MTB World-First: Expedition to Traverse Kyrgyzstan’s Talas Mountains Looms

This September a team of mountain bike (MTB) enthusiasts will attempt a world-first attempt traverse of Kyrgyzstan’s Talas Mountains led by adventure travel company Secret Compass.

London, United Kingdom, June 12, 2015 --( A world first attempt to traverse Kyrgyzstan's Talas Mountains on mountain bikes (MTB) departs this September with a team of MTB enthusiasts led by adventure travel company Secret Compass.

The isolated Talas region is a land of forgotten borders, cut off from the rest of Kyrgyzstan. Its mountains are part of Central Asia’s Tien Shan range, and this exploratory adventure will see a small team of amateur MTB riders bisect the range east-to-west route, summitting 3,500m mountain passes and surrounded by 4,500m peaks.

Highlights of the Kyrgyzstan MTB expedition

- First MTB team to attempt a Talas Mountains traverse
- Exploratory in nature with few established trails and no MTB infrastructure
- Rugged, snow-capped scenery with challenging 3,500m passes
- Ride through a region rich in political and historical significance
- Meet shepherds in scattered settlements en route
- 7 -19 Sept 2015, £2,499pp inclusive (except international flights)

Expedition leader Patrick Barrow has lived in the region since 2009. Barrow said, “We might cross the occasional dirt road and there'll be several river crossings. Some sections might be steep and technical, with animal-carved single-track or free-riding to enjoy. There’ll be gorgeous, panoramic views of 4000m-plus peaks in every direction.

“This MTB expedition will suit all-mountain riders who aren’t afraid to hike a bit, to sleep under the stars and to pitch in around camp; ambitious people ready to get creative with their riding.”

Tom Bodkin who, along with Levison Wood (Walking the Nile) is a co-founder of Secret Compass, said, “As an expedition company our ethos is to push the boundaries of exploration whether on foot, in rafts or on mountain bikes and to achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places.

“Our teams were the first to explore South Sudan, the first to cross Madagascar coast to coast and the first to mountain bike Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. We sought another pioneering MTB destination for 2015 and Kyrgyzstan fit the bill perfectly."

Ride leader Barrow added, “I was blown away by the immensity, wildness and remoteness of the route we’re attempting with the Secret Compass MTB team in September 2015. It will be epic!”

Bodkin concluded, “Despite extensive planning we’ll doubtless encounter challenging unknowns en route, which is what will keep things exciting for everyone involved. Our expeditions aren’t done deals – they’re dynamic and things often change.”

As former expedition teammate Mark Soares said, “The potential for discovery and adventure on Secret Compass expeditions is hard to fathom…as if from some epic in literature. If I hadn’t experienced it with my own eyes, I might not have believed it.”

The Talas Traverse MTB expedition is open to anyone with a good level of fitness and riding ability, keen to explore a remote and wild region in the company of like-minded individuals. To apply, visit now. Applications close in July 2015.

Secret Compass is running a second MTB expedition in 2015, to Ethiopia’s UNESCO-protected Simien Mountains. Further details for this October adventure can be found on their website.

For further information about this world-first MTB expedition to Kyrgyzstan, visit:

For further press information included imagery and a full-length interview with Kyrgyzstan-based expedition leader Patrick Barrow, contact marketing director Kerry O’Neill via email on

Notes to Editors:
Secret Compass is a pioneering expedition company creating world-first experiences for teams of like-minded adventurers. Through group and bespoke adventures, Secret Compass helps each team member achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Founded by ex-British Army Parachute Regiment officers, its expeditions reach the planet’s most remote regions in the spirit of exploration’s earliest pioneers. Its highly trained professionals deliver well-planned and safe experiences, while encouraging daring leaps out of comfort zones. Secret Compass is passionate about returning tourism to post-conflict zones and emerging economies to stimulate local development and challenge preconceptions.

Specialist Film and TV services
Secret Compass also takes film crews, journalists and photographers to remote and previously inaccessible areas thanks to its unrivalled location management expertise. Clients to date include the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet and Channel 4, in countries from Afghanistan to South Sudan, Namibia, Greenland and Uzbekistan.
Secret Compass
Kerry O'Neill
0203 2398 038