Saved From Dogs by a Bus Driver in Turkey

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Landing in Istanbul we caught ferries across the Marmara Sea and did a loop from Yalova to Bandimar. South from Yalova, around the east of Iznik, through Simiv and Silihli to Izmir. Then up the Aegean coast as far as Havran then over to Bandimar. I managed to exceed 80km/h on one of the descents. In 14 days of riding the accumulated climb was over 10,000m.

Turkey is Hilly

Passing around the north shore of Lake Iznik the farm workers are chipping weeds in the beans.

Modern day Izmir is built where the ancient Roman city of Smyrna was. We came through Izmir in the middle of the day not stopping, and not wanting to have to stay in a big city.

In Foca the next morning. Last night it was getting dark when we arrived. The day was memorable for the worst dog chases I’ve ever experienced. In one case going past a service station, the staff did nothing to stop it. The other was a pack of four big wild dogs racing on the far side of a canal to get to a bridge ahead. We were all going about 20km/h in a headwind. A bus driver realized what was about to happen and intervened.

I’ve got a gps on this trip solely to count the climbing. The compass location is not right.  Later on I take it off the bars believing it is being interfered with by the metal around there.

There is no doubt about the charm of the Aegean coastal area. A hint of Greece. It’s the whole Mediterranean basin. Touring through here sure beats being in the pushy, hard, fast modern world.

In Balikesir this family of women seem to have bought a bolt of dress material and made their own clothes.

It is late May and the markets are full of cherries, apricots and strawberries. These cherries are AUD2.20 a kilo. We travel light and have the tops of our rear bags ready to take on board fruit.

In the evenings in the parks families come out together. The food is so healthy. This piping hot corn is served salted and given to me in some of the leaves to hold.

We don’t speak each other’s language but we both get around on bikes. He gave me a few of his spokey dokes. We rode around town together.

There are dozens of these exercise machines in parks along the Bandimar waterfront. Young and old, male and female alike use them. It is so inspiring. Turkey is the home of public exercise equipment.

A car wash provides the bucket, water and plastic broom for the end-of-trip bike wash.

IST (the airport) is a pleasant ride from the city. Faced with the choice of trying to find bike cartons in the city and getting the train to the airport or riding out and trying to find cardboard out there we opt for the latter. We have rope and tape and cable ties.

Having allowed 3 hours to be able to find cardboard and produce the packaged bikes it has worked out well. Some discarded computer boxes. Now the plastic wrapping machine is finishing it all off.

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