Winter cycling in Turkey



It was cold in Central Anatolia. At night temperatures dropped down to – 20°C and didn’t manage to go above freezing point during the day.

The cold and snow and the lack of trees made the world  look like an unending icy dessert. For days I cycled on the roller coaster road that would take me to Cappadocia from Ankara.  All my concentration focused on avoiding the ice patches littering the hard shoulder were I was riding. I  was doing really well until I lost  concentration after a particularly steep climb.  I slipped over on some ice,  lost control of the bike and came crushing down on the tarmac ending up in the middle of the road which luckily was empty at the time.  It’s amazing how fast  the human brain works when left to it’s own devices. In what felt like a fraction of a second I thought I had to get myself and the bike of the middle of the road, kicked the bike which slid easily on the ice, stood up,  mentally checked myself over and got back on Foxtrot to carry on to my destination.

Ice patches everywhere

It wasn’t until I was warm and settled in the hostel that I noticed the pain on my side.  Breathing was painful and coughing,  laughing and sneezing was excruciating.  I must’ve bruised my ribs on the fall.  I gave myself comfort on the fact that ribs heal by themselves. Patience,  arnica to speed the healing,  Ibuprofen and paracetamol to control the pain that’s all I could do in the meantime.

Sleeping at night was hard but cycling in the day was OK,  the cold  being a very effective anaesthetic.  And so, I  continued towards Cappadocia.

Cave houses

Cappadocia, what a magical,  otherworldly place! I had never seen a landscape like that in all my travels.  Extraordinary rock formations scattered all over the countryside,  evidence of cave living everywhere,  ancient churches and monasteries carved in the rocks.

Cappadocia is ancient, people in the Bronze Age already lived here. I love visiting places like this. When I am in ancient sites I feel some sort of connection with the people who lived here. What was life like for them?  How did they keep warm?  What did they feel when they gathered for worship?

I was so enchanted by the place that I wanted to see it from all angles and decided to give myself an early,  extravagant,  birthday present.  The balloon flight at dawn was an unforgettable experience.  The silence,  the sight of the other balloons,  the view of the fairy chimneys from above,  the sun coming out from behind the snowy peaks…

Birds eye view

I could have stayed in Cappadocia for months but Central Asia beckoned and in a dreamlike state I left it and cycled towards the Black Sea.

The Turkish Black Sea coast

Last time I saw the Black Sea was in Romania,  seeing it again was like meeting an old friend. It was much warmer too and I could feel my muscles begin to relax.  My neck that for days,  turtle like,  had been buried in my shoulders reappeared and I was able to take off some layers of clothing and even stop for leisurely breaks in the middle of the day. Life is so much easier when it is warm and the sun is shining!

Looking back to Turkey from the Georgian border

Fuelled by the sun and the continued kindness of strangers I slowly continued down the coast to Georgia.



21 thoughts on “Winter cycling in Turkey”

  1. Congratulations on reaching Georgia! And belated happy birthday! I got given a balloon ride in Cappadocia once a upon a time (many moons ago) – magical experience seeing all those fantastic rock formations.
    Only 36 days ’till I start following you – so thanks for all the snippets of information you leave like gold nuggets in these posts of yours.

  2. The balloon ride sounds fabulous, but minus 20 is way, way too cold, so I hope the spring is coming your way and tat your poor ribs have recovered from your encounter with the road. load of love
    carol xxx

  3. Wow – Fantastic! You’re very brave taking on Turkey in Winter! I cycled across Turkey in Sept/Oct 2015 and found it; brrrrr, chilly!

    Also, Cappadocia looks amazing with snow there! That must really be a balloon flight to remember!


  4. Great post Blanca. I will now add ‘tough’ to ‘plucky’ on my list of adjectives to put in the same sentence as ‘Blanca’. Love hearing of your adventures. Good luck in Iran honey. Xx

  5. Thanks for the update Blanca – we were in Cappadocia four years ago (in the middle of summer) and loved it. Hope the ribs are on the mend. Steven x

  6. El regalo es verte ascender y disfrutar de todo lo que te ofrece la vida. Admirar tus retos y ver cómo cumples tus sueños.
    Cuídate campeona que en 15 días tienes que cumplir algo más también.
    Muxu handi-handi bat

  7. Wow, you definitely are tough! And such a good writer and photographer. I love the photo of the cave and the one from above. What adventure you are having! And I hope the ribs are all okay by now.
    Dagmar xxx

  8. How fantastic Blanca, the view from the balloon flight is spectacular. Hope your ribs are not painful now and you can carry on pain free (apart from aching muscles obviously) much love Kayxx

  9. I have been so enjoying your posts and have finally decided to send you a message – sorry for all take and no give to date. You are one amazing and strong woman but we have known that for years. We drove from Kas to Cappadocia a few years ago and that was dramatic enough, let alone on a bike in the ice and snow! It seems they don’t believe in closing roads to vehicles when under construction so I was weaving in amongst huge earth moving and smoothing machinery. I am going to be away for work for a few weeks so am sending early birthday greetings. Muchos besos and safe journeying.

  10. So heartwarming to read of the people who have offered you their hospitality along the way. I can’t imagine cycling so far in such conditions. AMAZING! Hope Armenia is warmer and just as hospitable. X

  11. Hola Txuri!!!
    Espero que sigas bien allá donde estés. Qué experiencia más enriquecedora. No me extraña la cara de felicidad que tienes en las fotos, aunque hayas pasado tambien momentos duros.
    Sigue contándonos cosas y así podamos disfrutar también de tu experiencia.
    Muxu handi bat!!!

  12. Those are tough conditions but glad you managed them. I went to Cappadocia many moons ago and it is indeed a rather magical place. We had a hail storm at 32C . Keep pedalling

    1. Thank you! I was in Capadocia in the second half of January. It was very very cold, in Nevşehir and Göreme the temperature never went above -5C during the day but it was stunning and no one around. Anything ese just ask. Happy cycling

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