Day 33, Aug 14 (102km) - Final Destination!!!!!!!

Trip Start Jul 13, 2012
1
33
35
Trip End Aug 16, 2012


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Flag of Turkey  ,
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My last day on the bike is here and it is a shorter trip - only 102km today with no serious mountains only rolling hills.

I was up fairly early ready to take on the day with excitement. When I went to checkout my Visa did not work. I actually had several issues with my Visa in Turkey. Considering the amount of banks around I did not expect this. In Bulgaria, sure. I did not have enough cash to pay. The owners did not speak much English and after a confusing conversation it seemed the nearest ATM was 5km East but they thought I should cross the road and go West to catch a minibus to get there. Anyway I got on my bike and started East and the GPS lead me to an ATM in 2.5km. It was incredibly quick without the heavy backpack and rear carrier on my bike. 

To all of your surprises it was a hot and sunny day. But only in mid-30s so it did not seem that bad. When I was 37km from my final destination the highway became more like a major auto-route. I know there was a major auto-route nearby but with the feeder lanes it was still 10 lanes wide and the traffic was becoming horrendous. I really had the feeling I was not supposed to be on this road. But I was. Can you imagine just casually biking along the 401. It was a little unnerving but overall I did OK. Lets It was like this right up until I reached the neighbourhood of Sultannhmet in the heart of the city and where my hostel was. then the roads turned to cobblestones. I walked the final 1.5km.

Istanbul is completely not design or even close to being adapted for biking. In fact so far it is the worst city I have been in for biking. Turkey is great on most of the highways but the cities are not good for biking. With the amount of road bikes I saw while in Turkey I will predict no one from Turkey will win the Tour de France in the next 2 decades.

After the GPS takes me on a confusing and illogical path to my hostel I am done. Finished! Accomplished! Tired and hungry!

Total distance = 3259km
Total Ascent =  22,450m (equals climbing Mount Everest 2.53 times)
Total crashes = 3
Total Number of Close Calls = 27
Total Countries = 11
Total Area of Ass Sore = 25% (surprisingly low)
Total Area of Tan = 30%

My biking is over and I can enjoy my brief stay in Istanbul. First thing is to pack up my bike and get that out of the way. I find out where some bike shops are. There are about 8 bike shops concentrated in one area. There are tons of bike but yet the first 5 places I go to there are no bike boxes. These business do not seem like they recycle or that garbage collection has been anytime soon. So why are there no boxes? I finally find a place and happily pay 10TL for their garbage. Now to find something to pack the bike with. No where do I see a store that even remotely has materials I can use. I head back to hostel and take a quick break. On the way I meet a couple of Aussies that were on the Troy tour with me. They tell me I can possibly find sometime just past the Spice Market. I head down there later just as everything is shutting down. One small place has a bunch of cleaning sponges. The he asks how many and I say the bag - 14 large sponges. He gives me weird looks. Now to find packing tape. I must have passed 3000 shops by now and nothing. Just before I reach the Blue Mosque area (where the hostel is) a shop that sells candy, drinks and cigarettes also has a pile of packing tape. Naturally.

I just want to point out that it feels like everyone in Istanbul is trying to hustle you or sell you something and hustle you while selling. After I bought the big bag of sponges, despite wearing my 5-Ass Monkeys Trivia team shirt and wearing shorts, I must have blended into with the locals because the entire way back not one person try to sell me anything or try to get me to eat something. It was beautiful. That is until I made the mistake of petting a street cat by the Blue Mosque. Dead give away. Some guy starts talking about cats and then asks where I am from, we talk about Istanbul and after several minutes, Bam! He works for a rug store that is no where near where he is but it is obvious he is there just to hustle people. He keeps insisting I go to store now. 

While disassembling my bike I come a cross a problem I feared. I cannot get my pedals off with the hex key. I put them on with the hex key instead of carrying a proper pedal wrench just for this reason. But I guess there was not enough grease left on threads and after all the biking it became super tight. After 30 minutes I give up and resign the fact I will have to carry my bike to a shop in morning.

I hang around the hostel a bit then head to bed.
 
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