Cycling London to Istanbul

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by OzBaRan, 4 Nov 2017.

  1. OzBaRan

    OzBaRan Regular

    Hi everyone
    I am Oz 38 years old lives in London. I am an inexperienced cyclist who has never done a long trip.. I am planning to cycle from London to Istanbul around April 2018.. it will take about 6 weeks.. I am guessing around 50-60 miles a day cycling will be enough.. it needs a good planning and preparation...
    At the end I am planing to make a short movie about this epic journey..
    I can provide more information if anyone interested.
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2017
  2. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    Never done a long trip. OK. Done any short trips of 50-60 miles a day, ideally in a foreign country?
    NickNick likes this.
  3. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    On 3 Wheels
    OzBaRan likes this.
  4. Tigerbiten

    Tigerbiten Veteran

    I think you're underestimating time/distance of the route.

    The shortest distance by car is ~2,000 miles, but that is going straight down main autoroutes.
    On a bike, you're not going to do that, so expect to cover at least 2,500 miles.
    To cover that distance in 6 weeks is ~70 miles a day with 1 day off per week.

    But don't be surprised if it's more, I tend to work on +50% above car distances for long tours.
    But I do tend to make the route up as I go along, so tend to wander a bit off the direct route.
    I also recon on only riding 5.5 days per week.
    I normally ride 6, but I've got slack built in for extra days off due to weather/mechanicals/feel like it.
    Less time pressure that way.

    Easiest route is Rhine-Danube then turn SE towards the end of the Danube.
    So I need to get the ferry from Harwich.
    So what day am I going to start.
    I know my camping stops on the way to the ferry and would probably work out the first few nights after the ferry.
    But that would be about the extent of my planning for the tour.
    Everything else can/would be made up as I went along.
    MarkF, Donger, Bodhbh and 3 others like this.
  5. Bodhbh

    Bodhbh Veteran

    I agree. I can't remember exactly and don't want to exaggerate, but I know it took me at least 2000 miles to hit the Black Sea from the UK using a fairly direct route (ferry to Zeebrugge >> Hamburg, down the Elbe as far as poss then cross country to Vienna, more or less follow the Danube). From memory it was 3000 miles.

    Timewise it was 3 odd months - this is with 50-60 miles a day when moving. There are too many cities on the way worth exploring to spend the whole time on the bike imo. I spent several days in most of the biggies (Amsterdamn, Hamburg, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest...etc). ofc everyone has their own preferences, but no way would I just belt out the miles or not allow plenty of time for off-bike adventures.
  6. MichaelW2

    MichaelW2 Über Member

    Making a good movie about an extended cycle tour is really hard. You will spend a lot of time planning and setting up shots and it may impact your daily millage so take the advice of those round the world speed record holders and minimise the time spend faffing around in the morning.
    You should probably do a long weekend shakedown tour to test your gear and also your camerawork.
    Every so often, something goes wrong on a bike tour so make sure you keep the camera rolling for this.
    Once you are heading in the rough general direction it takes little planning unless you have border and visa issues to work out. You ride, stop, camp, ride, stop, camp. Repeat until Istambul.
  7. OP

    OzBaRan Regular

    I did cycling in Cuba for couple of days with a mountain bike It was ok but it was short trips about 15-20 mile.. I guess if I do the proper training few months I will be able to 50-60 miles a day.
    MarkF likes this.
  8. OP

    OzBaRan Regular

    I will have enough time for preparation for this journey.. I haven’t decided yet whether to do it alone or find a cycling buddy.. I will take your advice on trying my camera at weekends and training. I need to learn basic maintenance of the bike also plan my routes well. I haven’t got an issue with visa but going through Bulgaria to Istanbul is a bit concern.
  9. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    Look at Crazy Guy on a Bike and read avidly

    Best way to access Istanbul is to cross over at Gallipoli then cycle east and take another ferry straight in to Istanbul
    NickNick likes this.
  10. OP

    OzBaRan Regular

    I read one of the blog that two guy did this journey few years ago it took about 2000 miles.. I guess I need to study more about the routes. I have to do it maximum in 7 weeks because of the work..
  11. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Veteran

    East Sussex
    I rode from Sussex to Istanbul during the summer of 2000. There are all sorts of ways you can route yourself, but as was said above it will be somewhat longer than you are imagining. I am a professional photographer and have done a lot of cycling photography - including shooting images of myself cycling and if you are planning to get professional quality images/footage of yourself on the road, don't underestimate the additional time that will take each day, or the equipment you will need to carry. It is not impossible by any means, I have done it, and done it solo, but you will need to carry possibly more gear than you realise. And unless you have done a lot of this sort of thing already, you are going to need to practice a lot before you hit the road. It is not as easy getting high quality images of yourself on a bicycle as you might imagine.
    MarkF likes this.
  12. MichaelW2

    MichaelW2 Über Member

    What photo gear do you need for a semi-pro level movie production.
    I was thinking of a 4k camera like a Four Thirds Panasonic, a couple of lenses from v wideangle to telephoto, an external microphone, lots of high capacity, high speed memory cards and 3-4 batteries and a tripod sturdy enough to take your heaviest lens. Do you need a light?

    Canon DSLR is another good choice, but a bit bulkier. Get one with an articulated screen so you can see it from the front. In addition, a GoPro for bar/helmet mounting.
    Then you need some kind of edit machine, maybe a pad that can access your video fairly easily.
    You need to manage all of the batteries so some kind of decent solar or dynamo hub charger.
    Last edited: 9 Nov 2017
  13. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Veteran

    East Sussex
    A Go-Pro is useful.

    I use Canon gear - occasionally I bring my 5d3 pro-DSLR with me on rides, but more often than not I go with a compact. Canon (and other companies too, no doubt, butI happen to know Canon) make some excellent high-end point-and-shoot models. I have an older G11 and a much newer GIX. They are both fabulous cycling cameras. Great image quality, shoots in RAW, articulated screen and fits into a handlebar bag really easily. It will shoot movies as well, although as a stills photographer, it is not something I do much of. One feature I particularly like since I ride solo and therefore have to be both subject and photographer, is the customisable self-timer - you can set the timer delay from 2 seconds to 30 seconds and then have the camera fire off anything from 1 to 10 images automatically. Have found this to be an extremely useful feature.

    Here is a gallery of images I have shot of myself on rides around Sussex - in all cases I am both the cyclist in the picture and the photographer taking it.
  14. A bit off topic, but if you're interested in a solo expedition film have a look at The Mountains of Heaven by Jenny Tough (not cycling though)

    I really enjoyed it, but she must have really delayed herself at times setting up the camera for shots of herself, then having to go back and retrieve it. Disclaimer: I'm no film expert. Others may well think it's a load of rubbish.
  15. What's the problem with Bulgaria to Istanbul? Bulgaria is fine. The main highway approach to Istanbul is apparently horrendous (not done it myself) but people do find other ways, and a bit of searching for blogs and on should give some ideas.
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