World Cycle 2015: Asian Turkey

In September 2014 I will be leaving my job of 16 years at Philips to follow my dream. The last 21 years I have lived in Europe – in the Netherlands and Germany, and now it is time to go home. Home to Australia. In Europe I have learnt to love cycling. What better way to finish the European chapter of my life and enter the next than by cycling home?

After cycling through Europe to Istanbul in the last part of 2014, I will stop. The plan is to wait for 3 months to let the winter pass. It is too cold to pass through the high mountains that lie ahead, and I need to get some paperwork done home in Australia. I will leave my bike in Istanbul and fly back to Australia for Christmas. After that, I intend to do a Chinese language course before returning to resume the trip around February/March.

I have not yet decided on the best way through Turkey. Here is the canonical route that almost all world cyclers take. Typically cyclists either pass through the Caucus countries or enter Iran near Doğubayazıt. My current plan is to pass through the Caucus countries. I will use this as a starting point to do some timing calculations.

 

I want to be in Dashanbe in Tajikistan on June 1 to meet up with a friend and cycle the Pamir Highway. Some bloggers cycle from Istanbul to Dashanbe in 2 months. Depending on when I leave, I will have 3-4 months, and so there is a lot of scope of making detours to visit some interesting places. Here are some ideas.

  • A southern route along the western and then southern Turkish coast. Going too far east sounds dangerous (although opinions are divided). Would it be safe enough leaving the southern coast and passing through Göreme before rejoining the Black Sea at Samsun?
  • An inland route to Göreme before rejoining the Black Sea at Samsun. How would this route compare to the shorter Black Sea route?
  • A route to the south-east of Turkey. It looks beautiful, but also has its detractors. Given that everything will be new for me, I think I will choose one of the other routes.
  • Leaving the Black Sea near Sürmene, and passing Doğubayazıt on the way to Iran. 

Thanks to people on the bisikletyolu cycling forum, to Kevser Seri via Facebook, Baris who commented on my blog, and also Erdinç Topçu, Sinan Peker, Burak Gökhan Ayaz, Kerem Koçak, Ege Ertaş, Basak Bulut and Rafael Alejandro Vacas from the Turkish Warm Showers Facebook group. I will be updating this page with more suggestions, and eventually with a ‘Turkey options’ map (to replace the canonical route map above). I will also include other information I collect and receive to make this page a repository of information for myself and others that are planning a similar route.

Iranian visa info thanks to Rafael Alejandro Vacas: It is possible to get your visa in Trabzon the same day and without any reference number, it is 75 euros.
Normally, you have to ask any agency for that reference number, I did it here http://en.key2persia.com/iran-visa-key-2-persia, it is 30 euros, and 10 days later you get your number, then you can collect your visa in any consulate, I went to Erzurum I think is the best option if you are heading east, it is 50 euros for the visa

Comments
    • It is not possible to get the visa without code in Trabzon. I just came of the Iranian embassy in Trabzon. I have a Dutch nationality as they were asking. Need to come back with the code.

      • Yes. Apparently that has changed in Trabzon in the last months. That is why we decided to get our Iranian visa in Tbilisi (as we were planning to spend some time there anyway).

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