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Almaty to Zharkent

Finally hit the road from Almaty. As much as I like the city I’ve been itching to get back on the bike and carry on heading east.

Finally on the road from Almaty

The Russian satnav took the most direct route again and took me along about 55 miles of the worst roads I’ve encountered yet. Which was fun to start with, then turned a bit dangerous. Deep gravel, sand and shale all mixed up in patches. Along some sections the road had been washed out from floods so had to take to drry river beds to get round the holes in the road. And not a soul in site. I didn’t pass another human being for the entire section.

The other downside is the route dumped me the wrong side of the Charyn Canyon with very little petrol and no station between me and the canyon, so I rode as far as I could to the edge of the canyon and then had to spin round to head towards Zharkhent.

Jay (in blue), Abi (in white) and Joe, an American who is running local fruit farms happened to be passing

About an hour later I bumped into two girls, Abi, from Scotland and Jay from the US who are in the process of cycling from Chiang Mai where they have been teaching, back to Scotland. Total respect due! Check out Abi’s site –

Turns out Abi’s mum is Welsh and was born round the corner from me in a town called Risca where my dad had a business many years ago … small world innit!

I got to the next petrol station running on fumes and met 3 Kazakh dudes from Almaty called Alex, Alex and Dima. They were heading to the border the next day to sort out a problem with some cars they were importing and knew a good local hotel up in the hills, so I headed up there with them and we all got properly drunk on beer and vodka. Great night just eating, drinking and shooting the breeze. Top night out.

Song of the day – What A Beautiful Day by Thunder … bouncinga round on the bike thrilled to be back on the road with the sun up 🙂

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