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Uzbekistan Bike Adventure

Home > Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan Bike Adventure

Scheduled Tour

Price from

4950 USD

Duration

14 Days | 13 Nights

Level

4

Tour Code

GHUB21

VIEW TOUR DATES

Uzbekistan Bicycle Tour Adventure

Get off the beaten path. It's a cliche, isn't it? Well, come to Uzbekistan and beat a new path with us. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the silk route and the ancient empires, then explore the relics of the Soviet era, while venturing into the naturally beautiful, remote corners of this fascinating country and connecting with communities who rarely see foreign visitors.

Quality Bikes
Giant, Trek or Cannondale

Your Guide
Expert local guide

Group Size
4 to 14

Accommodation
Hotels, Guesthouse, Yurts

Activities
Cycle, Trek

Minimum Age
14+

Overview

Uzbekistan was until quite recently, thought of in roughly the same mental space as pariah states where only the most intrepid might venture. Now, the country has flung open its doors, not only to economic development but also to international visitors. This tour is your chance to get off the path that is in the process of being beaten and experience the true essence of Uzbekistan, not for what we wish it was, but for what it is. 

The magnificent mosques and madrassas with their towering minarets are worthy of your time and the rich history of cities like Samarkand and Bukhara will be revealed to you during your journey, but you will go beyond these recognized highlights and venture into the more remote areas of natural beauty where small subsistence communities rarely see international visitors. 

You will visit places as obscure as an abandoned Soviet-era space research center, a popular local ski resort and a radio telescope that has been under construction for 40 years and has only just become operational. This will be contrasted by a visit to a winery (yes, Uzbek wine is quite drinkable) and memorable nights in yurts with camels roaming the desert plains outside. 

Uzbekistan will surprise you, delight you and puzzle you, all at the same time. It's an experience like no other and there is no better way to see it than from handlebar height.


486 km riding
The riding on this tour is about as varied as you can find. Some days are on well made roads, others are on a small trail, traversed mostly by motorbikes and donkeys. There is a decent amount of riding on roughly made or poorly maintained roads and for this reason, we ride mountain bikes in Uzbekistan. There are not any severe gradients, although the ride up to the ski resort of Beldersoy is a sustained climb of around 16km that will raise your heart rate. Generally speaking the rides, the longest of which is 73km, are achievable within a few hours, leaving us plenty of time to explore, connect and learn.

Highlights

Explore the rich history of Samarkand and Bukhara, visiting the stunning blue topped mosques and madrasas and hearing the stories of conquests and great trading empires past.

Explore the bazaars of Bukhara where artisans and craftspeople pedal their wares. 

Visit the Chervak area where wine is grown and where an abandoned space research center decays. 

Challenge yourself on a ride up to the ski resort of Beldersoy and enjoy the thrilling descent.

Trek the remote Zaamin National Park and visit the nearby, recently opened, radio telescope.

Explore the rustic landscape near the Ortacheku Rocks and spend a night in a yurt camp. 

Visit the 3000 year old Petroglyphs of Sarmysh

Day to Day


Expand All
Riding:
34km
Meal:
LD

Our group of adventurers meets in the lobby of the City Palace Hotel in Tashkent at 9am. From here, it is a 1.5 hour drive out through the compact urban sprawl. The veneer of modernity fades quickly as we enter into the countryside areas where the vehicles are fewer and older, the people are dressed more traditionally and the hard working donkey becomes a more common sight. 

Arriving in tiny Nevich, we set up the bikes and conduct the safety briefing among sleepy mudbrick neighborhoods, probably with some local kids looking on in amusement. From here it’s just a short pedal down the road, where we’ll encounter a now decommissioned space exploration engineering site. That’s right, here, sitting in the middle of the fields is a location that was integral to the USSR’s space missions of the early-to-mid seventies. This ushers in something of a sub-theme to our tour. In addition to the rich history of the Silk Road, the eerie remnants of the decayed soviet legacy bring an interesting dimension to this puzzle of a country. 

As we complete the route today, we’ll start to encounter some of the grape growing fields of this area. Wine production may not have been the first thing you thought of when hearing of Uzbekistan, but it’s actually a growing industry here and they produce a respectable drop; well, respectable for $4 a bottle at least. We can pick up a few of these to share with our hosts this evening. 

A relatively simple, countryside guesthouse with an ensuite bathroom awaits us this tonight.

Riding:
66km
Meal:
BLD

The riding starts in earnest today. An early morning is almost assured, thanks to the cacophony of your typical Uzbekistani village. The roosters may start it off, but once the donkeys get involved, only the heavily sedated could remain undisturbed.

The good news is that riding in the cool morning air is rewarding and we are headed to a destination where it is nice to arrive with time to spare and enjoy the location. We do more descending than ascending today on a variety of roads, through nice scenery. Initially we’ll be surrounded by dry fields, before push into the more intensively irrigated areas where we see more grapes growing.

To keep the day achievable we take a spell in the van to finish off, then we can relax at our lakeside retreat which will be our base for the next two nights.

