Testing Turkish roads and a little bit of magic…

30 07 2010

Our first proper day of cycling… heat, sweat, chai, grit and the Turkish roads.

From Yalova (on the southern shore of the Marmara) we kicked off early along the main 575 dual carriage way. 45 mins in, with sweat pouring down our backs and grit clogging up our eyes, we decided we needed a better ‘Plan A’ – Let’s try the small village roads to cross this line of hills rather than the longer flatter route on the main road with all the belching long distance trucks … good plan! …3 hours of grinding our bikes up gravelly roads later and we decided to head back into the dusty, fume blanket of the 575! Lesson learnt: small purple ‘village roads’ on the map may be stunningly beautiful but they are HARD HARD HARD to cycle on with their slippy, gravelly surfaces and unforgiving inclines.

Our super buds in Istanbul pulled us together a ‘magic letter’. The purpose of a magic letter is to offer a brief explanation (in Turkish) of what the heck we are doing! We used it for the first time today – a delightful (if insanely archetypal)  little old man in the village of Kilic desperately wanted to know what these crazy foreigners were doing… and we were able to oblige!  This lead nicely to a cup of tea, a stream of men (always men – few women in evidence) providing advice and directions to get us to our planned destination, and an offer of breakfast! It’s beautiful that asking directions of a group of men in any country results in the same discussions, disagreements, agreements and fingers branching out in 360 degrees, bless them for their offers of the ‘best route for cycling’… all we wanted was the black tarmac! Thus our ‘exertion to distance-gained’ ratio was limited in its effectiveness today.

Three days in Istanbul spent with a native Turk, and our prize language skills managed to omit learning ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘is it a paved road?’… a bit of swotting up tonight should see us flying along (hopefully on tarmac) tomorrow!



5 responses

30 07 2010

Left is sol pronounced sol, right is sağ pronounced saar, and asphalt is, pleasingly, asfalt.

Oo and to turn anything into a question you basically postscript it with ‘mu’ – so ‘sol mu?’ means left? and ‘yol asfalt mu’? means is the road asphalt. (Or appropriate amounts of facial expression and intonation does the trick too so I wouldn’t sweat it too much…)

Congratulations on the start anyway, and enjoy iznik!

30 07 2010
nick rawling

always go the road less travelled! Go littlewheel!!!!

1 08 2010

sıgh.. ıt was too steep! we are on the road most supported .. we are jollıed along our way wıth a constant backıng of toots and ıce-cream van horns! TOOT TOOOT TOOOOTTTTT

1 08 2010

Go guys! I expect that by the end they’ll be no moments of pushin, yer legs will be like trees! xx

1 08 2010

Yeh… it,s the ,’by the end’ bit that is the corker!… today we managed about 70 Km though .. so getting there… us and the trucks…. [cough]


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