Cycling in foothills of the Caucasus

This time my bike trip ran through the regions of Adygea and Karachay-Cherkessia. The start of the campaign was in the city of Maykop, the finish line was in Kislovodsk.

Alas, there were no convenient flights on a plane, so I bought a train ticket, like the rest of our group. I took a plane ticket for the way back.

With a bike on a double-decker train

The upcoming train journey worried me most of all, I could not buy a place in the luggage compartment, I had to pay for the bike as additional carry-on luggage. The train was double-decker, and it was completely incomprehensible how to take a bicycle in a compartment because in such trains the compartments are tiny!

And I was not alone in missing the luggage compartment. There were four of us, and we were traveling in the same carriage. According to the rules of Russian Railways, bicycles paid for as additional carry-on baggage must be carried in a compartment; it is prohibited to put them in the corridor. In my compartment, it turns out, it was necessary to carry 2 bicycles because there was another member of our group with me in the compartment, I could not imagine how this would happen, and how other neighbors in the compartment would react to it.

After meeting with the group at the station, we went to the train carriage and began to disassemble the bicycles and pack them in soft cases. Asking the conductor what to do, she said that it was necessary to transport bicycles in the compartment. Having entered the carriage, we first put the bicycles in the corridor in order to understand what to do with them. I estimated it would be possible to shove them into the compartment, in principle, if we put them on the floor across the compartment under the table, but it would be very uncomfortable to sit at the table.

But in the end, we decided to leave them in the corridor. With removed pedals, they did not interfere with walking. All we did was fix them with ties to the railing so that they would not fall.

The conductor did not tell us a word about our bicycles, so the journey was smooth. There were no complaints.

The journey lasted one and a half days, in the evening we left St. Petersburg, and in a day, early in the morning, we arrived in Tuapse.

In Tuapse, we waited for a train with participants from Moscow, got into the cars ordered in advance (bicycles in a truck, people in a minibus), and took to Maykop. We had lunch, equipped our bicycles, and started our trip 🙂


The Republic of Adygea delighted us with sun-drenched green meadows, a sea of flowers and blooming cherry and apple trees. I loved seeing so many trees in bloom 🌺🌳 The relief in the early days was variable, somewhere plains, somewhere small hills.

As we moved along the route, we gradually gained altitude. There were fewer and fewer blooming trees, and the landscape was more of an alpine meadow. All the mountains and hills in the area were covered with a green grass carpet.

The last days, when we were already in Karachay-Cherkessia, were frankly in the mountains. Early spring was still at the height; last year’s yellow grass had not yet been replaced by greenery.

Overall, the weather was pleasant throughout the trip. Just a couple of days were not very pleasant.

Hot day

The second day was scorching, I didn’t feel the best. A saving shadow from trees was rare. I even wondered if I would faint from such heat.

Sweat poured in streams

On this day, the relief was hilly and the route ran over the ground roads. When we saw these roads, the mood slightly faded. When there were rains, trucks plowed mud, after that, it has all hardened and the dirt road has turned into ruts up to half a meter deep. We carried bicycles in our hands because it was often impossible to ride. It was the hardest day for me.

In the evening, after we set up the camp, the first thing I did was to bathe in the river. It didn’t stop me that it was cold, I wanted to wash after such a scorching day.

It rained once

After a hot day, a fresh day was. By the middle of the day, we were covered with such a downpour that riding under it was torture! Actually, we were waiting for it, tracking it on the radar. However, literally 10 minutes was not enough for us to get to the bridge, under which we were hiding. As a result, when we got under the bridge, we were already completely wet.

The downpour was accompanied by gusts of cold wind. We waited for the end of the storm under the bridge for 4 hours, there was time for a leisurely lunch and chat 😁 When the rain stopped, the air was fresh and it was very pleasant to ride.

Mountain pass

Actually, we had several mountain passes. But the biggest one was close to the end of the trip, the Gumbashi pass (maximum height we had a 2059 m). It was already cool to climb it, close to the top icy wind blew constantly. It’s good that there is a cafe where we took refuge for a while, warmed up, and dined on delicious khychins (local cuisine).

While we were climbing, athletes periodically descended towards us on road bicycles. On the top we talked with a couple of them, it turned out that they were riding a brevet. They had to overcome 600 km in 2 days! And this is in the highlands! Guys are incredibly powerful! Many of them were from St. Petersburg.

What usually follows after getting up? Right, descent! It was steep at first and it was cool to ride on good asphalt. However, this was not for long, then it became flat, and the quality of the road deteriorated.

