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Cappadocia was NOT meant for Bicycles

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A guide and two happy-go-lucky girls bike past us in the opposite direction. I force a smile when making eye contact… briefly, before drawing them – sagging heavily – back in the direction of my feet kicking the dirt.

“Suckers,” I say to Pat.

Wincing, he agrees. The sun and the wind blow directly into our eyes as we watch the show about 150 meters down the pothole-laden road. Our guide, a young 15-year-old Turkish boy who apparently drank about 20 Red Bulls before the tour (or so it seems), pops wheelies on his bike in an effort to entertain himself.

Pat and I… well, we’ve had enough. We are now walking next to our bikes.

* * * * *

It was with explicit instructions that we wanted an easy day that we agreed to hop on those bikes in downtown Göreme.

pat taking photos on the bike tour

On the plus side: We got access to good photo scenery on the bike tour.

The first two days of our Intrepid Travel tour in Cappadocia involved lots of light hiking – into canyons, up into pigeon houses, and then some. It felt good, regardless of wearing us out a bit (I mean we usually sit on our butts all day at work).

When Salim initially announced we would be riding bikes on our third day, I didn’t think twice about it. However, on the second day while hiking, when we passed a poor girl and her guide pushing bikes up the same trail (in Rose Valley) I was having to be careful on going down… I panicked.

We explained that we didn’t want that ride. So, Salim explained to our guide that we didn’t want the Rose or Red Valley, and to take it easy.

Apprehension was quickly cast aside after we took off, gliding almost effortlessly on a slight-slight-slight downhill road towards our destination. Even with a growing burn in my thighs, the sun was out, the breeze was cool, and we were in the middle of Cappadocia – everything was swell. When we got towards a small village, our young guide pointed to the top of the hill, letting us know that was where we were heading.

Turkish flag at the top of the hill.

To the top of the hill, where this flag waved.

It all happened fairly quickly – turning the corner, weaving in and out of cars and people, until we were met with an uphill climb… that didn’t end… and that left Pat and I forced to get off the bike and push.

Only our guide never once got off the bike. In fact, he was up in front of us popping wheelies while going up crazy steep hills!

Sweat started pouring over my red face, and as we got back on the bike and trudged past people walking the same path, you could tell they did not in any way envy our situation.

This was just our first stop.

Throughout the day:

We faked smiles for photos.

pat biking in cappadocia

Forced smile much?

We saw lots of these “mushroom” rocks (c’mon, you’re not fooling anyone with those names).

mushroom rocks

The famous mushroom rock structures.

We got to sit and chat with an interesting old man selling organic apple tea.

cappadocia mushroom village

The signs led us to the organic cafe in the middle of the mushroom village.

It was overall a very productive few hours, but that bike ride? It KILLED us. It’s hard to understand how it was so hard. I mean, yeah, we do sit on the computer all day at work, but for the 3 months before setting off we both were hitting the gym regularly in preparation.

I guess it didn’t help that our bikes kept slipping into the only and lowest gear, and it also didn’t help that our guide was a young teenager with all the energy and stamina in the world. He just didn’t understand that we couldn’t keep up – or maybe he didn’t understand that much English!

And there you have it. When we literally couldn’t pedal anymore on the way back to Göreme, we walked… slowly… hating life and hating bicycles. Thank goodness our final night of the tour was the all-you-can-eat-and-drink feast and cultural show. We needed to drown our sorrows!

Tip: If going on the tour in Göreme, don’t be afraid to give your bike a good test run before committing. The seats were much too small for us (I hurt sitting down for a couple days after), and the gears on our bikes kept slipping. Otherwise, switch it up for ATVs! I’ve never been so jealous in my life.

**Our Intrepid Travel tour was provided free of charge, and this bike ride was the only part of it that we didn’t fully enjoy. But that’s just us! We generally hate walking up hills…

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7 Responses to Cappadocia was NOT meant for Bicycles

  1. Colleen Setchell May 21, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    Ouch! Hope you’ve recovered and it didn’t ruin what seemed to be beautiful scenery 🙁

    • Brooke May 23, 2012 at 12:29 am #

      Hehe, yeah we’re ok now 🙂 Now that we look back we think it was a hilarious adventure. We were able to see and do a lot that day because of the bike tour, so I’m glad that we tried… but I should have known that bikes and us just don’t mix. haha

  2. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) May 21, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Yikes! I’m not an avid bike rider by any means, so if I have any thoughts of doing a bike ride on my big trip, it’ll be in cities that are known for being completely flat! It does sound like there were some highlights to the day, and those “mushroom” rocks are pretty hilarious, so at least it wasn’t a total wash!

    • Brooke May 23, 2012 at 12:31 am #

      Yeah it was pretty difficult for us, but like I say at the end… we hate walking up hills! Haha also it was a great excuse to hit it hard at the cultural feast later on in the evening 🙂

  3. Bethany June 12, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    Hahaha! I know what you mean! In Coba last year they had no female bikes. I had all my gear with me and I cannot ride male bikes. I really love bike riding but I always fall off the boy bikes. Didn’t want to take that chance with the gear so I opted for the child bike. BAD CHOICE. My knees were up to my chin every time I peddled and then it started pouring. I was so far behind everyone else in the group – it was awful! Although, I have to say in Cappadocia we did rent ATV’s and while it was fun, I really was disappointed with the tour (i guess you could call it that, it was just us and a guide.) I specifically asked to go to some different places to take photos and he brought us not only to all the typical places but we basically followed a tour bus the whole way. So every stop we were at, so were about 50+ other tourists. Normally that wouldn’t bother me but I really only wanted to rent the ATV to get to some off the beaten track places where I could take some unique photos and that definitely did not happen. I was really disappointed. From your photos, it looks like you went to some cooler spots than we did.

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