The Bull is In the Bag

December 3, 2009

2579.7 miles in 51 days cycling and I have finally achieved my goal of cycling from London to Istanbul.

The only land mark of Istanbul I knew of before arriving is the Blue Mosque so this is where I headed to complete my goal. In honesty, actually arriving was a an anti climax since the suburbs of Istanbul are 220km  from East to West and it has taken me 2 days to reach the center. I cycled the last 10 km getting mixed responses at my cries of “Am I in Istanbul yet?”

From the Blue Mosque I pushed my bike down through the Bazar in a light drizzle of rain and found the Orient hostel where people were sitting around smoking hookahs and drinking Cay. I felt a little bit lost as I strolled through the crowd knowing I wouldn’t be climbing aboard my bike for another days long cycling adventure. Part of me was also relieved that my sore backside could recover.

I sat down and bought myself a large Efes beer and downed it before I attended to the very pressing task of washing my kit since I had put it off for the past 10 days.

I am as confused about writing a blog as when I started 8 weeks ago. There are a few loose ends to tidy up, earlier entries to add and pictures to update but this is pretty much it so thank you for reading and thank your supportive emails.

The End……….

Data Junkie

December 3, 2009

My trip has flown by. The whole experience of the last 3 months being a little surreal. The Data Junkie  in me gets excited by bits of data and information.

This is a collection of some of the more interesting bits.

Final Statistics & Some Subjective Assessments:


Total Number of Days Cycling: 51

Average Miles Per Day: 50.6

Biggest Mileage Day: 99.6 Miles

Fastest Recorded Speed: 37.6 mph

Estimated Average Speed: 11 mph

Steepest Gradient: 16% Read the rest of this entry »

The Final Furlong

December 3, 2009

I turned my nose up when some one suggested it might take me 3 days just to negotiate the sprawling suburbs of Istanbul.

I think I have finally found a good reason to have cycled to Istanbul with a set of mountain bike tyres.  I knew like everything else on my bike that they would have a purpose and trying to negotiate the traffic and crazy roads from 30 miles out of Istanbul has meant some serious off-roading.

Sometimes my stubbornness can get in the way and there is no way I am coming all this way to get a bus or a boat into the city centre. I will climb fences, I will ride through ditches, I will ride through dog infested dumps of rubbish and I will run face to face with the ugliest dirty polluting vehicles that man has to offer.

I do not recommend this.

Wakey Wakey

December 3, 2009

It is 6.11am and rather than being woken by a “cock a doodle do000” of a countryside cockerel, I have been woken by a guy screaming undistinguishable words into a microphone. Call me culturally insensitive but I am a very light sleeper at the best of times.

I am praying he will shut up soon.

Update: 6.27am

I have been unduly unfair. The plug was pulled a few minutes after he started and my morning grouch has subsided. At least it was not Chris Moyles.

Did that Really Happen?

December 2, 2009

When I was younger I went to Alton Towers with my family. I was old enough to ride the famous Corkscrew solo and I did just that sitting in the very front left hand seat. As the ride jerked and struggled its way up the first mechanical slope I realised that the locking mechanism had broken on my harness and the black rubber would not hold me in springing into an upright position. Calmly I thought about the problem and realised that I could not call out and would need to wedge myself in as best as possible and see the ride out to the end. In my mind my only fear being the double loop and trying to hold myself in and not being flung across the park. Read the rest of this entry »

I Can Make You Famous

December 1, 2009

In an age where the monstrosity of pointless celebrities take over our airwaves and headlines;  Big Brother, X-Factor and Paris Hilton’s My New Best Friend Forever are just not going to be enough to satisfy the needs of a fame craving population.

I have a solution that may take the pressure off the more traditional methods.

In just 3 months I have become a local celebrity phenomenon from Hungary through half a continent into Turkey.

  • Do you want the adoration of screaming kids on bicycles and constant beeping of car and lorry horns?
  • Do you want to command free cups of tea and gifts of chocolate from passers-by?
  • Do you want  to be the center of attention with inquisitive questions and smiles?
  • Do you want to be hot property with offers of a private nature and invitations to meet the most highly esteemed local officials?

If the answer to these questions is ‘Yes’ then just follow my secret fame producing instructions:

  1. Get a bike
  2. Dress up in some colourful gear
  3. Cycle to the places where people don’t care about rubbish TV and Paris Hilton
  4. Learn the words for “Hello” “Please” and “Thank you” in your chosen place
  5. Practise riding with one hand whilst waving
  6. Keep smiling 😉

Turkish Cuisine

December 1, 2009

“Do not dismiss the dish saying that it is just food. The blessed thing is an entire civilization in itself”                                                                                                                                                                                  Abdulhak Sinasi

I was perplexed when the only English in today’s evening meal menu was the above statement. Either they ran out of money for translations or they have employed a very shoddy Marketing Manager.

The Turkish cuisine and endless Turkish Tea or Cay continues to impress. Once again my perceptions have been challenged. I was sure that Turkey was famous for its Coffee not its Tea.

Mr Liver Lover

November 29, 2009

Cycling consumes vast calories apparently. Based on my body weight and lightning pace I should be burning about 800 calories per hour. This gives me a very good excuse for managing to eat the sort of 40 square Milka chocolate bar that is designed to be consumed as a treat over a few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Not My Ideal Job

November 28, 2009

It is a full time job keeping the Mosque carpet clean.

The Bird Man

November 28, 2009

Turks are well-known for their unscrupulous sales pitches.  The trick is to always enter these situations with a position that will not budge under any circumstance, manipulation, bribe or guilt trick.

I told this nice man that I was not going to buy his bird seed but some people do not listen.  He started to throw his bird seed product in front of my eyes so I could get some nice photos of some sky rats. I told him again when he tried to put the bird seed in my hand I am not buying. He threw some more bird seed on the ground at my feet. At half way through the cup I repeated that I am not buying the bird seed whether it is on the floor or in the cup. I knew exactly where this situation was going and the man exploded with anger once he had thrown away a full cup and I kept walking with my wallet firmly shut.

The Birdman’s final attempt to extract money  was to claim that fact that I was  continuing to take photos meant he deserved payment. Of course I did get some value from The Birdman if pictures of sky rats could be described as valuable.