(March 31, 2020 – written by Dave)
As regular readers would know, we try to write blog posts for most days when we are out on a bike tour. So far, we’ve ridden our bikes in some 50 countries and met countless wonderful people. We are fortunate to have cycling friends all over the world. When we are not out on a tour, we often satisfy our wanderlust by reading the travel blogs of folks we’ve met.
Until Covid-19, we were actively following the daily wanderings of friends riding in Spain, Malaysia, Chile and Argentina – not to mention a bunch of others that we sometimes read on the Crazy Guy On A Bike website (https://www.crazyguyonabike.com). Sadly, but understandably, most people we know and in fact most bloggers on the CGOAB site, have terminated their trips and headed back to their home countries. So, just when we suddenly have more time on our hands, we unfortunately have fewer things to read. Don’t worry, I get it – a shortage of cycling-related reading material pales in comparison to the real suffering caused by Covid-19. But hear me out…
Here in Sydney, so long as we practice good social distancing, we are still allowed to get outside for rides. Today we managed a nice autumn ride out to the national park near our house with a celebratory take-away egg and bacon roll from one of our favourite cafes at the end of the ride (it’s a hard job, but someone has to try to keep these little cafes in business). While enjoying the sunshine I came up with the idea of filling the general internet bike tour blog void by dredging up an old post or two, something like “where were we 10 years ago today”.
Great idea, until I realized that 10 years ago we were working, and not out on a bike tour. Still, the idea had some merit, so today’s story is from 8 years ago today.
Eight years ago today we were on our long Australia to Europe bike trip. A week prior, we had just entered Turkey and were now making our way down the western Aegean Sea coast towards the tourist local of Bodrum. To be honest, we were a little anxious before entering Turkey- it seemed so foreign, exotic and we knew very little about it. We ended up spending two full months riding around Turkey and to this day we still call it out as one of our favourite all-time bicycle tour destinations.
You may remember back to 2011, the Middle East was being swept by populist uprisings known as the Arab Spring. By the spring of 2012, with much of the Middle East off limits for tourists, Turkey was gearing up for a bumper tourist season. All of the innkeepers and restaurateurs were busy patching, painting and generally cleaning up to cash in on the boom. As we were travelling in the early spring, we often arrived in towns as the first guests of the season. Though busy getting ready, everyone we met was happy to down tools and welcome two sweaty cyclists.
Turkey really surprised us. The food was wonderful. The people were warm and welcoming. The daily views of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas were amazing. If you want to read about March 31, 2012, click here. The day turned out to be a pretty good day for photos, I’ll throw a few of favourites up here – if anything, they’ll give you something to look at other than CNN or NYT news updates.
To give me something to do and provide a break in the “doom and gloom” news cycle, we’ll probably dig up a few other “N years ago today” posts in the coming weeks/months. You never know, that may be all we have when it comes to bicycle touring blogs to read for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, thanks for reading. Wash your hands and be safe out there!