In the Summer of 2011, alpinist and self proclaimed long-distance cyclist Kyle Dempster set out across Kyrgyzstan’s back roads on his bike. His goal – ride across the country via old Soviet roads while climbing as many of the region’s impressive peaks as possible. He was alone, choose a bike instead of a partner and he carried only a minimalist’s ration of climbing gear. Ten Kyrgyz words rounded out his vocabulary. He’d purchased his bike just weeks before and had never bike toured. But an amazing cycling and climbing adventure in Kyrgyzstan, the “Switzerland of central Asia” was born.
Cycling and climbing adventure in Kyrgyzstan
Upon arrival, Kyle found himself pulled into the Kyrgyz culture – heavy drinking, friendly curiosity and families carving existences out of yurts in the foothill. From his maps, he picked a circuitous path of back roads between the regions incredible mountains. When he arrived, he found that the roads had been abandoned. Crumbling roads led deeper into the heart the Kyrgyz wilderness before disappearing all together. After crossing a few rivers (some of them naked to keep his clothes dry) and nearly being swept away in the process, Dempster realized that his path back was blocked. He had to keep, pedaling, pushing and carrying his bike. It meant crossing rivers raging with summer snow melt and navigating game trails in a country that has more peaks he could have imagined.
For seven days he did not see or meet anyone and he slowly got more and more desperate. The camera he uses to document his journey becomes an outlet. And as often is the case in true adventures it is these most daring and dangerous moments that make for great documentary material. With great wit and humour he overcomes his Kyrgyzstan mountain problems and creates a great adventure travel film.
In the end he executes one final river crossing before reconnecting with civilization and its roads and the realization that life on the open road is the best and most rewarding one!
The meaning of Real Adventure in Kyrgyzstan
After he refinds paved roads in the Kyrgyzstan mountains he starts climbing some of the unclimbed mountain peaks. Slowly the realisation comes what real adventure is…and he defines it beautifully:
“Real adventure is not polished. It exists at the intersection of imagination and the ridiculous! We use the word suffering way too much. Every adventure has both the light , the dark, the toil ,the reward. To experience that alone is to become absorbed by an activity, by a place , by its people. The wall of daily noise, the modern trappings that define our identities give way. Our mental defenses grow thin. You no longer know where you end and the world begins. We become raw. This is why we take the trip. That is what we’ve come for.”
Watch the full documentary covering Kyle Dempster’s cycling and climbing adventure in Kyrgyzstan. Make sure to watch the first full minute as it starts with a hilarious shot in the middle of a raging Kyrgyzstan river….
More Kyrgyzstan kickass adventures..
For more kickass Kyrgyzstan adventures have a look in our kickasstrips Kyrgyzstan adventure gallery here.