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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul
October 7th 2016
Published: October 7th 2016
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AMASYA to OSMANCIK 28 September, 2016



110 Kms SubT. Kms 3302.47 kms . Road Condition: Highway- good

Weather: showers at start, wet roads, after lunch- MILD 15c

Time in Saddle: 5:00.15 hrs. Av Speed: av. 23 kph. Av Cadence. 66 rpm

Elevation: 950 m up; 800m down

Calories burned : > 5000



This morning the rear wheel rim was sitting on the ground, tyre completely flat!! Pumped it up and prayed it would last to lunch. After three beautiful mornings, it was showering so didn't want to hang around. Arrived at lunch with tyre mostly deflated. Last 20 kms very squishy feeling and sound. Again pumped it up and road to tonight's hostel. Thankfully got me here.

Changed tube whilst waiting for room to become available. Could find no evidence of cause in the tyre, either on the outside or inside. Had another rider also check. A tiny hole caused by a wire. If it happens again, I will put on my new, replacement tyres. Must be my fate, as last two trips, no flats!! Have checked the tyre twice since tube replacement, seems to be holding up.



Scenery and ride average. The road spray left me splattered with mud. With the rain, tyre guards would certainly be welcome.



This town must be a commercial centre for the region, nothing inspiring to mention!



OSMANCIK to Grassy Camp 29 September, 2016 stage 111



126,42 Kms SubT. Kms 3428.89. kms . Road Condition: Highway- good STEEP LONG HILLS.

Weather: SUNNY & MILD 15c

Time in Saddle: 7.05:42 hrs. Av Speed: av. 17.8 kph. Av Cadence. 60 rpm

Elevation: 2175 m up; 1650m down

Calories burned : > 6000



Today was the biggest climb since I've been on the tour. 15km+ 7km+ 3km of 10%+ gradient, it was a 'killer', but now over. Tomorrow much shorter '1750 m' !! The weather was kind, cool but sunny most of the day, the descents were cold.



The morning scenery was appealing, but unfortunately in photos it just looks bland. Few coke stops, but thankfully at the base of the steepest descent a store sold hot nescafe, bliss. Eat an amazing amount of junk food, chocolate and packet chips and soft drink. However am losing weight, jeans purchased a week ago, size 32, now swim on me!!! More concerned about tooth decay!!



A grassy and treed camping site. The best looking one on the tour.



5 riding days remain.



Grassy Camp to SAFRANBOLU. 30 September, 2016 stage 112



133.20. Kms SubT. Kms 3562.09. kms . Road Condition: Highway- good STEEP LONG HILLS.

Weather: COLD until lunch, >8, SUNNY & MILD 15c.

Time in Saddle: 6:23:11. hrs. Av Speed: av. 20.8 kph. Av Cadence. 64 rpm

Elevation: 1750 m up; 930m down

Calories burned : > 6000



This morning it was sub zero. Black at 6am, and we get up at 5.30 am, madness, as it makes for a very cold ride until 11am. Fingers feel like stone, especially after collapsing and packing the tent!



A very heavy dew last night, the tent seemed more drenched than it would have been if it had rained. On arrival at the hotel, I erected the tent so that it could dry out. The tent bags are very good, with little moisture escaping into the duffle bag. I am pleased that all my gear is packed into a variety of stuff bags, not only does it make it easier to find things, it also keeps gear cleaner and drier.



The ride was again very mountainous with some steep inclines, the cruel part was the town Safranbolu is very steep so there was no respite until off the bike. The scenery was again appealing. A few coke stops to rest thankfully.



Safranbolu is a town of two halves, the old and the new, separated by a steep hill of about 1.8 kms. Shared a few beers on arrival, tasted good going down but left me with a headache, might have been dehydration!!!



The towns along this stretch of road are very close, you depart one town and the next town's outskirts start about 1 km later. The next town to Safranbolu has a population of 125,000. saf... Was 49500. This stretch has a large population!



SAFRANBOLU REST DAY. 1 October, 2016



A noisy town last night, lots of vehicle horns. Also felt as though the room was in a spotlight!



After breakfast most cleaned their bikes in readiness for the final pressure clean and boxing in Istanbul.