Riding:
52km
Meal:
BLD

The ride today is a challenging and fulfilling one. We follow a relatively quiet, and well made road as we climb out of the valley and into the Chatkal range. The scenery as we climb is stunning, with the reservoir back down below us and an increasing number of flowers in the fields we pass. Our midpoint and turnaround location for today is the Ski Resort, Beldersay. In the winter months, the more experienced skiers leave the easier Chimgan resort to the masses and come to Beldersay to test their skills. In the spring and the fall, the scene is of course, very different. There are views out over the dry landscape from the restaurant with idle chairlifts, and in spring, remnants of snow clinging to the top of Greater Chimgan, the highest peak in the area at 3,300m. 

After lunch, we retrace our tire treads as we ride back to our accommodation at the lake. It should be noted, that it is not all down, there is still a short climb to get us to the top of the main descent. A dip in the pool awaits to reward you for your efforts.

Riding:
42km
Meal:
BLD

After the challenging ride yesterday, we have an easier one today as we ride around the shore of Charvak Reservoir, stopping in at the various villages along the route, such as Burchmulla and Bogustan (yes, that’s right, Bogus-stan). The latter is actually quite an interesting village, it is home to mostly ethnic Tajiks and is also known as the home village and resting place of an influential Sufi devotee, Sheikh Khoja Umar who traveled to Tashkent to disseminate Islam. 

The villages range in size from 500 to 4000 people and the scenery is varied. The lake is a constant scene on our left, with an undulating road throughout the day. We conclude our ride in one of these small villages, where a modest lunch awaits and a cold bucket shower to wash away the grime of the road. 

We’ll finish up the day with a drive back into Tashkent to spend the night in the capital.

Meal:
BLD

We make an early start for Chorsu Bazaar, the main market in downtown Tashkent. The produce section starts humming from 5am and by 6:30am the textiles and craft stalls are open. Being there early makes for the most lively atmosphere. From the market, we walk through the town squares, the Amir Temur square, Memorial square and Independence square. Having squared away these monumental items of importance, we find our way back to the hotel where breakfast is served. 

Late morning we take a vehicle over to the White Mosque and have a look inside before passing the Victims of Repression Monument and the TV Tower, both iconic items of the built environment. We will pass up the opportunity to ascend the tower as entry is complicated and the view may not be sufficiently rewarding for having endured that complexity. Instead, we venture below the surface of the city to ride the Soviet era, subway over to the Museum of Applied Arts, one of the best museums in Uzbekistan. An hour here will do it justice and after that we can walk over to the Palace Druzhby Narodov for the architecturally minded to appreciate. 

Returning to the hotel via the Plov Center, we’ll enjoy a big bowl of the national dish and arrive back at the hotel just in time to pick up our bags for the three hour drive to Jizzakh.

Riding:
31km
Meal:
BLD

Starting out from town in the bus, we have a 40 minute drive to reach the start of the ride. We are riding on gravel trails today through undulations with wide open vistas. The landscape is both hard and beautiful and also quite different to the earlier riding north from Tashkent. Soon we climb the Pistalitau Ridge and glide down into a small town of Bajram in the shadow of Ortacheku Rocks. We finish by riding up a narrow gulley along a stream to our comfortable yurt camp.

Meal:
BLD

We make an early start, so a snooze in the van is quite a likely possibility as we’ll be buzzing through fairly dry and uninteresting terrain for the first half of the journey. Then as the road starts to climb, things become a bit more scenic and once we pile out of the car and start our hike, we can see why we came all this way. 

Depending on the time of year, the scenery will differ. In Spring, flowers will fill the grassy hills and in fall the leaves of the trees will be changing color. The area is home to walnut trees and juniper woods and year-round, the air is fresh and cool. We walk to a small waterfall for a picnic, then take a slightly different route out and continue on by vehicle to our mountain top accommodation, a dated, but comfortable Soviet-era resort.

Riding:
67km
Meal:
BLD

The ride today starts out with a climb and as we are starting at 2000 meters, the air is a little thin, so we take it gently before topping out at 2440m. From here you can enjoy some ups and downs as we approach the Suffa Radio Telescope. This was a project started by the Soviets in the late eighties, but was not completed as planned. It was only completed in the last few years by the Uzbekistan government and is now fully functional. We’ll have a tour of the facility by one of the technicians before jumping back in the saddle for a bit of a downhill run. There is another climb back up to 2482m from 2300m, then we get to enjoy a big, long downhill that spans 30km, interrupted just twice for some short climbs. 

After a well earned, picnic lunch, we are in the van for a streatch to reach Samarkand, the second largest city in Uzbekistan.

Meal:
BLD

UNESCO listed, Samarkand is Uzbekistan’s second largest city. It is thought to be one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in Asia, and whilst it is hard to say exactly when it was founded, there is some informed opinion dating it to between 8 and 7th centuries B.C. It was a hugely important crossroads of the Silk Route and as such has a vibrant community of artisans. It is also home to a collection of restored, religious monuments, the most impressive of them being Registon Square where a public square was framed by three madrasahs (now restored). 

