Sunday, August 07, 2022

Vicariously Biking Through Turkey

The last two summers I've set a goal - a mental trip - that would keep me biking all summer.  Two years ago it was from Santiago, Chile to Conception, Chile.  Last year it was Chiengmai, Thailand to Bangkok.  This post from last summer tells you how I came up with this scheme and little bit about the previous two years.

The Chilean ride was 650 kilometers (403 miles).  The Thai trip was 750 (466 miles).  

This summer I chose Istanbul, Turkey to the Cappadocia region of Turkey.  Playing with google maps and some city-to-city maps, I calculated that as 750 k again.  Why Turkey?  It's the last travel destination that I'd like to get to.  When I was a student in Germany in the 1960s, as I hitch-hiked through Greece, I decided I'd pass on Istanbul and come back another time.  I made that same kind of promise about the Taj Mahal, but I've since gotten to see that exquisite structure.  

Yesterday I got over 500 kilometers and went to see whereabouts I am on a map of Turkey.  My original estimates were that I had gotten past Ankara.  But the map I pulled up was one I hadn't seen before and it was a terrific map!  It was somebodies bike ride from Istanbul to Cappadocia with the route in red.  And best of all, if you put the mouse anywhere on the route, it gave the distance.  It was set to miles, but I could change it to kilometers.

I've written in Ankara in red (in the middle) and the arrow shows about where I am now.  Of course, I'm doing most of this biking on Anchorage bike trails (though I did a little bit when I was on Bainbridge Island, but that's all hilly and mostly on routes shared with cars.)

You can go to the site - ride with GPS - and see how it shows the distance and other options like elevation and grade interactively along the route.

The difference in distance appears to be based on the route.  I originally did the main road from Istanbul to Ankara and the most direct route the rest of the way.  This cyclist  probably choose roads with less traffic that circles around Ankara and then dips further south before getting into Cappadocia.  I'm not worrying about that.  I'm still aiming for my 750 kilometers before the snow flies.  If I get there with time to spare, I'll keep going.  

The nearest town appears to be Polatli.  Here's a bit of what Wikipedia says:

"Polatlı is one of the most productive agricultural districts in Turkey and is best known for its cereal production, especially barley and wheat. Polatlı is one of Turkey's largest grain stores. Sugar beet, melon and onion are also grown."

Here's the nicest picture I found of the area online from

And what I'm actually seeing is more like this:

Not bad either.  

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