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25ml. Steady day but was really dangerous approaching the border. All the trucks are queued up in the slow lane in the tunnels near the border and other vehicles are racing through at great speed in the lane we are trying to pass the stationary trucks. This was a sign of a big change to come on the roads. Driving is chaotic and fast. Speeding by everybody, horn’s constantly sounding, and close overtaking. On approach to Batumi, Auke and Hilgiem were in front and a car swerved at speed towards them. I thought it was going to be another terrorist attack, like one in Tajekistan not long ago. Then he swerved back. As he came past he was laughing like it’s a big joke. Dogs are also very aggressive here and chase as if they are going to attack. If you stop they turn away but if there’s a pack you have to stop and shout aggressive at them or they keep on coming. Hike in prices also here for food and accommodation.

The Black sea and into Georgia.

Batumi center.

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40ml. Another great cycling day. After coming through the 6km tunnel at the top of the mountain, the landscape seems to have changed to lush green with tea plantations on the hillsides. No frost here for the tea to be able to grow. A totally different climate. Booked into a hotel. Last in Turkey as we cross the border into Georgia tomorrow.

Hilgiem exiting the long tunnel on the way down to Hopa.

Tea growing on the hillsides.

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45ml. Great scenery again. 45 tunnels in 75kms. Make sure your lights work on this stretch. Lost all out height when arrived at Artvin turn off. Then it was a 310m climb up to the town. Teachers guesthouse was full so had to book a hotel. No where to camp near here.

Flooded town with mineret visible.

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50ml. Great day on a quiet scenic road. Couldn’t stop taking photos. Great weather also and booked into nice teachers guesthouse. This town won’t be here in a few years. A new dam is being built and Yusufeli will be flooded.

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22ml. Easy day after packing up tents. Stopped at a village for çha and mulberry jam with locals and to dry tents out in the sun. Checked into teachers guesthouse. Washed some clothes, had a cut throat shave at barbers. Also changed rear brake pads and cleaned the chain.

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60ml. Tried to get to Ispir but couldn’t make it due to fading light. Still riding with Auke and Hilgiem. Quiet road but bad headwind and hilly towards the end. Steep climbs but nice scenery. Wild camp at side of river and early to bed. Dark at 6pm.

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50ml. After a hearty breakfast and a good start to the day, the rain came. Weade for shelter in a small mountain village called Yuvacik. A local man invited us to shelter in his home and it turns out he was the mayor. Great meal and lots of çha. Lovely family and after goodbye’s we managed to get to a teacher’s guesthouse just before dark.

Village mayor and great hospitality again.

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59ml. Good day on the bike today but arrived late and teachers guesthouse plus the cheap hotel were full. Had to negotiate with the reception at a posh hotel and eventually got a room for €10 Inc breakfast. Still with Dutch couple. It’s nice to have English speaking company.

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47ml. Big climb today, 2010m but long 17ml downhill. 2 punctures today so also swapped front and rear tyres, as the rear wears down quicker due to the weight. Rode with Auke and Hilgiem again and booked into teachers guesthouse just as it went dark. 35TL for my own room with 3 beds in it.

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46ml. Rode with the Dutch couple, Auke and Hilgiem. Steady day and temperature was warmer. Big temperature drop at night though so booked into otel 2,000 for €5.

 

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57ml. Cold day, lots of flat and long false flats upwards. Arrived at Sarkisla and while passing the school I was invited in for çha again and a talk with the teachers. The head gave me a Turkish flag so I put it on my saddlebag. I stayed at a warm shower host called Burcin and he was a great guy and it was his birthday. There was also a dutch couple on bikes staying so it was a great evening.

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54ml. Very lumpy up and down all day but hardly saw any cars. Great quiet road. One 5km bad stretch of unsurfaced road but good after that and wild camped about 5km south of Sarkisla.

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40ml. Late start after breakfast and good byes at Turkers, and wow what a big ramp to get out of town. Called in the mini market at Gulluce and the owner invited me for food and cha at his house next door. He locked the shop and his wife made me a lovely meal. Great Turkish hospitality again. Then 2 villages along at Hazarsah I’m invited again by a farmer who introduces me to his family. Really nice family. Again it’s hard to make any plans with all the invites ha.

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20ml. Had a day off and borrowed Turkers bike. Went to underground city then into town for some winter clothes. Met Turker at Decathlon where he works and then went to pick the bike up. Rode back with Turker and had a great take away kebab.

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After 4 nights in Goreme and lots of sight seeing I set off for warm shower host, Turker, at Kayseri. I elect to take the old road instead of the highway to Urgup, Incesu, and Kiziloren. Wow the long climb out of Urgup was so steep. I had to get off and push for the first time on this trip. It was impossible to maintain momentum up the relentless steep parts. I had a problem with the brakes making horrible noise so I stopped and took the wheel and pads out. Ah ha. The piston on the front caliper has broken and the rear rotor blade is bent. I changed the chain and adjusted the brakes yesterday and everything was ok. I’m baffled. Well Turker told me to wait at his friends bike shop as he doesn’t finish work until 8 so I go there and Ali takes a look and says I need new rotor and new front caliper. He doesn’t have sram BB7 caliper so he will change for Shimano tomorrow. Turker turns up and we eat and have a couple of beers then their friend who speaks English drives us back to the apartment. Turker says I can stay as long as I want. Bike not ready till 4pm tomorrow due to waiting for a part so I stay another night. I go to the underground city at Tamas on turkers bike and shop for some winter boots as I’ll need them if I’m heading to Georgia.