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  1. #1
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    London to Istanbul cycle routes and ideas

    Hello there,

    I'm Nick a 27 year old Personal Trainer from London and I am thinking about cycling to Istanbul in December of this year.

    I'm not part of a touring club (are they a thing, yes?) but I've got some experience of long distance cycling over the last few years both in the UK and on the continent and have clocked up well over 800 miles on my longest trip between Barcelona and Milan (It wasn't what you'd call a direct route but one of the best experiences of my life).

    So I was thinking about taking a month off from my job as a personal trainer to go and do this trip (I know the weather isn't ideal but December is a very quiet month) and wanted to pick someone's brain about routes and the like. If someone has done it before then I'd love to hear from them.

    Furthermore I am looking for potentially interested co-cyclists who happen to live in/near London. I know it isn't likely that anyone has enough time to take a month out from their work/holiday season but I thought I'd ask as I prefer to have someone to talk to/experience the whole thing on the way. No harm in asking as they say.

    Anyway, I couldn't think of a better place to ask for advice so thanks’ for taking the time to read

    Best regards

    Nick

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I'd Join CTC, and take advantage of their 100+ year historical knowledge.

    they are physically located just south of London.
    @ Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=0
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-22-12 at 01:05 PM.

  3. #3
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    London to Istanbul is about 2000 miles by the shortest route you could take. That's a reasonably challenging month in good weather, and in December the shortest route will take you through lots of winter weather. You might be able to do it. I couldn't.

    If I were you I'd take two months and hug the Mediterranean coast as much as possible. Either that or postpone it until April.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    London to Istanbul is about 2000 miles by the shortest route you could take. That's a reasonably challenging month in good weather, and in December the shortest route will take you through lots of winter weather. You might be able to do it. I couldn't.

    If I were you I'd take two months and hug the Mediterranean coast as much as possible. Either that or postpone it until April.

    Why the Med?

    To the OP, check out crazyguyonabike.com you will find many who have done the same ride. Also check out the Eurovelo routes... For example Route 6 goes from France to Germany, then along the Danube through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria to the Black see....the stretch along the Danube is flat most of the way....

    Get your atlas out and pick what places you want to see along the way and plan a route based on that...

    so, if you like mountains, you can do all the cool routes through the Alps, if you want flat, do the routes long the major waterways, rivers and canals... if you like cities, pick a few you want to visit and plan your route.

    A student of mine at the high school I teach in is riding solo from Budapest to the Adriatic in Croatia and then on to France. He wants to see several famous cities and has planned his route through them.... Once you know what you want to see/do, it is easy to find a route.

    robi

  5. #5
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    Try to split the route into segments. If you wanted to do London-Frankfurt-Prague-Budapest-Bucharest-Istanbul you would probably find more resources for each segment than for the entire route

  6. #6
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    yes, for example Prague - Vienna is on the Green Way... google it, lots of info... but if you do not want to go via Prague then don't google it.....

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    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=London+to+istanbul+cycling+route

    Have a look at Mark Beaumont book, as he goes this way at the start of his RTW trip.

    Big + on CTC, there are plenty of local groups around, however you may find that they are all a lot older than you.

    For weather, would really reconsider if you are looking at December, Continental Europe / Southern Central may be challenging to be touring at this time.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all your replies everyone :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I'd Join CTC, and take advantage of their 100+ year historical knowledge.

    they are physically located just south of London.
    @ Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=0


    If this is a stupid question I apologise but, what is the benefit exactly of joining the CTC, apart from insurance and discounts at bike stores?


    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    London to Istanbul is about 2000 miles by the shortest route you could take. That's a reasonably challenging month in good weather, and in December the shortest route will take you through lots of winter weather. You might be able to do it. I couldn't.

    If I were you I'd take two months and hug the Mediterranean coast as much as possible. Either that or postpone it until April.
    The med might be a idea but I wouldn't use London as a starting point in that case. I doubt I could reasonably take more than a month off without losing all my clients. I'd like to have something of a job to come back to.

