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Old 03-22-10, 07:48 PM   #1
stanmah
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Turkey - Cycling conditions?

My girlfriend and I are trying to put together a trip in May/June and are seriously considering Greece and Turkey. We are looking to cycle from Athens to Istanbul.
A concern for us is the road/traffic conditions. One potential route would take us from Antalya to Istanbul along the west coast. We are wondering if anyone has traveled this route and can comment on the cycling conditions. Is this going to be a 'tourist' corridor with heavy volumes of traffic? Are the roads/shoulders in good condition?
Any help and insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-22-10, 09:11 PM   #2
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I have not ridden in either Greece or Turkey, but I have read that Istanbul is a dangerous place to ride.

Here are 2 links to general information about bike touring in Turkey.

Here are 4 links to information about bike touring in Greece.

Ray
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Old 03-22-10, 11:29 PM   #3
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I have not ridden in Turkey either but I do not think riding in Istanbul is a good idea. I couchsurfed along with a couple other guys in a flat in Istanbul for about a week. They were on a couple different tours, one from Norway to China and another from Czech to Syria. They are who got me interested in touring

Anyway, I do know that they did not ride in Istanbul. They took public transportation in and out of the city but not sure what type. Maybe the best way in would be to take a ferry in from the sea of marmara and then figure it out from there (pretty sure that is how they left).

Aside from that I have heard great things about riding in Turkey. The roads seem nice. I absolutely love it in Turkey. I don't know how you plan to get from Greece to Antalya, that is fairly far West but if you have never been to Cappadocia I don't think any trip to Turkey is complete without it. Sadly can't get there following the coast though
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Old 03-23-10, 02:58 AM   #4
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I've ridden into Istanbul; you certainly need to keep your wits about you. I think it was the D100 that I took (coming via Bulgaria), which runs parallel to the motorway. The road was narrow and there was nothing in the way of a shoulder to ride on and I regularly got forced off the road by over enthusiastic drivers. I'd probably use public transport if I did it again, or at the very least have a mirror on my bike.

The Turkish people are some of the friendliest I've met on my travels.
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Old 03-23-10, 05:13 AM   #5
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I've ridden out of Istanbul towards Ankara (and Cappadocia) and it was not difficult. I strongly suspect that it will be crazy riding into Istanbul from the west. Make sure that you get good maps and take your time.

As for cycling in Turkey, it's great once you get out of Istanbul and into the interior. (No clue about the coast.) The roads are in pretty good condition, the people are very friendly, drivers go too fast at times but it's a very nice place to do a tour.
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Old 03-23-10, 07:22 AM   #6
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The people are wonderful; just about the most friendly and generous people I have ever met. I hope you smoke? You'll want to carry cigarettes to offer around every time you meet someone. Otherwise you'll have to accept the cigarette they offer you....

They drive pretty crazy out on the little country roads. Like in the rest of Europe, they drive on the right side of the road. In practice, though, they actually drive on the left side of the road most of the time, only drifting back to the right when opposing traffic comes.
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Old 03-25-10, 12:36 PM   #7
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Hi i am turkish citizen whom living in istanbul.First of all drives are sick always have mirror with you,people dont obey rules and wont see you as part of tarrafic so you must be extra extra careful.other than this people are very friendly espaccially in your rout.İf you give me your mail adress i can send you some routs that you can sight see.And if you are coming in augst i can arrange you my home for resting.Its located in ayvalık.Lots of tourers you can see on road.Ride along with them.And there is lots of dogs use dazer or something like that.These dogs are not like european dogs they are big and nasty.Road condiations are poor.But not a big problem.I have tourd with my road bike.And it was ok.You can find many cycle shops and parts dont worry about that kind of things.You will love the cost line
My mai is dersansezer79@gmail.com feel free to mail me.Ups and dont stealth camp or you will get shot.You know this is the little america
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Old 03-26-10, 09:10 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input... from what we've read and whats been posted here we will definitely be taking some sort of public transport into Istanbul.

Can anyone tell me how public transport (bus and train) is travelling with bikes. Any problems getting your bike on?
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Old 03-26-10, 09:21 AM   #9
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Yeah, Istanbul's a great city, but it's very middle eastern in respect to traffic and drivers.

Also, biking from Athens to Istanbul doesn't really involve going into Turkey - you gonna go past istanbul?

And what the guy said about the dogs, I've also heard from people who've hiked through Turkey. They made it sound like the entire country was crawling with huge, mean dogs that were 3/4 wolf, I doubt it's that bad, but be ready.

Also, I'd recommend spending at least two days in Istanbul to take in the bazaars, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque at the very least.
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Old 03-27-10, 12:17 AM   #11
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And about istanbul you should spend at least 3 days you will love the city.I can be your touring guide if you like i am working as a professioal car photographer so i know lots of palaces
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Old 03-27-10, 01:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanmah View Post
Thanks for the input... from what we've read and whats been posted here we will definitely be taking some sort of public transport into Istanbul.

