To save myself the torture of of riding out of Istanbul with the taffic the wheel heads for the Ferry, and for an hour it carries us south across the sea to Yalova and its silent roads.
Here the wheel finds an abundance of orchards giving out the most delicious fruits. Peachs, plums, apples and pears of a size and taste to bring a smile to the face of any hungary cyclist. The way now becomes part of the old Silk route and also a route previously ridden by Thomas Stevens in 1885. The amazing Kara Su pass is a long and winding road up into the mountains and takes a large ammount of pushing to finally reach its summit at 2360ft.
On the road winds through Beypazari and just before Ayas the wheel turns south and makes its way across the hot rolling wheat covered plains to Gordion. Here while strolling about the ruins of the old city Im lucky enough to make one of the greatest discoverys of the modern age. I’ve found the Gordion knot! A little shrunken, but this is to be expected after a couple of thousand years sitting about in the sun, and now its tied to the machines bars for good luck.
The wheel now heads off on a bit of a shortcut across country, hot high rolling fields with rough roads which slowly become rougher as the wheel becomes more lost. Mud brick villages and goat herds with the most viscious dogs are all the life that can be found. Not to helpful for directions! Two days are spent wandering around until finally while drinking the last drops of condensation from my water bottles a main road comes to the rescue and saves the day.
Another 3 days riding brings the wheel to the amazing Cappadocia, rock caves, underground citys, and fairy chimneys all go to make up this surreal landscape and here its time to rest for a few days.
Cappadocia to Nemrut Dag?
Saturday August 12, 2006, 450 miles (724 km) – Total so far: 3,300 miles (5,311 km)
A great time has been had in Cappidocia among its Fairy chimneys and surreal landscape, but one thing was missing, I hadn’t slept in one of its many caves. On my ride out of town a perfect example is spotted down in a gully, so with a bit of dragging of the machine under a gate and down a sandy path my wish was fulfilled for the night.
The wheel now points to one of its biggest challanges of the journey so far, Nemrut Dagi. This ancient mountain is said to be the eighth wonder of the world with its alters to the gods still looking out over the mountains of southern Turkey. Everyone I meet on the way laugh and tell me its impossible with my bicycle, but the machine and I push on.
We finally reach the road to the mountain and up we go, soon the feet have to be taken too as its to steep to ride, and it stays like this for three days. Finally within 2km of the summit the road becomes a rocky path and so steep that only ten steps can be taken between resting. Such is my happiness on reaching my goal, I think the gods may have smiled at the first Penny Farthing bought before them, and a new record 7080ft.
Nemrut Dagi to Erzurum
Monday August 28, 2006, 237 miles (381 km) – Total so far: 3,537 miles (5,692 km)
Away from Nemrut Dagi the wheel rolls slowly on,heading down onto flatter land, the only downside is the heat from the Syrian desert blowing up to slowly cook me. While out on the road between towns my water runs out, a town doesn’t come into view so an irrigation pipe is used to replenish the stocks.
The next day I’m suffering and slowly crawl into Diyarbakir where I have to spend a week with bacterial Dysentery. So happy to be back on the wheel I ride north now on the road to Erzurum. The army’s presence is huge on this road and they tell me that I’m not allowed to camp because of the danger from the PKK Terrorists. Everyone seems very friendly to me so I ignor the advice and camp without much problem.
Arriving in Erzurum hoping to collect my visa for Iran I find that they have now asked for a detailed travel plan. This I have to invent and email off but it means probably at least a weeks wait for their reply. A nice rest, but I cant wait to be cycling again…
*For the full story of his travels around the world, visit Joff Summerfield’s website www.pennyfarthingworldtour.com