Posts Tagged ‘Istanbul’


After three months of winter break in Australia and Taiwan, departure from Istanbul has been imminent.. for over a week. Waiting for James’ frame to pass customs, we have been poised for departure every day. Goodbye the new Green Pedals Istanbul schools. Goodbye my wonderful warm showers host Dinçer. Goodbye Istanbul. And… Hello wide world. The second leg of the bike trip begins!

Farewell to Dinçer and Can

Farewell to Dinçer and Can

James and I descended on Istanbul last week, ready for the continuation of our adventure. Unlike James, his bike was not ready for departure, waiting on an essential new part (a new frame) to be cleared through customs. Today a week of waiting and of imminent departures has come to an end. Straight from the bike shop, we pedalled along the Sea of Marmara coast to Pendik, and caught the ferry out of Istanbul to Yalova.

Farewell at Bisiklet Gezgini bike shop in Istanbul

Farewell at Bisiklet Gezgini bike shop in Istanbul

Thank you Dinçer for your amazing hospitality! It has been great staying with you. All the best with your ultra marathon – 200km in the alps – wow!

I will continue writing daily blog entries, but will delay them before publishing. Stay tuned for updates once every 3-4 days.


‘Ben bir çilginim’ – ‘I am crazy’.
That’s how I started my talk with the school children in Istanbul. I visited the Anakent and Birsoz primary schools in Istanbul as part of a Green Pedals activity, talking about sustainability. What an amazing bunch of kids!

Me at the Anakent school

Me at the Anakent school

On my bike trip I am working with Green Pedals – part of the Planet Green foundation, to start and maintain a dialogue on sustainability in schools around the world.

The kids at the Anakent and Sener Birsoz schools knew a lot, and were really engaged talking about the environment and sustainability.

Anakent school

Anakent school

Sener Birsoz school

Sener Birsoz school

Sener Birsoz school

Sener Birsoz school

The kids are making drawings showing how they and their families are sustainable, and about my cycle trip. A new weekly sustainability workshop will be starting on sustainability at the Sener Birsoz school. A really cool initiative. Thanks to the whole Istanbul Green Pedals team!

James and I will be leaving Istanbul very soon. James’ new bike frame is currently still held up in Turkish customs. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it will be released today so we can leave catch the boat on Friday evening to Yalova, and then continue our journey. Yay!


My last day of cycling for 2014. It has been an amazing trip. I am now left with my memories, some great new friends, and my three dog rocks. They won’t be needed any more now.

The three dog rocks - for aggressive dogs (of which there are many)

The three dog rocks – for aggressive dogs (of which there are many)

In the book ‘On the Beach’ by Nevil Shute, radiation from a huge world war that killed everything in the Northern Hemisphere was slowly creeping south. When the book started, Brisbane went ‘out’ (died of radiation). Finally the radiation reached Melbourne, and people made the most of their last days before the radiation killed them too, and there was nothing left alive. On my bike trip I have been running from the winter. Places became too cold just after I left them. The rain and cold has arrived in Istanbul. James is fleeing for the winter, leaving today. I am left, with a forecast of rain, rain and rain. I will try to move my flight out forward. The first part of my bike trip from Holland to Australia is complete, and it is time to call it a day.

On the Beach. Nevil Shute

On the Beach. Nevil Shute

The road from Gönen to Bandirma was freeway-like and very uninteresting. My boat to Istanbul is in the evening, and I am sitting in a warm cafe in Bandirma watching people walk by. My departure from Eindhoven 2.5 months ago seems a lifetime ago. So much has happened – so many amazing places I’ve seen, incredible people I’ve met, and things that have happened. And the great thing is, there is a LOT more coming up next year. As my friends in Boston say – ‘AWESOME’. See you all next year!

The road from Gönen

The road from Gönen


Is it cheating? Well, no. I’ve already cycled all the way from Holland to Istanbul. This is just a side-trip waiting for my flight to take me away from the winter. But, yes. It was cold, windy and very bleak, and I hitched a lift with a truck. Such a lovely offer.

Such a warm offer.

Such a warm offer.

On arriving in Istanbul my state of being flipped. It switched in a nanosecond. I was a world-cycler, ready to battle through wind and rain, up hills and through traffic to get to my goal. Once my goal was reached, I became an exhausted shadow of myself, ready to nod off at a minute’s notice all through the day, finding it difficult to muster up the energy to negotiate Istanbul’s slopes on foot. My body was tired, and so I stopped, and became a lounger. The weather was perfect for lounging – rain, grey and cold.

Grey Istanbul

Grey Istanbul

My cycle trip for 2014 finishes on December 5 with a flight to Australia and then Taiwan before returning to Istanbul at the end of February. Bleak as it is, after 3 days in Istanbul as a pedestrian tourist, Drahtesel was calling – ‘ride me, ride me.’ I want to visit Galipoli, a very important place for Australians, New Zealanders, and Turks for where a lot of lives were lost in the First World War.

Drahtesel may have been calling, but, at 5am when the alarm went off to catch the early boat across the Sea of Marmara to Bandirma, I wasn’t motivated. In negotiating the steep stairs of the B&B with Drahtesel, a water bottle fell off and broke. Why am I doing this? Riding off into the dark, the wind and the rain? Without a definite goal in front of me, this trip was not motivating.

The road was freeway-like (like the D100 towards Istanbul), but not much traffic, and less hilly. It was cold, though – the days of frolicking in the turquoise waters are past.

The grey road to Biga

The grey road to Biga

Feeling sorry for myself, sheltering from the wind at a service station, eating a chocolate bar, a kind truck driver offered me a lift to Biga. I was planning on stopping there for the night. A 30km trip in the warmth was much more appealing that on the bike in the cold. Time for a cheat. 🙂

The kind truck driver

The kind truck driver

Now in Biga, things feel different. I am warm, and am being showered by gifts. The truck driver gave me biscuits and apples. The hotel owners any number of cakes, biscuits and turkish delight. And the butcher gave me my whole meal for free. I am a friend. Lovely people, everyone!

Thank you Adnan for the lovely dinner

Thank you Adnan for the lovely dinner

Çanakkale is about 100km away, and I am looking forward to seeing the place where the Anzac soldiers fought. How will I get there? Probably by cycling. Or maybe, if a nice truck driver stops…


The rain and thunder howled around our tents at night, but left in the day as we cycled along our own private freeway – almost car-free – towards Istanbul. Its great to see my friends in Istanbul and have a lovely evening in front of the fireplace.

Our own private freeway

Our own private freeway

The roads were still wet, and the clouds looming, as we cycled off into the day. A crack opened in the clouds, which finally opened out into blue sky.

A crack in the clouds

A crack in the clouds

The freeway is nearly finished. It is meant to link Europe with Asia across an, as-yet, unbuilt bridge across the Bosphorus. It seems to be Turkey’s best kept secret. There were minutes on end without a single car in sight, and we did loops and stunts on our own private freeway. In the end we needed to leave the freeway due to the traffic, and onto a muddy road with lots of factories and aggressive dogs.

Our own private freeway

Our own private freeway

The road was muddy

The road was muddy

And then, after 5147km, I was standing on the shores of the Bosphorus – the border between Europe and Asia. It was grim, and wet, but, I still had to jump for joy – what an amazing and fun trip it has been. And why not even let my stomach hang out for the shot?

Arrival at the Bosphorus

Arrival at the Bosphorus

Thanks Diederik and Wendelin for your great hospitality, and letting me store my bike here over the winter! I really appreciate it!!

Diederik and Wendelien

Diederik and Wendelien