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14 Days | 13 Nights
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A real rugged 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 epic cycling journey is a truly off-the-beaten-path expedition.
Giant, Trek or Cannondale
Expert local guide
4 to 14
Camping, homestay, yurts
This is part of the new generation of Pioneering Grasshopper bike tours, cycling off into the lost treasures of Asia.
Lost in the heart of Asia is a land long forgotten. Situated at the center 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.
Uzbekistan 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 quarreling Sultans of opulent 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.
465 Km 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 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.
Enjoy rugged yet comfortable accommodations as we camp out under the stars or stay in traditional yurts.
An ascent is rewarded with spectacular views as you descend through the Nuratau Mountains.
Explore the madrassas, mosques, and bazaars of Samarkand as you learn about the city’s 2000 year history.
Walk the haunting ancient ruins of Ak Saray Palace before visiting the holy desert city of Bukhara.
As you arrive in 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.
We transfer far away from the bustling city before jumping on your bike after lunch and the cycling begins. Away from modern Tashkent, the pace of life slows and changes. The wide open landscape is both hard and beautiful and you will get your first taste of it on this ride. Soon we climb the Pistalitau Ridge and glide 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, and at night the stars are spectacular.
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 cycling the breathtaking Nuratau Ridge and beyond to Sentyab village and our traditional homestay with delicious home cooking for an immersive cultural experience.
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 as we pedal, we make it to the peaceful Fazilman Lake for lunch. Then finish at a tented camp in Aktash village.
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. These boulders are actually 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. Pedaling across the valley approaching Aktau Ridge, we get to Dzhuzh village where the bus is waiting to transfer us to Samarkand.
The city of Samarkand epitomizes 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 colors 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 off the bikes. Visit majestic Madrassas, gigantic Mosques, an ancient observatory, the exotic Siab bazaar, the Necropolis, and mausoleums of rulers throughout history.
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 as you pedal. This long ride ends in the humble little town of Shakhrisabz. A small town with a big past!
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 neighbors with its beauty. We’ll have the chance to learn all about its history before stopping for a meal. After lunch, we transfer to the holy city of Bukhara in the vast Kyzylkum desert.
The desert oasis of Bukhara was first mentioned in the Chinese annuals in 111BC as a large developed city. Bukhara became the center 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.
This day trip has us bike touring the backroads 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. We’ll park our bikes and 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 myths.
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 which will be a fun experience.
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 after a thorough historical exploration.
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. We'll have the day to explore this historic site and after lunch, we can make our way down to the lake to watch a picturesque sunset.
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.
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 handcrafted 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. Your guide will keep your safety and comfort top priorities at all times.
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 is 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 a break is 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.
4 to 14
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of 4 travelers. And we limit the group size to only 14 travelers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travelers - we will match you with another same-sex single traveler. If you want a single room there is an optional upgrade that you can book.
This newly renovated 5-star hotel offers comfortable mattresses, elegant rooms, a peaceful summer terrace, sauna, and both indoor and outdoor pools. The City Palace is conveniently located in the center of Tashkent and you are sure to find world-class comfort and style there.
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.
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.
This was a wonderful tour with a great balance of physical activity as well as a fascinating exploration of historical sites and interesting cultural exchanges
Everything was well thought out, all the staff without exception could not do enough to satisfy our every need.
Well that depends on how and when you travel. But for some general information have a look at the Uzbekistan Travel page.
Take a moment to read our blog about cycling in Uzbekistan.
Multi-day Cycling Tours Frequently Asked Questions
At Grasshopper, we make sure to cater to the most adventurous cyclists with tours such as this one through Uzbekistan. This cycling expedition will give you a thorough look at the fascinating culture and history of this little-visited country as you pedal challenging routes through striking mountain and desert scenery. Along the way, you’ll be camping and staying in locals’ homes or traditional yurts in order to get the fully authentic Uzbek experience. We take care of the details so you can focus on making the most of your off-the-beaten-track cycling adventure.
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