Can anyone tell me how public transport (bus and train) is travelling with bikes. Any problems getting your bike on?
I dunno but I am pretty sure a ferry is your best option. The buses that head West (to/from Izmir for example) all take a ferry too. I was on it a few times, there is more than one. I would ride along the southern edge of the sea of marmara, then take the ferry from Yalova. It is going to drop you off basically right where you want to be near the touristy area of Istanbul (Sultanhamet). Istanbul is a very very spread out city, this will put you in the middle where you are going to went to stay and see all the sites. There is more than one option from Yalova and I don't recall which is the correct ferry but that can be easily figured out. I went camping near Yalova in Cicarnik, it is a really nice area (mountains fyi). I think if you look at google maps you will see how practical the ferry is

3 days in Istanbul is bare minimum. Sooooooo much to see. I didn't want to leave and ended up staying 26 nights. over 6 weeks in Turkey total

edit: I just looked at google maps and it has a dotted line on the ferry routes over the sea of marmara. There are options before yalova if you wanted to make the ride shorter due to time or w/e reason

edit 2: I would rather stay in Taksim than Sultanhamet fyi You can easily get to Sultanhamet from there in the day time to see everything and then return where all the night life and cafes are etc.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=map+of...ed=0CAsQ8gEwAA

Last edited by ubermensch84; 03-27-10 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 03-27-10, 01:07 PM   #13
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you can take a ferry in istanbul to go to yalova bye this way you dont have to ride around marmara.Or you can go to canakkale and see war memmorial than take a ferry and go to ege region.Trains and busses accept cycles if they tell you no buy them a cigaret
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Old 03-28-10, 01:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanmah View Post
My girlfriend and I are trying to put together a trip in May/June and are seriously considering Greece and Turkey. We are looking to cycle from Athens to Istanbul.
A concern for us is the road/traffic conditions. One potential route would take us from Antalya to Istanbul along the west coast. We are wondering if anyone has traveled this route and can comment on the cycling conditions. Is this going to be a 'tourist' corridor with heavy volumes of traffic? Are the roads/shoulders in good condition?
Any help and insight would be greatly appreciated.
I am confused. First you say you want to cycle from Athens to Istanbul. Then you talk about going from Antalya (on Turkey's southern coast) to Istanbul. These are two totally different routes.

From Greece, you do need to be very careful coming into Istanbul, especially the last 100km or so. The motorway is extremely busy. I would not like to ride it again and consider it some of the most dangerous riding we did on our trip. That said, I've heard it's not quite so bad if you approach Istanbul from further north, along the Black Sea coast.

For Istanbul to Antalya, you can get out of the city by taking a ferry across the Sea of Marmara. From there, you can easily cycle south. We ended up taking a bus from Bergama to Selcuk (Efes) and then we went inland to Antalya, which was fantastic.

David Piper has cycled the southern coastal route and says the traffic wasn't so bad:
http://www.tra-velo-gue.co.uk/home.htm
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Old 03-30-10, 02:27 AM   #15
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Hi,

I cycled in Greece and Turkey. To problem aren't the big cities - the problem are the second big cities like Thessaloniki and Izmir (the only time I was scared at traffic: 5 trucks over minute with 5 cm distance for about 25 km). The tourist corridor has normal traffic quite often you'll find minor streets at the coast which not much traffic. Roads are in good conditions, I can't remember if there was a paved shoulder.

If you take the Turkey route you can the take the ferry from Bandirma to Istanbul (very close to the center). My tours were:

Greece: Athens - around Peleponnes - via Delphi, Meteora, Olmyp to Thessalonik.
Turkey: Ankara - Isparta - Mugla - then the coast up to Bandirma - ferry to Istanbul

The driving style in Greece is a bit more dangerous than in Turkey (my opinion) because they use horn - if they hear another horn they take care - and I hadn't had a horn...
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Old 03-30-10, 03:22 PM   #16
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Hi,

I live in Cerkezkoy, a town between Edirne and Istanbul. If you decide to enter Turkey from Edirne, I myself will be glad to help you. We can plan a route from Edirne to Istanbul... I -or my friends- can ride with you, if you prefer... We can arrange places to stay...

But if you decide to cycle from Antalya to Istanbul (seems to be a very good idea), honestly I don't know much about this route. However, I know well about the contacts

* Mugla cycling club: a_cangir@yahoo.com
* Izmir cycling club: bilgi@izmirbisiklet.org
* E-mail groups (mostly located in Istanbul but sure you can reach riders of all Turkey):
- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/barisapedal/
- http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/yesilbisiklet/

Here is my blog but not much info yet:
http://cyclinginturkey.wordpress.com/
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