Here lies my top 5 favorite cycle touring countries. As a mere mortal I can’t claim to have cycled extensively in every country on Earth but I have done a few tens of thousands of miles in about 35 of them and, of course, I have my favorites.
The quality of the roads and amount of traffic weigh heavily on my subjective opinion. As does the food, climate and experiences with people. ‘Subjective’ and ‘favorite’ are the keywords here but I hope that if you’re looking for inspiration on locations one of these will spark your imagination.
#1 | Turkey
I had a rough start cycling in Turkey but except for those first 48 hours it was probably the most enjoyable travel experience I’ve ever had, it’s an amazing place to ride a bike.
I cycled through Turkey with Ellie, from Bodrum on the south west, to Istanbul. Bodrum didn’t win my heart but as soon as we got inland and headed north everything else in Turkey did. Just a few miles from the coast we began to climb up the first of three large ranges that lay between us and Istanbul, the roads were quiet, people stopped to chat to us and figs grew at the road sides in abundance. A nice touch is that Turkey has water taps and shade shelters dotted about at the sides of the roads, stumbling across one is a welcome oasis in the heat.
I was really impressed by the Turkish food. Commonly you can find lots of crisp salads, spicy meats and fresh yoghurt. Their olive oil, balsamic vinegar, bread and molasses are all world class. If you like food, people and rugged terrain then you’ll love Turkey. Continue reading My Top 5 Favorite Cycle Touring Countries→
Up to this point and since being joined by Ellie and Charlie cycling progress has been very slow in terms of miles and as we left lake Bohinj and emerged from the thick blanket of cloud Ellie’s saddle clamp broke. Some temporary repairs were made with cable ties and paracord but they didn’t last long. We hadn’t any bolts long enough for a proper repair and so we found ourselves just over the border into Italy, near Trieste, in need of a bike shop on a Sunday; not a chance! That’s just not the Italian way, we would have to hold on until Monday morning as the opening times printed on our nearest bike shop confirmed. Continue reading Goodbye Charlie, hello Croatia→
Following the great midday climb up to Dutovlje we sat in a small cafe in the center of town and drank ice cold ‘Lasko Pivo’, a typically good continental beer, and ate damson plums that we found growing along the roadside earlier that morning. Only recently introduced to strong sunlight and with tans still absent, our faces all looked burnt and rosy. The first few days had been a hard start and I noticed a tired, fuzzy expression washed over our parched faces as we slumped down in our chairs under the shade of the cafe.
Before long the rest of the group had arrived and had entered a shop across the square. I finished my beer and went after them, I didn’t need to buy anything but I thought I’d find out what the atmosphere was like, and try and gauge whether people wanted to push on for an early camp to get some proper rest. Continue reading pt.4 – Finding our feet→
Toady should have been simple, all we had to do was ride down the tiny stretch of land where Trieste is located (the airport is quite a distance from the actual city) and at the appropriate juncture hop over the border into Slovenia and continue South. Moreover I was quite certain things were going swimmingly for sometime, until after a while of riding at the head of the pack I stopped to find out how everyone was doing. I knew Chris, Lallo and Ellie were right behind me, I could see them when I looked back periodically as I cycled. Sure enough Chris, Lallo and Ellie rolled up beside me and that’s when I realised there was no one behind them so we waited, and we waited, and it soon became clear that I had lost over half of my group on the second morning of a month long tour – that’s going to change things a bit. Continue reading pt.3 – Disaster→
This will be be first ride taken from my travel diary and published on CycleFar, it’s both the most recent and one of my favourite tours to date. The plan was simple; I was going to begin where my last ride ended, near the Italian/Slovenian border close to Koper and follow the Dalmatian coast south to Albania. I would, as always, invite nearly everyone I knew in the knowledge that of the people that said yes perhaps half would actually make it past the hurdles of acquiring a bike, camping gear, time off work and the will to spend weeks of their life cycling in a Mediterranean summer. I imagined I would end up with perhaps five of my more athletic and experienced friends and we’d zoom along the coast with practiced ease. Of course it didn’t really happen like that, it happened like this instead… Continue reading pt.1 – Introduction and Departure→
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