Walked back to the old town, most buildings constructed in the Ottoman era. The old town is all cobblestoned. Most tourists were Turkish, Ankara is not far by vehicle, and it is Saturday. Strolling around was relaxing, visited a street vegetable market which sold the produce from the surrounding hills.



SAFRANBOLU to KAYMAKLAR. 2 OCTOBER,2016 stage 113.



141.08 Kms SubT. Kms 3703.17 kms . Road Condition: Highway- good. STEEP LONG HILLS.

Weather: COOL START,SUNNY & MILD 25c

Time in Saddle: 6:55:31 hrs. Av Speed: av. 20.4 kph. Av Cadence. 64 rpm

Elevation: 1650m up; 1000m down

Calories burned : > 6000



Another difficult day in Turkey, it seems that they all are. A very mountainous country, at least the ares we have cycled. Not sure why they plan the routes they do, as today there we two opportunities to move to a coastal road, as opposed to the inland, mountainous route we took. Whilst the scenery was pleasant, the 10%+ gradients for most of the afternoon, somewhat diminished my admiring appreciation!!



Our camp site is another of TDA's choicest, accessed through the village dump, along slippery, muddy road. So pleased I cleaned the bike yesterday. Apparently this site is better than the planned site, which was actually the dump. As I have written previously I think the camping and off the bike at camp is more difficult than the actual cycling. Not being an ebullient personality, I often find it difficult to be upbeat when I arrive at camp. It is often best that I sit alone until initial negativity subsides.



Now waiting for dinner before bed and the return of 'groundhog day'



KAYMAKLAR to KAYMACIK. 3 OCTOBER,2016 stage 114



124.19. Kms SubT. Kms 3827.36. kms . Road Condition: Highway/ Backroad mix. good.

MANY STEEP SHORTISH HILLS.

Weather: FOG AT START,SUNNY & MILD 25c

Time in Saddle: 5:38:56 hrs. Av Speed: av. 22 kph. Av Cadence 70 rpm

Elevation: 1250 m up; 1400 m down

Calories burned : > 5000



Today I had my first glimpse and later, full view of the BLACK SEA? I t was marvellous to see water again, 2+ months since last seen by me, 5 months by the full tour riders. I find water views very soothing, no wonder the Gold Coast is such a magic place!



It was a good, winding descent from camp to the coast. Heavy dew last night, and the camp was noisy as there was a wedding in the village, so fireworks and gunfire sounded most of the evening, disturbing all the village dogs who then howled!



The Black Sea was very blue, and there were many trawlers out. The BS is the home port to the Russian and Turkish Naval fleets for the Med., and is fronted by numerous countries- Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and possibly two others, no internet available to check!



We rolled along the coast and then headed inland for our daily dose of hilly climbs. I feel that I may have hurt my sciatic nerve, as my lower back, bottom and right leg are quite painful. The constant steep long climbs, result in downward pressure on the seat contributing to the problem. I stand regularly on the pedals, but clearly the length of the hills is my issue! A few days off the bike in two days hence should hopefully resolve any lingering issue. I am contemplating a Hamman, (Turkish Bath), in Istanbul. Possible it may improve or exacerbate the issue. Maybe a thai massage may be in order.



Camp on grass, not rocky weed tonight. A pleasant change.



KAYMACIK to SILE. 4 OCTOBER,2016 stage 115



97.82 Kms SubT. Kms 3925.18 kms . Road Condition: Highway/ Backroad mix. good.

MANY STEEP SHORTISH HILLS.

Weather: HEAVY FOG AT START, SUNNY & MILD 27c

Time in Saddle: 4:30:57 hrs. Av Speed: av. 21.7 kph. Av Cadence 70 rpm

Elevation: 1250 m up; 1250 m down

Calories burned : > 4500



Awoke to light rain and heavy fog. The rain stopped when it was time to pull down the tent, however the fog lasted for more than an hour, making cycling tricky, damp and cool. The glasses kept fogging over, and water dripped from the top of my nose.



When the fog burnt off, the scenery was beautiful, rolling hill landscapes, distant water, numerous mosques in every small village, hundreds of dogs, which were more aggressive today than previous. The call to prayer echoes through the valleys, some sound more melodic than others. It doesn't seem to bring about any change of routine in the locals, who continue going about their activities, seemingly oblivious.



