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Hiking and Biking 1

Esther 0

Last updated on 25th June 2019

Biking Armenia

Power to the Pedals

After I failed at my first attmept to bike a longer distance outside of Yerevan I  thought it must be a nightmare to bike in Armenia at all. But luckily I had a much better experience few days later.

In general I was not too far off with my first experiences. Roads are often in miserable condition, the mountainous area makes bike riding feel like a muscle powered roller coaster and old cars make you breath their fumes. There are no bike lanes  at all, it is normal to cycle on the pavement.  If there is one. There are no  cycle routes. Car drivers are not used to cyclists so extra care is needed if one wants to survive. The cities, in particular Yerervan,  have air pollution  on a dangerous level, the summer days are burning hot. The Armenian “bike in use” is  almost always a mountain bike.

But slowly things are changing and a new era begins. The government has decided to renew/update public transport in Yerevan and make it more electrical.  Cycling as a sport is becoming popular among the young Armenian generation. In 2005 the Armenian Velodrome was opened in Yerevan, with the aim of helping produce world class Armenian cyclists.  There are now Armenian cyclists at European championchips. Cyclist Edgar Stepanyan is on its way to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. On the World Cycling Day 2019  few days ago MIMO bike has launched their rental bikes in Yerevan. There have been several bike demonstrations in recent times for better conditions for cyclists. People forming  groups to go cycling together or organisations pedalling enthusiastivcally on a high amateur level like  Savage of Sevan and Triclub Yerevan. Certainly there is still a long way to go.

World Cycling Day in Yerevan June 2019

Bike Shops in Yerevan

There are quite a few bike shops in Yerevan and also some places where bikes can be rented. Prices should be around 3 to 5,000 Dram a day depending on the rental period. For a duration of 4 weeks and more I recommend to buy the bike instead of renting it, and sell it later again.

Specialized bikes can be bought at DLB-Dreamland Bike, Leningradyan Street 4/12. They have everything from mountainbike to road bike. The owner and the guy who runs the shop  have been cyclists themselves . That’s the place where I go for cycling with the group of friends every other Sunday. Amazing people really!

TREK bikes can be found at MyBike, Sasna Tsrer 2, quite some distance outside the city center. There you can also find mountain bikes and road bikes, they also offer bikes for rent. That’s the place where I bought my bike. They cooperate with Triclub Yerevan if there is a need for a road bike to rent.  From my experience very good service.

GIANT bikes are available at  GIANT BIKES ARMENIA in 17/2 Martiros Saryan Street, crossing  Pushkin Str. They have amazing bikes but I did not have a chat with them and have no experience with their service.  But I trust a visit is worth it.

There are some more bike shops, there is Bianchi,  few places offering cheap Chinese Bikes, there is Mega Sport and some others,  but on them I can’t really comment and therefore my recommendation is to check out the three above first.

One Bike Trip For Everyone

Here is my recommendation for a really nice cycle trip near Yerevan that can be done by anyone and there would be no need to start with a 10 km uphill torture to get out of Yerevan valley. The trick is to take a car that carries bikes and cyclists out of Yerevan and then cycle back. So we did with the friends from Dreamland bike shop on a sunny Bank-Holiday-Tuesday. 

We put our bikes on the car and drove along the M4 towards Lake Sevan until Vanatur. South of it is a village called Aghbyurak located at the Hrazdan Reservior. From here the road H5 follows the river Hrazdan in its gorge back to Yerevan.  It is an amazing ride through wonderful mountainous landscape. We catched a distant glimpse of the Olympic Training Village being used to prepare the athlets for the Olympic Games in Mexico City on high elevation, we had a picnic at a picturesce place at the banks of the river near to a historic place, spottet little churches on the edge of cliffs, saw a massive arch formed by rocks and drank from a natural mineral water spring – a taste so soft and fluffy I will never forget. The ride is in total less than 60 km; and  here comes the best: most of it is downhill. We started at an elevation of 1,850 m, not far from lake Sevan, and ended in Yerevan on 1,000 m. At the beginning the road is rough but later on it’s good enough for a roadbike. And very little  traffic on this road.

58 km bike trip along Hrazdan river back to Yerevan
Loading the car
Start at Hrazdan Reservior
Picnic in the sweet green valley next to the stream
Hrazdan river is the second largest in Armenia
Soft ,bubbly, warm mineral water from a spring below the surface
Cheers!
Little churches built on clifftops
Massive Arch near Kiraknamut chapel
Last stop before Yerevan already visible in the distance with Mount Ararat covered in clouds

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