    The weather is a thing. If it's a mild winter then all good but yes I'll think about how to maybe shift it a better month.



    Quote Originally Posted by robi View Post
    To the OP, check out crazyguyonabike.com you will find many who have done the same ride. Also check out the Eurovelo routes... For example Route 6 goes from France to Germany, then along the Danube through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria to the Black see....the stretch along the Danube is flat most of the way....


    Get your atlas out and pick what places you want to see along the way and plan a route based on that...

    so, if you like mountains, you can do all the cool routes through the Alps, if you want flat, do the routes long the major waterways, rivers and canals... if you like cities, pick a few you want to visit and plan your route.


    A student of mine at the high school I teach in is riding solo from Budapest to the Adriatic in Croatia and then on to France. He wants to see several famous cities and has planned his route through them.... Once you know what you want to see/do, it is easy to find a route.

    robi


    That's very useful. I didn't think that the EU had long distance cycle routes.

    As for places to see, I was thinking about getting a rough route sorted and then slightly altering it to take in some of the sights. Europe being so culturally dense will no doubt always have something along the way :-)




    Quote Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
    Try to split the route into segments. If you wanted to do London-Frankfurt-Prague-Budapest-Bucharest-Istanbul you would probably find more resources for each segment than for the entire route
    Quote Originally Posted by robi View Post
    yes, for example Prague - Vienna is on the Green Way... google it, lots of info... but if you do not want to go via Prague then don't google it.....
    When I get the route sorted I'll definately be doing this. It will make it seem more mangeable. Thanks also for the info on the greenway :-)




    Quote Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=London+to+istanbul+cycling+route

    Have a look at Mark Beaumont book, as he goes this way at the start of his RTW trip.

    Big + on CTC, there are plenty of local groups around, however you may find that they are all a lot older than you.

    For weather, would really reconsider if you are looking at December, Continental Europe / Southern Central may be challenging to be touring at this time.

    I did have a look at Mark's through Germany and Poland before heading south route. I imagine that would be the fastest way as he was going for the record. It defiately has it's appeal.

    You're also the second person to mention December's weather. I will seriously think about how I feel about cycling through less than perfect weather.

    Thanks again for all of your help everyone :-)

  9. #9
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    Well, Germany to Poland is flat, then you have to go over the Tatras to get into Slovakia.....

    December weather, yeah it can be bad and Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey have some pretty big blizzards......

    Your idea of altering yoru route is good... if you can keep things loose, you will have no problems, ... stay flexible.... and enjoy yourself....

    Robi

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If this is a stupid question I apologise but, what is the benefit exactly of joining the CTC, apart from insurance and discounts at bike stores?
    you are also contributing to the long term effort to make cycling safer where you live,
    thru their political efforts to influence government budget priorities.

    to at least get a slice of the funding pie..
    Boris rides a bike , so did Cameron.[As PM, head of state security may have ramped up.]

  11. #11
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    The main problems are going to be:
    -Weather, esp over mountain sections and the more continental climates further from the Atlantic. Don't assume that you will be able to ride everyday. A freezing fog and a busy main road are not to be t*****d with.
    -Short days. You will need some good, reliable lighting, every day. A job for a dynamo hub.
    -Accommodation, esp over the xmas holiday period.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I'd flip it, what do you want to see? , read the history of all that region ,
    to get an idea of what there is to see..
    buy paper maps, plot out where those places are ..
    then go the route that connects all those places ..

  13. #13
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    i just spent five minutes on Googlemaps, so now i'm an expert...

    take the train to Marseilles. sneak around the Mediterranean coast to the Po Valley. take it to the Adriatic then up along the coast through Slovenia. keep the Adriatic on your right as you travel Southeast through Bosnia and Herzegovina, then into Albania. once you clear the Macedonian hills, turn left into Greece. from there it's just a hop, skip and a jump into Istanbul. C'est tout. Voila!

    mapmyride says it's 1450 miles. give or take.
    Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 05-23-12 at 03:50 PM.

  14. #14
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    Yes, paper maps!

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