Lycian Way or the Highway?

Sunday.. time for the traditional cycling trip “around the church” or -in this case- up and down again over an dirt road. We found a very nice camp in the Gemilege Koyu, a small inlet with cliffs and a very tiny beach. It can be reached with 4×4 or, if you are Turkish, with a normal car… Anyway, a nice starting point for me -at sea level- and the only way is up! That’s also the title of a song if I am not mistaken.. (the one by Jazz I had in mind).

Conditions were mild, considering that it is January; 50% clouds, a bit of sun, making it about 15°C. A bit too much wind for my taste, but later I found out that the cove was sort of sheltered, making it worse while underway.

So I started knowing that at least the first 6km were to be uphill. Since we were close to the Likya Yolu (Lycian Way; long distance walking path), I considered the possibility to ride some of it , hoping it would be a nice single trail. So I created a gpx track to aid me while underway, consisting of the up-down track, and two loops to ride some of the walking way if possible.

Well, that was the theory anyway. In realty, I found out, the “real” single track portions of the Lycian way cannot be negotiated with a mountain bike. Of course, a large portion of the Lycian way follows dirt roads, and even some asphalt, so that’s easy, but when it turns into a single track, it is like a goat trail instantly. So, no loops to ride, I just went up as far as I could get (in time), and back down.

Riding up was nice, giving lots of vistas into the cove. Out of the cove the terrain flattened a bit, and the villagers have created lots of terraces in those areas for agricultural purposes. But also the higher I got, the less protected against the wind I was. Unobstructed, the wind was about 5-6 Bft I would guess. That sure made it quite a bit colder, the cycling computer indicated a mere 10°C. Damn.. I didn’t count on that! but during the climb it was not so bad; a low speed and high effort keeps the body temperature OK.

So I pushed on, and upon entering the small village, the dirt road turned into a small paved road, and upon exciting, it became an asphalt road. I say asphalt, but actually when riding it, you don’t touch the asphalt at all. Glued on top of the road is a layer of “gravel”, the size of small dice… it makes for a very rough ride, not only on the bike, but also when riding it with the camper van. I am beginning to think that this rough “asphalt” layer is a sort of Turkish standard, because I have been encountering it regularly since entering this country. Along this way I rode on until it was time to turn around, in order to be back in time as I promised.

When I was back at the van, my wife asked me how it was. I told her about the steep uphill climb and the strong wind up on the plateau. “Did you see something special” she then asked me. Nah I said. So, said my wife, who has a dry sense of humour, said; “you battled uphill for an hour over a road you already knew from when we drove the van down, to get blown off your bike and you did not see anything special. Yeah sounds really great…”

I guess the above just illustrates that you really need to be a cyclist to appreciate a ride like this….

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