Cycling along the Black Sea, Turkey

Stage One: Bartin to Sinop

Three bikes and a pile of yellow, white, orange and green panniers made it to Istanbul bus station, 12km or so from our hotel, after a pedal through the aqueduct (certainly can’t do that in Oz!) and a tube change (pesky slow leak through the valve). It was an amazing week. The days often involved climbing above and then descending into the mist with glimpses of the coastline interspersed. Everyone we met was so friendly and welcoming – it was humbling to say the least. Everyone was genuinely interested in who we are, where we’re from and where we were cycling from/to – particularly the school kids! On two occasions we were even taken in for the night – a unique experience to “get to know the locals”. Thank you Alex and Eve for an *amazing* trip. Totally unforgettable and I cannot wait until we cycle together again!

Summary:

Distance cycled: 350 km (7535 m ascent)
Longest day: 74 km (1700 m ascent)
Shortest day: 31.5 km (965 m ascent)
Rainy days: 1
Swimming days: 0
Maximum gradient over 500 m: 11%
Fastest speed: unknown (but it blew the dynamo USB charger!)
Flat tyres: 1 (Nicole)
Expenditure: $175 p.p.
Number of friendly car toots: thousands
Cups of tea consumed: 124
Cups of tea paid for: 21
Age of youngest person seen drinking tea: 3 (out of a bottle)
Scary dog moments: 5
Haircuts: 1 (Alex)
Trinkets acquired: 1 (Eve, pinwheel)
Nights in a police station: 1
Bottles of raki: 2 (carried by Eve)
Worst vehicle on road: overloaded manure truck leaving a trail for us to follow
Maximum number of baklava type sweets consumed for breakfast: 6 (Alex)
Maximum number of ice creams consumed in one day: 4 (Nicole)
Maximum number of eggs consumed for breakfast: 4 (Alex)
Forts explored: 3
Team quote: ”10km isn’t 10km” (Eve)
Funniest quote: ”In China they eat everything: dogs, cats … EVEN PIGS!”
One-up-man-ship: ”Last year there were 2 Danish people traveling on a donkey, camping in graveyards”
Fastest consumption of a packet of biscuits: 2 minutes (Alex)
Number of wonderful Turkish people met enroute: countless !!

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