Oxford to Istanbul (First Timer!)

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by adam.perry, 26 Mar 2008.

  1. adam.perry

    adam.perry New Member

    planning to cycle for Oxford to Istanbul this summer but this is my first time doing this sort of thing.

    planning to do it on my Giant SCR 3 '07 as i can't afford to get a proper tourer and hoping that there is tarmac all the way.

    planning to camp along the way a lot. (a proper poor student!)

    really after advice on ;

    places to go
    places to sleep
    what need to be modified on my bike

    any comments/advice much appreciated
  2. Percy

    Percy Well-Known Member


    Part of a big trip last year meant I rode back from Turkey (Erdine) to the channel - Dieppe.

    There is certainly tarmac all the way - to Erdine at least - the quality of which varies wildly. I'm not a huge bike geek, but if you're planning on carrying camping kit (plus provisions and spares, presumably) on a road bike, you want to be making it all as light as possible, and your wheels as strong as possible.

    It's such a large, diverse ride, in terms of sights, cultures etc. it's difficult to give a short version of 'advice'. Also depends what you like doing/seeing/how far you like riding etc. A highlight of the stretch for me was hitting three capitals - Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest - all within the space of a week (Bratislava to Vienna in the same day). And the Danube of course, which stayed with me for eight countries

    If you mean customs as in border customs, you shouldn't have a problem. Hungary/Romania/Serbia/Bulgaria/Turkey were the only countries who wanted to see my passport, and that was normally just for an excuse to ask me where I was going - lots of laughter when I said 'England' - I'm pretty sure they all thought I was either joking or stupid!

    Feel free to come back with any specific questions but the best advice I can probably give you is just to go out there and get on with it - common sense is a great tool with such things and you'll quickly learn anything you might otherwise have overlooked.


  3. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

  4. We did it a couple of years backs during a wet spring. It was a great ride even in the cold and wet. Our account is here
    The final 20km into Istanbul is probably the most dangerous bit of cycling I have ever done. But I think just about everyone lives to tell the tale.
  5. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    You should probably check out www.crazyguyonabike.com as there are loads of journals of similar trips. It sounds brilliant though!! Dead jealous.
  6. carlpie

    carlpie New Member

    No additional practical advice to offer, but that sounds like a great ride - good luck.

    Oh - Snickers flavoured flap jacks...my personal favourite travelling companion.
  7. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    I am jealous - you lucky sod!

    Personally I think the bike needs a rethink. Trying to get pannier heel clearance on a bike of that type may be a challenge, and there are probably no pannier braze-ons. Carbon forks probably mean no front panniers either. If you try and carry even the minimal camping kit on that bike I think it will struggle.

    I just upgraded from my 531 tourer (Saracen Skyline - similar to Galaxy) to an expedition bike, so the 531 will be up for sale on Ebay in a week or so. You can see it in action here on several tours here www.crazyguyonabike.com/julian (not Portugal or NZ as they were the new bike). I have done tons of upgrades, partic including the wheels (Spa Cycles, Endeavour rims and XT hubs). I also have a set of Karrimor front and rear panniers to sell as I got Ortliebs.

    No pressure, but if interested, get in touch. Perhaps you can persuade family to "invest"!
  8. OP

    adam.perry New Member

    to answer the question which you guys are asking me here we go:

    it's my first time doing anything like this but can't wait to get going, just got to get this semester of uni over with (i've realised at the age of 20 that uni is not education it's now just a convenient excuse to so that i can plan adventures/trips in the holidays!)

    been looking at maps for the past few days and starting to settle on some kind of route which goes as follows;

    oxford, dover, calais, brussels, cologne, prague, prague, brno, vienna, bratislavia, budapest, timisoara, sofia, istanbul. These are the major places but could change depending on reccomendation etc. plus i know there are some big gaps inbetween some of the place but with the intention of doing some good camping and getting away from the hussle and bussle of the big places.

    My bike, (http://www.awcycles.co.uk/brands/Terago_Trail_07/SCR_3/11046/index.aspx) which i've put over 2000miles on, is standard equipment apart from putting on some continental ultra gatorskin tires. I'm 6ft 5inch and weigh 89kg. i have friends with the same bike and set up who weigh 105kg and the wheels etc have been fine. so i figure i have 15 kilos to play with before needing to get stronger wheels.

    planning to set a side a maximum of £125 on upgrading transmission, wheels etc and keeping the current kit as spares. so really can't afford top of the range stuff at all. so if any of you seasoned pro's have any of the kit that you think i need and dont mind not making a profit then let me know!

    need to get camping equipment too, tent, sleeping bag and cooking equipment, and can only set aside £120 for this stuff.

    ordered a set of front and back panniers giving me a total of 58L to pack everything in but dont plan on usin all of that up at all. i know the wheels are skinny which is why im going to try and spread the load as much as possible.

    planning to set off end begining of june or july. figuring it out to do roughly 40 miles a day and giving the trip 2 months (maybe more) to take a couple of days off here and there to enjoy the surroundings.

    what do you think? more advice/recommendations on equipment or places to go much welcommed!
  9. OP

    adam.perry New Member

    ps-no chance of family helping out with expenses as they don't even want me to go on trip!
  10. OP

    adam.perry New Member

    pps, forgot to metion appart from new tyres, i also put keo classic pedals on.
  11. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    I personally wouldn't assume that roads in turkey will be tarmacked, a lot of them will probably be dirt tracks - it's a fairly primitive country.
    Also you've got to be careful in those dodgy eastern european countries - the ukranian mafia have a lot of 'influence' and far reaching tendrils.
    All the beggars in prague are owned by the ukranian mafia, for example.
    Aswell as that, corruption is rife, so if you need the police for anything, don't expect them to do anything other than nick your bike, wallet, clothes and passport and spit you out the other end of the police station naked and without a bean.
    Also remember that Turkey is a hot country, like far too hot to cycle. So you'll probably have to cycle at night, if at all (train might be a better option once it gets above about 25 deg C). I'm going there later on this year and probably going to be going for a run most days, but then we'll have a swimming pool so it won't be an issue.
  12. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Thanks Bonj for your thoughtful and obviously experience based insights into travelling in foreign lands. Clearly the Michael Palin of Cycle Chat.

    I shall forward your advice viz a vis cycling in temperatures over 25c to my old club in Florida. I'm sure their following of your advice will only be hampered by the lack of trains in their area. That small technicality aside, I can see no other reason why they will resist having their cycling season curtailed to no longer than 4 weeks in December / January. Oh, apart from the fact you're talking complete bollocks.
  13. Danny

    Danny Legendary Member

    Funnily enough parents in York give their children similar warnings about Sheffield :biggrin:
  14. tdr1nka

    tdr1nka Taking the biscuit

    Also be on the look out for Bandits in the mountains, poisonous yak
    and flying carpet salesmen!!;)

    Damn, won't be able to watch Midnight Express without thinking of Bonj now!
  15. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Man-Machine Moderator

    Bonj is perfectly correct. On my last holiday in Turkey, we had to take the Fiat back to Avis and get a half-track. And all bikes in Turkey are two-wheel drive. At least.:smile:
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