Pedalling west, it took me two months to cross a chunk of Turkey by bicycle during the winter. I entered by way of the Cilder Border and made it to near Bartin before boarding a bus the remaining distance to Istanbul.
My favourite photos follow a bit of context about the mental experience.
The early days were challenging. The East Anatolian Plateau an ice queen, beautiful and hostile, punished extremities enough to worry me. In Cilder town, men stared in a way I’d forgotten while riding through Georgia and Armenia. I grew into my circumstances through time, hot tea and fantastic experiences Couchsurfing.
Turks and Kurds alike had steered me away from Turkish Kurdistan and I followed their suggestions, routing myself instead along the snaking Black Sea coastline towards Istanbul. Meteorologically gloomy and politically stable, the benign coastline encouraged me to seek excitement in other ways.
I rode into the night and sometimes camped in plain sight. The more I dared, the more fun I had, but the less daring I felt. My comfort zone expanded, yes. But the more benefit of the doubt I gave Turkey’s people, the more they showed me that friendly nonchalance was the norm.
This album is also available on Flickr, here.
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