Rob McIntyre is cycling from the U.K. to Cape Town to experience the smells, sights, people and wildlife as they gradually pass by. This is a bicycle tour of discovery and adventure, he emphasizes, not a time trial.
Traversing three continents, Rob will encounter all kinds or climate and terrain. He’s already survived the chills of the European winter, soon he will face the overpowering heat of the Sahara Desert, and then it will be on to the wet and wild tropical climates of Central Africa.
Here’s what he has to say about cycling the Turkish plateau in winter:
Feeling torn between my need to make claim to Turkish lands by camping and surviving independantly fought with my need for creature comforts and the sight of shelter at the end of long and hard days.
Hotels won the day and I focused my journey along the highroads, avoiding the charm of Turkish villages but still embracing all of the contact that I encountered. The Plateau, hence it’s name, was very flat and the excellent Turskish cycle paths (aka the hard shoulder) provided excellent riding – such a relief to not have to deal with traffic all day, I donned my ipod and cycled in music bliss for days on end, never threatened by careereing trucks up my behind.
When conditions were bad though, the hard shoulder disseapeared under the snow and I had to drop my headphones and content with the danger of the slush filled road.
On a particually vicious day, my bike became more ice than bike. After a couple of hours on the road my brakes had frozen over – not too bad; then the front chain ring froze meaning I couldn’t change gear (no good for hills), eventually after trying to change the back gear the chain refused to fid its slot, now filled by ice – now unable to ride.
Not too far from a petrol station, I walked my bike and indicated my need for the hot water usually reserved for chai. As ever the petrol station men happily obliged and invited me in for tea.
Rob writes overviews of his cycling experiences, which makes this a good bicycle touring blog for readers lacking the time (or inclination) to sift through someone’s daily journal. He tells his tales with charm and humor, and I’m sure blog readers would like more stories from the road.
Here’s a short video from his very first days on the road, back in October 2010:
Follow Cycling the Long Way Down and find out how the adventure unfolds as Rob rides through the Middle East and into Africa.