Temple and incident

One day we had a sight, the Shoanin Temple. That day we climbed high enough, rode along the alpine meadows. Before going to the temple, we had a wonderful lunch on one of the mountain meadows. We settled down on the grass, everything was green and full of sun, someone even decided to sunbathe.

The temple itself is high on the rock, but still not as high as we were, so we had to go down to the temple. The road was steep and rocky, we descended very carefully. There were cars and people near the temple; this temple was more of a tourist attraction.

We left our bicycles and went up on foot to see the temple itself. I liked it very much! It is quite small and built of gray stones, from the outside it looks more like a small medieval fortress 🕍 There is no decoration inside, just gray stone walls, and golden icons hang on them, it looks very cool! They contrast so much, and at the same time harmonize. Also, rays of light pass beautifully through small windows ✨

After the temple, our road went into the valley to the city. But the road from the temple is also quite steep, with pebbles and dust. Vera said that she is scared to ride along such a steep road. I replied something like: “Pfff… there is nothing special in it, we had gone down to the temple on an even steeper one”. But starting the movement, punishment overtook me, literally after 200 meters I fell 😬 It was a light fall on my side. I didn’t even bump, mostly got dirty in the dust, and somehow the holder of the flashlight on the steering wheel broke off.

After going down to the valley we went to the store to buy some water. I applied the card to the terminal, but it didn’t read, I inserted it into the terminal, nothing happened. It turned out that I had fallen on a small pebble. And the bank card in my pocket sacrificed its life to protect me from damage.

It so happened that the stone hit right into the chip, leaving a barely noticeable dent, but that was enough. This was the reason to set up payment via NFC on the phone finally 🙂


All the camps were in the meadows near the rivers. They differed only in secrecy from the roads and picturesqueness. I would like to especially note the last camp, it was not easy to get to it, but in the end, we ended up on a small green meadow near a cute river in a huge canyon! The slopes of the canyon were gentle and also covered with a green carpet, wherein some places large rocky boulders lay. And the top of the canyon itself was rocky.

The morning at this place was amazing! The rays of the rising sun fell directly into the canyon, warming the tourists coming out of the tents 😌 It was the last day, the distance according to the plan was small, so there was no rush, everyone enjoyed the morning to the maximum, even a small yoga master class was 😄


On this day we had to finish in Kislovodsk. It was very close to the city, we had one more attraction on the way, Honey Falls. They were close to our camp, we had time to walk there. This is a tourist place, there are a lot of people, there are all sorts of shops with souvenirs and food. The entrance to the territory costs 1$. In fact, you go down the steps into a canyon with a river, in several places waterfalls fall from the wall into the canyon. I really liked it there! An additional advantage was that the day was scorching, and the canyon was pleasantly cool.

We completed the route in the city of Kislovodsk. We checked into the hotel. It was only the middle of the day, so after showering, we still had enough time to walk around the city. We went to the city center, which I was glad, there was an alley that I liked.

The central alley is very wide and for pedestrians only. There are many flower beds in the midst, while boutiques and cafes stretch along the edges. You get the full feeling that you are in a resort somewhere near the sea, especially since the alley itself has a slight slope, and going down it seems that the sea will appear soon 🌊 But that is an illusion, if you look at the horizon, you can see a wall of mountains ⛰

Returning to the hotel in the evening, we settled down in the gazebo next to it, made kebabs, and enjoyed the last dinner together. The next day, everyone went home.

Way home

Maxim and I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. and go to the station for an early train to get to the airports. Only we chose to fly back by plane, I think it was a wise decision. But it turned out that we flew from different cities, I was from Mineralnye Vody, he was from Krasnodar. I don’t understand why the rest of members chose to go back by train for two days… the suffering of the train at the beginning of the journey was enough for me, I don’t like trains. At 14:30 p.m. I was already in St. Petersburg, and the guys in Kislovodsk had not even gotten on the train yet. This time, during the flight, my bike did not get any damage 🙂

More photos


I would call this trip a meditative one. There are no mega sights along the way, but you are constantly accompanied by beautiful landscapes. When you riding across the plains or pedaling uphill, all the time you are watching the sun-drenched plains with flowering trees, the cows grazing on alpine meadows, the snowy ridge of mountains towering in the distance 😌 This is great for people tired of the hustle and bustle of the city!

Out of disappointment, khychins ate only once. But this is a culinary visiting card of the Caucasus.

Some statistics

The values are from Strava, so the accuracy is so-so.

Total distance: 375.02 km

Max. altitude: 2 059 m

Total elevation gain: 5 310 m

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