Thanks to a shop owner of the small village named Toru-Aygyr I spent last night in a house instead of a tent in the storm. Today’s goal was Tokmok, a city 60 km east of Bishkek. As Tokmok is already at a much lower altitude than Issyk Kul, temperatures rose to 33°C at noon, which is quite hot for cycling on tarmac. As I woke up already at 5:30 today, I took advantage of it and started cycling at 6:40 in nice cool temperatures, and as the road was gradually going down for the next 100 km, I reached Tokmok shortly after noon and spent the rest of the afternoon in a park.
Fine road down from Issyk Kul
I have had a lot of bad roads here in Kyrgyzstan in the past three weeks and I lost a few words of frustration during the ride on those roads, but today things were different. Basically the whole way down to Tokmok I had a very nice road surface, slight tail wind, and almost no traffic at all due to early Sunday morning. All these factors contributed to a relaxed 135 km ride down to Tokmok.
Afternoon heat in the lowlands
It is the first time on this trip that I am confronted with temperatures above 30°C. While it is still possible to cycle, I took the liberty this afternoon to relax in a park here in Tokmok instead of cycling the remaining 60 km directly to Bishkek. I save this last roughly three hour cycling for tomorrow morning when temperatures are still below 30°C.
As there was a big supermarket right next to the city park and I still had a lot of camping food to get rid of that served as emergency reserve during the past weeks, I refrained from eating lunch at a restaurant. Instead, I took my camping cooker and cooked some noodles and ate some of the camping food where you simply have to add water into the bag and wait for five minutes.
Tricky search for accommodation
In the past it was always easy to find accommodation in smaller villages or towns that have tourists regularly. Tokmok however is not a tourist town at all, so there are no official guest houses and only a handful of hotels. Usually I used the app Maps.me to find guesthouses, but I had no luck here in Tokmok, I tried two private homes that were marked as guesthouses, but none of them actually wanted to have guests.
As I got tired of cycling through the city in this heat and knock on people’s doors, I decided to go for a hotel (there are only around 3 in the whole town that were marked on my map). And I finally succeeded to find a shabby room in a hotel in town. As there were no other rooms available, I had to take a deluxe room for around 18$. The only thing deluxe about the room however is the price. The warm water was not working, the lamp in the bathroom is broken, the extra room in the suite was just an empty room without any chairs or couch, toilet paper was missing, etc. I really missed today the times where I stayed at private person’s homes, because they actually cared about your wellbeing for a fraction of the price. But well, it’s only one night and tomorrow in Bishkek I already know some locals at whose home I can stay until my departure.
The remaining rooms of the hotel are occupied by a Korean group of cyclists as well. As usual for Asians, they have top equipment. For those who know a bit about bicycles: They had all XTR components, titanium or carbon frames, and so on. That was kind of funny because they did not look like professionals to me at all, and the route they were cycling was actually on paved roads and not where you actually need such components. Nevertheless, they were friendly and if at least one of the nine persons had spoken a word of English, I would have liked to have some conversation with them.
Max elevation: 1647 m
Min elevation: 876 m
Total climbing: 1289 m
Total descent: -2051 m
Total time: 10:06:48