Cycling in Turkey

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  , Izmir,
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

At first we were a little concerned about what this might be like.  So far our experience is that there is very low traffic, usually shoulders, and drivers give you lots of space. 

The road surfacing could do with a little improvement.  Mostly it's tar with different sized rocks smacked in.  Very uneven and makes for a rough and tiring ride.  After a few km's you think that all the rivets and bolts in your bike must be shaking loose from all the jarring.  And when your hands and butt are staring to go numb from the constant vibrations, there will be a little stretch of tarmac - like across a bridge or filling in some work - oh bliss - and then it's right back to bumps again. 

Depends on how recently the road has been worked on, many of the rocks haphazardly 'stuck' into the tar are loose.  That means that passing vehicles shoot out the loose stones from under their tires and they bounce off your helmet and body. 

That and there doesn't seem to be any type of level gradient.  We were cycling along the coast and the road did what Brian liked to call 'porpoising'.  Up and down and up and down as regularily as a porpoise jumps up and out of the water as it makes it's way along. 

Most hills are long and drawn out and a little too steep for a comfortable cycle.  But just as the up was a little steep, so is the down.  No gradient signs posted, just a picture of a steep hill.  One particular time we finally crested a hill to start rocketing down the other side.  With the uneven surface and sprinklings of gravel it was all I could do to hold on.  Brian's cycle computer quickly shot up to 69km/hr and topped out as he continued to gain speed.  I guess the makers didn't see any reason for it to go any higher...

Not having reliable maps make the adventure all the more fun.  Judging distance is next to impossible when 1 cm equals 30-40km.  So you're missing all sorts of turns and names of towns, cycling along hoping that this is the right direction.  Regarding names of towns, it's like there were 2 very important jobs to be done:  1, was installing the signs that state the name of the town upon entrance and 2, was installing the signs that state when you are exiting the town.  2 jobs by 2 people, but somehow job #2 never got completed.  So we always know the name of the town after we leave it...a little unfortunate if our turn happened to be IN that particular town!

But the WORST part is that you have to cycle with only one hand :).  People are so friendly, both oncoming and passing vehicles are full of honks (hilarious sounding melodies).  Children run along the side of the road shouting and waving.  An ambulance drives by and flicks on the lights and the siren in recognition.  Even when rolling by a parked police car we heard calls of 'hello' 'hello'.  So I've tried to learn how to drive with one hand as I always have to be ready to wave!
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Fay on

so interesting and surprising to hear of all the friendliness!

Danny on

Should learn to ride like a pro! They are able to ride the bike without touching the handlebars at all ...

2totango on

I'm so far from being a pro...:)

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