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→
The ferry from Kos to Bodrum on the south west coast of Turkey was a brief affair. One passenger, a resident Turk, warned us that we should be very careful on the roads because Turks don’t think about or expect cyclists on their roads and their driving is dangerous and aggressive. It wasn’t the most warming forecast of what we could expect in Asia! We duly noted concerned gentlemen’s warning but kept in mind that many people had said the same about Greece, Bosnia and Croatia already and we coped just fine in those countries.
By the time we had reached Bodrum it was getting quite late; there was perhaps an hour of twilight left before we’d be forced to search for a camp by torchlight. I didn’t relish the prospect of digging about trying to find an unoccupied patch of land to pitch the tent on my first night in a new country. Especially using a new map and surrounded by people I didn’t know or understand so the race was on. Continue reading Amazing Cycle Touring in Turkey→
I still have to write a post lauding Kos. We had much fun there. It’s a beautiful island with a rich history and fantastic beaches. But for now this is just a quick update to say that we’re currently pushing our way north through Turkey to Istanbul. We’re cycling long days but the terrain is tough. There are hot dry hills in every direction and the road network leaves much to be desired. Finding wi-fi remains difficult. Even internet cafes here don’t have wi-fi, just cubicles with old computers and no where to keep the bikes safe whilst we use them.
Our experience of Turkey is good overall though, the people are friendly and generous. This morning I earned 4 home grown cucumbers for pumping up a guys wheelbarrow, and we’ve met plenty of welcoming strangers.
Anyway, that’s all for now. We have to do visa research for Australia before leaving town to find a camp spot. We’re currently in Soke, south of Izmir.
As a UK national obtaining foreign visas is probably easier for me than for most. I’m lucky to be a part of the EU and to be a member of a former global super power which, although I largely regret many aspects of Britain’s colonial past, has left me as a member of a country with strong political relationships all over the globe. So from the point of view of a British national the bureaucratic landscape and my political mobility looks as follows; Continue reading de-mystifying visas one political territory at a time→
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