We pay a visit to this site and explore some of the ornate decoration both inside and out. For any early birds, there are some other monuments through the city that are well liked by a good camera.

After an action packed morning, the afternoon is free for you to relax. If however you would like to see more of this city, your guide will gladly help you to achieve that. We will gather for dinner in the evening to discuss the next chapter of our adventure.

Meal:
BLD

There is ample time this morning for a slow start. We have a drive of around 3.5 to reach the town of Sarmysh. From there we will venture further up a canyon to see the little known site of the Petroglyphs of Sarmysh. There are sites like this throughout central Asia, but this one has a large amount of clearly visible rock drawings, etched into the smooth black shale. The drawings, thought to be up to 3000 years old depict animals like goats and horses and  even dancers and men with large appendages. We will take our time to enjoy this rock art, by walking a few kilometers down the gorge and then settle in at the nearby yurt camp.

Riding:
73km
Meal:
BLD

We are in a much drier landscape now than on our earlier rides, but even this barren land has a sort of beauty. The ride first takes us slightly back towards the Zeravshan River, then north climbing over the Kara-Karga Pass. From here we have a series of ups and downs through an increasingly desertified landscape to the town of Nurota. This was a city founded by Alexander the Great in 327B.C. where the water system he had built at that time is still partially in use and the ruins of his fortress can be seen in the south of town. Our accommodation this evening is a modest guesthouse with ensuite bathrooms.

Riding:
65km
Meal:
BLD

There are days on the bike that are a highlight and then there are days where the satisfaction is derived from having started and ended the day on your bike, all while enjoying some good exercise and had some fun conversation with your fellow riders. That would be this day.

The scenery is similar to the day before, but marginally less interesting. That is until we near the last few kilometers when we may see some of the lake, depending on the water level and where the somewhat movable road is. Either way, the satisfaction of arriving at the Yurt Camp will be something to remember and we hope to do that in the early afternoon. 

You will have some down time in the afternoon in your yurt or in the communal yurt before the day cools down a bit and we can go out for a camel ride in the desert! Dinner is a fun experience tonight, almost certainly toasted with a little Vodka.

Riding:
56km
Meal:
BLD

As was once said by a man who slept in a yurt, “a good sleep is a long sleep”. So, we have allowed for a little sleep in today and will start off in the van at 9am. The drive is around 3 hours and we will stop for an early lunch, then it’s time to hit the bikes and ride into the ancient city of Bukhara, another important Silk Road city.

The city's early rulers installed a network of canals to irrigate the parched landscape surrounding the city and it is these canals that we will loosely follow today on our ride. The route takes us on village trails, then on minor roads and into the city alleyways, all the while, avoiding most of the traffic.

Arriving into Bukhara is an incredible way to finish a ride. The atmosphere of the central, old town area evokes images of what it might have been like to arrive on a caravan of camels in the old days. Today however, you can be assured that a comfortable hotel room awaits and a selection of cold beverages are easily at hand. We may partake in a few of these this evening for our final dinner together.

Meal:
BL

Our morning kicks off taking in a few of the most important sites of Bukhara and we'll visit a workshop or two where knives are crafted and rugs are woven. We’ll start out with a visit to the Samanid Mausoleum and then explore the buzzing Bazaar nearby, where spices are piled high in unbelievably neat arrangements. Barter with the vendors and enjoy some local treats, then move on to the Ark of Bukhara, the fortress from which the Emir’s ruled.

Along the way we'll stop at the Po-i-Kalyan and the Kalyan Minaret, which provides some great photo opportunities as these distinct structures see the late morning sunlight. On the way back to the hotel, we’ll pass a few of the workshops, but anyone wanting to shop should be a swift decision-maker as we will be checked out of the hotel by 12:30 for our drive to the airport and 3:30pm flight. We should be arriving in Tashkent around 4:20pm you can either remain at the airport to connect to your international flight, or have us take you to a hotel in the city where the tour concludes.

Dates & Price


Dates Availability Price * Deposit payment: $ USD
* Single room option: $ USD
02 - 15 May 2021 Guaranteed to Depart

Adult 4950USD

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12 - 25 Sep 2021 Seats available

Adult 4950USD

BOOK THIS TOUR
26 Sep - 09 Oct 2021 Seats available

Adult 4950USD

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Any tour can be made private! Request quote GO PRIVATE
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WHAT MAKES US STAND OUT

GRASSHOPPER STYLE


Our team of adventure professionals love to get beyond the highlights to show the sights you wouldn't see otherwise, and that signature Grasshopper touch can be experienced even in the far-flung reaches of Uzbekistan. This bicycle tour will give you an in-depth look at the deep culture and history of this emerging destination as you pedal a wide variety of terrain from small trails to rural roads and desert scenery.

There are two overnight stays in traditional yurts to give you the truly authentic Uzbekistan tour experience and we have sourced comfortable accommodation at all other stops to ensure a good night's rest after a day of adventure. Our team will take care of the details so you can get on with enjoying your cycling journey through the fascinating land that is Uzbekistan.

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