Cycling Around Altay

About the Trip

Republic of Altai is one of the least populated territories of Russian federation, but beloved by many tourists, that are fond of wildlife, thus it is quit busy in summer. Gorno-Altaysk meets us with soviet architecture, but as we go of the main roads, we leave civilization behind and embrace the “Golden mountains” (from mongolian language “Altain”). Not just the mountains, but mountain rivers, vast numbers of predatory birds, forest and land animals, let us feel as part of the nature.

In small towns, you get a little sent of civilization, but one should face the fact that not all of them have electricity. Natives form villages all around, especially from the more distant ones are very friendly, curious, communicate with very willingly.

This is a country that you can recharge in for the hole year and with inpatients expect a new trip.

Publications

Our Route

Recommendations

  • Recommended currency Russian rubles, smaller bills are better as people in villages some times don’t have change from a 100 rub.
  • If you want to exchange currency in Lithuania or other countries, you should call the bank and ask them if they have a required amount, as it is not a very popular currency, they might not have enough.
  • It is best to have cash as debit or credit cards are rarely accepted, not even in the airport.
  • It is advisable that each member of your group should have at least one spare folding tire. Trust us you’ll need them. Also at least two tubes and 5 spokes, lots of spare screw.
  • Ideally you should all have the same racks, then you would be able to take one as a spare or use it for spare parts.
  • You should try not to camp near villages or towns in tents, best to look for tourist bases or go farther from the town and road.
  • In most villages you will be able to find a store with necessary products.
  • Take medicine from digestive disorders, food poisoning, allergies.
  • When you plan your route, you should expect that some forest roads are difficult to ride, sometimes 10 kilometers per day could become a real challenge.
  • Discuss your route with as many natives as you can, they know all the roads best and can tell you where you will be able to pass and where not. If they say it’s impossible to pass – you should believe them.
  • If a road on a map is marked as “roads with cover”, it doesn’t necessarily mean asphalt cover. It could be road filled with large pebbles which make it even harder to ride than a forest path.
  • In summer most of small rivers marked in maps will be dried out, watch your water supply.
  • In Altay water is drinkable from almost all rivers, even without using a water filter, but you should only drink form muddy rivers if you have no other choice.
  • Mosquitoes are rare in highlands and lowlands, unless you come across still water pools or swamps.
  • Prices, especially in villages are high.
  • if you want to get across lake Teletskoye, you can rent a motorboat. Although they are not big, but they can take on even 6 bicycles. There are no schedules or regular routes.
  • You can make a camp fire almost anywhere. Fire wood is easy to find, especially near river banks. If you don’t mind a longer wait or the pot getting black, you can get without a primus.
  • Motorboats come from the other side of the lake, so if you reach the lake form the south in the evening you should expect to go across only on the next day. You have to coordinate with tourist base employees about that.

Scenes from the movie

“Don’t say OP, before you jump across a ditch” (Lithuanian saying)

It’s not worth being a mechanic in altay