Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world Kyrgyzstan, and the Tien Shan mountains in particular, hold a special place in my heart. Back in 2013 when I was deciding what to focus my undergradute dissertation on I went roving on Google Earth in the hope of finding some mountain inspiration. Queue the Tien Shan mountains, a mountain range that I'd never heard of before, despite being pretty well known. A couple of months of later, with



The Soviet Switzerland

We rode up into the mountains from the lakeside town of Karakol. After a couple of days hiatus in the town where we had been waiting for Warrick to arrive and, where after a couple of celebratory beers to mark our arrival Jam's bag containing camera, phone

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The track gradually got rougher and rougher, steepening as we approached the end of the valley.    is seriously considering replacing the “triple lock”, which guarantees a minimum increase in the state pension each year, with a less generous “double lock”, and spending some of the money saved on social care.The existing system guarantees that the basic state pension will increase each year by whichever is the largest of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%, but it has become expensive to fund during a period when prices and wages growth have been low.

It was often a game of stop and start, trying to build some momentum going up the steep loose track before eventually either the tyres would lose traction or you would inadvertently steer the bike into big boulder. Eventually we passed by yet another mountain lake and  and started the final 'push' to the top. A series of switchbacks that, try as we might, we're just too hard to ride. We admitted defeat, took the 


I guess this is what we'd been looking for, what we had kind of been missing ever since leaving the Altai mountains of western Mongolia and entering China. Back in the mountains again. We stuck on some music and settled into to cooking up a meal of rice of tomatoes, the sun turning the far off glaciers into a pinkish  glow. These were the first glaciers of Asia, it felt great.