Having already tackled Turkey’s Central Plateau in 2010, this year’s Turkish challenge was to ride across the Black Sea coast road with six months of inner city living behind us. A tough return to the bicycles was helped by a chance meeting with Fred a Swiss bicycle tourist who contributed his extensive knowledge of Indian cuisine to our evening meals and stories from his many cycling adventures to our campsite conversations. After three weeks of cycling, we spent a few days exploring Trabzon and took a side trip to Georgia, before finally fare-welling this amazing country and crossing to Russia by ferry.
Here are some facts and figures from our time cycle touring in Turkey in 2011:
- 1305 km cycled (longest day 96 km, shortest day 40 km on the black sea coast)
- 15 nights free camping, 13 nights in real beds (including 6 hotel rooms), 1 night on the ferry
- 232 glasses of Turkish çay drunk – and many of those without charge
- 14 portions of corba (Turkish soup) consumed
- 3 free camps at off season campsites
- 3 cycle tourists met en-route
- 3 drive train cleaning sessions after rain/road works
- 2 kilograms of unshelled hazelnuts given to us by strangers
- 2 hills pushed up (worst was 20%)
- 1 river wash but no swims (too cold!)
- 1 pod of dolphins spotted on the bus back from Georgia
- 1 drink bottle lost (and 1 non-insulating thermos purchased as a replacement)
- 1 very foggy day of cycling
- 1 well-earned hamam scrub-down
- 0 punctured tyres (thanks to our new Marathon XRs no doubt!)
Justin’s most unexpected bike ride: Cruising around Trabzon on a Thursday evening with a group of local cyclists chatting about cycling and trying to raise awareness of its benefits as a form of transport, followed by cay and photos in the University cafe.
Emma’s best Turkish breakfast: Tied between our regular cinnamon and orange campsite porridge and the Zeytin Mutfak (Olive Kitchen) restaurant spread in Sinop where homemade jams sat on a full table alongside kaymak and honey, bowls of olives, cheese and warm bread.