October
3rd
2010

Istanbul Bike Shops


Istanbul bike shops

Our bikes have travelled around 12,000km since they left the Thorn workshop in June 2009 and have not yet had any attention from a professional bike mechanic. While we are fairly happy carrying out day-to-day maintenance I really wanted to get an expert check-up and some advice before we headed off further east in 2011. When we decided to take a break from our cycle tour and spend the winter in Istanbul I began to look for information about bike mechanics in the city. – Posted by Justin

October
10th
2010

Hibernating By The Bosporus


Hibernating by the Bosporus

These last few days, winter has started to wrap itself around Istanbul. We have watched blue skies grey over and rain soak through our shoes as the outside temperature has plummeted from 30 down to 10 degrees. While the Blue Mosque looks particularly impressive against the muted sky, our building’s central heating has been turned on and it feels good just to be indoors with thick walls between us and the elements. – Posted by Emma

October
18th
2010

Gallipoli Sans Bicycles


Gallipoli sans bicycles

We had only been in Turkey for a few days when the Gallipoli campaign was mentioned. We were sitting at a shaded picnic table about to eat lunch and two men came over to offer us some green melon that they had thoughtfully sliced into mouth-sized chunks. After they had finished their own lunch they returned to offer us cigarettes and show off heart and lung surgery scars caused by smoking. – Posted by Emma

October
24th
2010

Istanbul Cycle Tourists – Oct


Istanbul cycle tourists

During our cycle tour from Spain to Istanbul via a long and winding route we made regular use of the website warmshowers.org. Members offer to put you up for a night or two in a similar way to popular hospitality website couch surfing but with a solely cycling based membership. Now that we are settled in Istanbul for the winter we’re happy to fill the role of hosts ourselves, although we weren’t expecting many guests as the weather got colder. – Posted by Justin

November
1st
2010

Winter Gear Fixing List


Winter gear fixing list

The very same day we sat down to write a huge list of all the things that we needed to do before continuing our tour in April 2011, we received an email from a cyclist asking how our gear had performed in the first six months of the trip and if there were any choices we would make differently after being on the road. – Posted by Emma

November
4th
2010

Gazing At Maps


Gazing at maps

We’re huge fans of cartography. Our first cycle tours in the England were completed with the help of a mix of UK Sustrans route maps, photocopies from road atlases and the beautifully accurate OS range. After heading West in Spain, our Picos de Europa map gave us a quick refresher in the importance of reading pass indicators. Later in Bulgaria we tried reading maps in Cyrillic, and then in Edirne, Turkey Justin gave up on the hunt for a good quality map and cycled back to Greece to buy one. – Posted by Emma

November
10th
2010

Turkish Cycle Touring Maps


Turkish cycle touring maps

Continuing our recent theme of posting about how we use maps we thought it might be useful to some blog readers to hear a little about our experiences using and buying maps of Turkey. If you are planning a route through Turkey by bicycle then hopefully our experiences below will convince you to pick-up a good quality map before you get to Turkey. – Posted by Justin

November
23rd
2010

Tent Repatriation


Tent repatriation

We don’t know if regular use by two (sometimes) stinky cyclist bodies are anything to do with our misfortunes but between the mysterious holes which appeared in France, a love-in with an over-amorous cat, a pair of trapped crickets and a troupe of hungry ants, our tent (lovingly known as Bessie) has a few holes after six months of cycle touring. – Posted by Emma

November
27th
2010

Turkish Gear Drop


Turkish gear drop

As we mentioned a few weeks back, we have a lot of gear to be fixed over the coming winter. I still say “coming winter” as here in Istanbul its 20 degrees and sunny most days at the moment… Great! Our very good friends Cat and Graham have again come to the rescue, like they did with our Italian gear drop, but instead of posting our supplies this time they also came to visit us in Istanbul bringing a suitcase of bike bits in tow. – Posted by Justin

December
1st
2010

Istanbul Cycle Tourists – Nov


Istanbul Cycle Tourists - November

Over the last six weeks in Istanbul, we have been amazed by the number of passing cycle tourists that have contacted us to meet up for a drink or who have made themselves at home with us for a few days. Since our first post about some of the cycle tourists we met in Istanbul we were expecting visitor numbers to dwindle into the winter months but so far they show no sign of letting up. – Posted by Justin