amazing! I love the terrains we rode on. The mountainous regions were fantastic. The accommodation was fantastic. We had three nights of camping where our tents were set up for us. The on-road crew had some impressive culinary skills. We were well fed and well hydrated. The hotels we were placed in on other nights were also comfortable and clean. Blair, our guide, was excellent! He was receptive to our needs and made sure we were always comfortable and enjoying ourselves.
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