The ride to and from lunch was equidistant, both in kms travelled and meters climbed, however, before lunch the hills seemed reasonable, after, the hills were oppressive, i think the gradients must have been harsher.



The camp is in the grounds of a basic hotel. Decided on a room, so that I could dry out my gear ahead of tomorrow's finish as rain overnight is predicted. So whilst I am in a room I still had to erect the tent, fly, etc. At least now it is completely dry, more tightly rolled, clear of local mud and vegetation for Aussie quarantine, and ready for travel. Will leave my ground sheet, tent stakes and rubber hammer. A few kilos in this lot, which might be valuable later! Will need to clean the bike pre boxing it up tomorrow.



The crew put on a special meal tonight, wild boar, which was a gift at the last camp by the owner. The cook prepped it last night, slow cooked and smoked it for about 9 hours in a makeshift oven and smoker. The meat was well cooked and delicious. The staff went to a lot of effort, and the meal was excellent. Rider jerseys were given out and weather dependant everyone is encouraged to wear them tomorrow on the last cycling day. I ordered a 2XL, seems a little oversize, but if history repeats, the fit will be better once I am home for a while!!



It seems that everyone is excited about finishing tomorrow. Most are in Istanbul only one or two extra days, a pity I feel, as it is a great city. I must admit I am over the group activity and am looking forward to planning my own days and having some down time to do my own thing!!



SILE to ISTANBUL. 5 OCTOBER,2016 stage 116



85.82 Kms SubT. Kms 4010.18 kms . Road Condition: WET, HILLY, AVERAGE.

Weather: SHOWERS, MID MORNING- MID AFTERNOON CONSTANT RAIN.

Time in Saddle: 4:17:01 hrs. Av Speed: av. 20 kph. Av Cadence 70 rpm

Elevation: 800 m up; 800 m down

Calories burned : > 4500



The ride from Sile followed the Black Sea coast, which at times ranged over sharp inclines and offered occasional excellent sea views.



The weather was disappointing, constant rain made the cycling potentially dangerous, 3 riders had falls, car drivers behaved erratically and I was soaked. We stopped for lunch at a seaside cafe, fish rolls and turnip juice, enough said, then cycled on to a cycle shoot, very cold as wind blowing, then cycled on to final hotel in Istanbul on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. Magnificent views across the water of the Golden Horn, the ancient centre of the Ottoman Empire.



So ended the Silk Road journey. A journey for me over 2 years and approximately 11,000 kms. I lost about 1500 kms through riding the truck, injury or illness and restarting in Samarkand, not Dushanbe. The riders finishing today who rode through Mongolia, Russia and Kazakstan road a total distance of about 13,000 kms. Only 4 road EFI. Only 13 riders concluded the journey in Istanbul, down from the numbers of 2014.



We were treated to a final celebratory dinner on Princess Tower Is. situated in the middle of the Bosphorus, a very famous restaurant, fine dining, exceptional views, good food and great atmosphere, it has featured in 2 James Bond movies!



So ends my journey, mixed emotions, a feeling of satisfaction and relief that the ride was completed safely, some sadness that the adventure is finished, excitement about maybe putting into effect some new ideas. Made some interesting friendships over the 2 years, there are some riders I won't recall, but each rider was a person of determination and focus, most were of good humour and all had adventurous spirit.

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12th October 2016

Happy birthday
Happy birthday big brother!!! So glad you finally made it into Istanbul!!! What sights you have seen on this journey, and u did so well, with many an interesting story & beautiful photos!! How was Princess Is?? Mark great or g/great grandfather was the snr & last architect to the very last sultan in Turkey & he was the architect who designed the buildings etc on the islands plus parts if Topkapi. His name is in architect books & used by tutors/professors if both history & architecture at Bosegi uni. His name is on many plaques imbedded in walls particularly around Topkapi palace etc. Anyway, just wishing you a happy birthday & look forward to catching up when you get home!!!! Lots of love & best birthday wishes, Mark & Barb 😘😘
13th October 2016

Birthday Wishes
Thanks for your Birthday Wishes. Interesting about Mark's ancestors. Loved Istanbul. Now in Bangkok with Mem. Cheers Roger

Tot: 3.934s; Tpl: 0.049s; cc: 12; qc: 58; dbt: 0.049s; 3; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.4mb