Ankara to Goreme

In Ankara I had originally planned on getting my Iranian visa. By the time I had arrived though I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be going via the middle east. Instead I planned on sorting out other visas I might need, getting cold weather clothes and getting my bike checked over.
In the end I only did one of these…my bike is now I hope in better condition! The service was almost overdue as I had nearly worn the brake pads down the metal.

I didn’t bother getting the visas for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan in Ankara as I figured I could get them as easily in Georgia. As for cold weather kit: it had warmed up a fair bit and I didn’t fancy lugging around anything extra I might not need for a few weeks.
In Ankara I didn’t do much sight seeing. This is mainly because there are not many sights in Ankara to see and I had seen most of them when I was there on holiday a few years ago.

I did get shown round the city by someone who hosted me for couchsurfing for a couple of nights which was better than wandering around on my own! I also spent a couple of nights in a hostel there and went around the Turkish equivalent of the Tate Britain with an Iranian artist staying in the same room as me.

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Four nights in Ankara had left me pretty restless and I was glad when leaving time arrived, especially as it was now warm enough again for me to ride in shorts and cycle jersey only.
It was not long after I had ridden out of the city that I realised in my eagerness to set off I’d forgotten my bike lock. I thought this was going to be a real pain as I did not know when I would next be in a city with a proper bike shop. When I got to Golbasi (the next town from Ankara) I decided to ask around. After a few enquiries I eventually ended up at what I guess was a cycle mechanics as it had bikes in various states of repair outside. When I asked for a lock the guy there brought back something that looked like a determined thief could chew through it. As it was less than GBP 2 I bought it anyway in case I couldn’t find anything better.
Then I remembered the chain that was hanging outside one of the shops I had asked directions at. So riding back I bought my first length of chain in order to use it as a lock with a padlock. The chain looked like it might damage the bike on its own so I got the man in the shop to cut me some hose to put round it. Annoyingly the chain kept slipping through the hose so next we tightened a couple of hoselocks at either end to prevent this. I now had a pretty heavy duty looking bike lock that cost 5 Turkish Lira or less than GBP2. Of course all you needed to get through it was a pair of chain cutters but that had been the case with the old lock too.
I then rode on across more seemingly never ending Turkish roads, happy I had realised I could read my kindle while riding.

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My day ended at the very tip of a giant salt lake called Tuz Golu, where I laid up at a friendly petrol station.

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The next day I rode off round the very flat road around the Lake. As it was the dry season I think the lake was dried out and I was thus able to see the salt flat. At some points it was just whiteness stretching off into the horizon looking like it went on forever.

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On the way round a melonseller pulled me over for tea and he kindly gave me a melon as I was leaving. Sadly this melon must have weighed over a kilo, for the weight conscious cycle tourist a 1kg melon is the last thing you want to be carrying around, especially when you a) don’t have a knife big enough to cut it and b) hate melon. With a slight feeling of guilt I passed it onto the next people I saw.

Riding on I made it round the lake and past Aksaray to a petrol station near Gencosman, where I decided to camp as it was getting dark and I wasn’t sure there would be another petrol station for a while. I was starting to realise that some petrol stations were better to camp at that others, the first one I camped at had a nice patch of grass and a shower in the toilet block. The one at Gencosman barely had a toilet block, still it was free and there was a dog to keep me company/awake with its barking.

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The next day I rode for Cappodacia and the town of Goreme.

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