Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Day 62 (Turkey): Kayseri - Pinarbasi (”you’re going to Ankara”)

today’s distance: 110km
total distance: 4996km
riding time: 6-7h

Another bad night - the yummy food from the night before took its toll. It was too oily, which I didn’t realize when I ate it - and probably too spicy. So much for that. This didn’t bode well for the day and I couldn’t eat much for breakfast. I had also missed out on bidding farewell to Murat because I slept through my alarm after having been up for part of the night and he didn’t want to wake me up. I slowly moved about the apartment and eventually closed the door behind me and set out. What a crummy feeling in my stomach … just like a few days ago on the way to Goreme. Not quite as bad though, but still not a good way to start the day. I decided to give it a go on bananas, water and Coke … and so it went. After negotiating traffic on the other end of Kayseri, I got to work on an uphill which kept me busy for the next hour or so. My hunch is that it was about 12-14km long with undulating terrain afterwards. Mostly uphill. It was also not very inspiring landscape as the day was dull. So was my mood.

This may be a good opportunity to explain something. I have received a few comments about what my thoughts are during days like this. It’s a bit odd at times. There are so many things that influence mood, thoughts and behavior. Take a day like today … the weather was alrightish (it didn’t rain and the wind came mostly from behind so that was good), but not great. I didn’t feel very well at all. Strangely, it just leads to me being more and more stoic … you do what the road throws at you and take it as a given. That’s the upside. The downside of course is that you don’t really experience what is going on around you as fully as you would otherwise. It also helps to keep in mind that for all the great moments I have talked about so far, there have been times when things didn’t go all that great. Rob over at has just posted something about this:

“Be especially aware that for every exciting, inspirational photo of someone screaming downhill, beaming with joy and pride, there is another photo that was never taken because the traveler was so incredibly depressed and tired that they could not even bring themselves to think about opening their camera case.”

Rob makes a good point and my thoughts were similar today. Through this blog you get a certain view and I try to be as open and honest as I can be, but it certainly is biased and depending on the mood I am in, I am leaving things out or putting a certain perspective on it. The last few days were days where I didn’t feel like whipping out the camera at times. A few weeks ago I might have. But oftentimes, there are stories that I probably don’t tell, feel that they are insignificant or push them to the back of my mind. Today was a day where I just went about doing what I felt I should do. One pedalstroke after another … moving slowly up the hill, taking a break and just clocking miles. Having biked for a number of years may help a good deal to get your mind off of things and just be there in the moment. Had I felt better, the day may have been totally different.

I was getting close to a town where I was going to stop and do some purchases when I realized that something was wrong on my rear. I figured I would have to adjust the brake and so I did. Things seemed OK so I moved on. The road was bumpy, so I didn’t feel the little clonks for a couple of minutes. Then they were there again. I looked again, couldn’t see anything. I took the packs of to get a good look at the rear wheel. Then I saw it …

(if you have trouble seeing the problem, click the picture and enlarge the photo)

Argggghhhhh … the rear rim was broken. Strangely enough, my feelings were either muted or I simply accepted the situation as was. Nothing to be done about it. I didn’t scream or yell out. I simply put the packs on the bike again after opening up the brake. I rolled down the hill and up the next, wondering what to do. A minute after I was back on the bike, I took out my phone and called Speedzone to tell them about it and asked whether they could put a new wheel together for me. Easiest thing I could do and I knew things would be done right instead of running around Ankara and Istanbul trying to find something that I have a hunch might not be there. Dirk was on and said they would build it the next day. Thank you so very much … they are busy these days for sure and with Dirk’s shoulder being injured I do not take this for granted. What happened you may ask? I cannot tell you. No impact, the tire is good. Too much weight? Not really, I am not loaded up very heavily. Faulty material is all I can think of right now.

I couldn’t go on much longer I knew. The town in sight about 3km ahead, I went there. Internet cafe, bus station, etc. I arrived, made a call to Murat, asking whether I could come back to Kayseri that night and he immediately said to hop on the next (and as it turned out: the last) bus to Kayseri. The day may have been shot, but you can always take a picture of a bunch of kids swarming around your bike.

So, on the bus I was to Kayseri. And the landscape looked completely different. What had been dull and gray all of a sudden was lush and green. The sun had come out and was now beaming at a low angle. The clouds around Mount Erciyes had disappeared and the whole area was now gleaming in a golden glow.

I arrive in Kayseri and pedal back to Murat’s place … wait for him there and get a taste of Turkish hospitality. I was calm about the fact that I was stranded now. But I also just wanted to be left alone. All neighbors seemed to be converging on me though as I was sitting waiting for Murat who came about half an hour later. I had hedged a plan on the way back: things being delivered much more quickly in Ankara, I would go there if Gokce’s parents would be willing to have me around. They were … just said to hop on the bus and they would pick me up. So, that’s what I will do tomorrow. Get up early, hop on a bus and then head to Ankara to wait things out. In this sense it is also good that I didn’t continue on last night. Thanks to Murate for putting me up for another night and for organizing things at such short notice.

Thanks also to Haluk und Guler for letting me spend more time with them in Ankara. The forced break might have its good sides too. As Patrick has pointed out, Hesse happened upon an indigenous tribe and found that they stop at times so that they mind can catch up with their bodies. Given the mileage as of late, this might not be a bad idea.

And finally, I should go back to Altinekin and talk to the police guy there: “You are going to Ankara!” I am indeed.

1 comment

1 marko { 05.29.08 at 6:51 am }


Your problem looks very familiar to me.. :-)
Had the same problem in SA and Mongolia. To avoid this troubles : 1.Clean the rims every evening 2. Be carefull when you brake in rainy days as sand on rims speed up this process, 3. Do not exaggerate with air tube pressure…

Enjoy your ride and best regards from Slovenija!


Leave a Comment

* Your email address will not be made public.
* Die Email-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht.