Three Cycle Sufies
Three Sufi’s bike to Bilecik – Don’t forget to read Güneş Öztürk bike story, the poetry of biking the Sufi Trail
Early in the dark shimmering of the Istanbul morning glow, we gathered around IDO ferry port at Yenikapi. Güneş Öztürk persuaded us to explore the Sufi Trail on a bike. We set a date and there we are with three bikes, early in the morning ready to set off for our adventure into unknown Sufi terrain. We arrive in Yalova and are welcomed by our friends of the Yalova Eco-club. Ahmet is cheerful as ever and we join forces with more bikers to start after the ferry ride to Yalova.
Ahmet Yiğit already did some great exploring and knows that we are in for some tough climbing. The people are warned and some of the group make a turn there and then to take the flat route. A handful of diehards keep going and yes indeed the climb was up up up and not cycling but pushing the bike up. Off course we make it all being a fit group, there are even cycle trainers and his pupils are well trained. We enjoy a great day being out with friends and after the steep climb, we do have quite a nice cycling route and visit a beautiful water stream along the way.
We already know we are staying with our friend of forest gardens Chevrel and Alen who have a lovely farm in Kurtköy. They organize work away programs and this means the table setting is most extraordinary a very special place to be and I treasure every minute spend with them on this little paradise. When we arrive there is a village meal and later that evening in memory of Yusef we enjoy the magic evening of forest gardens.
The next day refreshed and ready for the next climb we have to figure out the weight balance, tempo and push quality. We do make a good team and by swapping some of our bikes going up and going down we make it safe to the next stop Orhangazi. It’s a beautiful stretch and we meet our old Sufi Trail friends and were quite amazed over the spectacular Iznik lake views.
Cycling from Orhangazi to Keramet was even more beautiful. In spring this part of the Sufi Trail is really jaw-dropping beautiful. The blossom, trees, fruits, and calming village life is so soothing for the soul. We enjoy being together and Sedat’s new producer style. He is capturing our cycling adventure with his new phone. Meaning we are the actors in Sedat’s Sufi bike movie.
Keramet is a great place to swim, there is a thermal bath and we jump in to wash away our actor’s sweat and enjoy the great Ilica Anatolia Pension just next to the thermal bath. It really feels like a touristic holiday now even though you are in this really healthy, organic and authentic places.
The next day the ladies tell the producer enough is enough today we take the highway to Iznik nice and quick. We are again very lucky as the road is deserted and then we learn why.
What are the changes to paddle at some given time and day and meet a tour cycling peloton from Iznik to Istanbul . And what a joy a great opportunity to capture yet again some great movie shots.
Iznik is breathtakingly beautiful, and this time we have time to really experience the beauty and significant history this city breaths. In the evening and the daytime, we are dwelled in goodies, meeting the mayor, enjoying Kemal Candar company in the evening and the mystical atmospheres in the mosques.
The awakening in Iznik with Ali Karaman are unforgettable. After the truly great rest in the homy pension, we are taking out on a boat trip on the Iznik lake. On top of the world or rather on top of the old remains of old civilizations. The basilisk it is called and we sail over like a good Sufi bike team in the good hands of Captain Karaman. After this great start, we, of course, needed some hardship. And yes we get rain, broken chains and crazy truck roads. So now we know where not to go on the bike. Lucky as we are, we’re saved by a passing truck that takes as uphill only to sail down yet again to Osmaneli.
Osmaneli is a very interesting town also here we are welcomed by the mayor and enjoy the great town and skilled bike repair man that sets us off, for our last stretch to Bilecik. It’s hard on the sand roads but we do laugh and see the fun of it. As we know all the hard days became the best memories late on.
Bilecik deserves the time we took to truly visit, we found the best person we could meet or maybe he found us. Hakan Yavuz who spots tourist and then takes them to the clock tower took us to the mayor and yes the clock tower only minutes after we entered the city borders. We really enjoyed his friendly and energetic enthusiasm. He shows as all we want to know about Bilecik and Castle Belacoma, the museums, the people, his friends and lovely places to eat sleep and view the city. After a hike to Edelbali and our Bilecik tours, we all say goodbye and hope to look back on a great first time exploring tour de Sufi. We feel warm, grateful and blessed with some many more Sufi Trail friends in almost less than a week of cycling around. Hopefully, we leave a good stamp (impression) and many more stamping spots to come.
Special thank to Cem Balsun for the SUFI BIKES, the will work great in the bike movie compilation to come. See you on the rolling road….as the road rolls out to Konya.