Tuesday, May 8, 87 k
The alarm woke me at 7 am. I'd told the manager that I'd take breakfast (4 Turkish Lira ) at 8 am and started hustling to pack everything in my Ziplocs since the weather looked dicey. This morning's lesson: bring extra Ziploc bags, not just the ones you are actively using. It's amazing how many things are not in bags when it's time to be waterproof. (I say "this morning's lesson" since yesterday's lesson was to fly-in with an extra set of clothing that can be thrown away when you are ready to start bicycling. Since I didn't, I'm in a situation where I've bicycled only one day and it's already laundry time - since it took a few days to get organized in Istanbul…)

Leaving Iznik toward Yenisehir was not fun! It's an ugly hour-long climb out of the town complete with '10% climb' signs. I guess I'm glad this was during the first part of the day. True - I got some of the climb back with a few downhill runs but a time-check showed 1 ¾ hours for the first 20 k, so I guess you never get it all back.

The second half of the ride was a 40 k run from Yenisehir to Bilecik. It's been beautiful scenery the whole day. Another long climb was part of the deal. I pushed and didn't stop for my midday meal until 1:15: four plus hours of riding and my destination reportedly 10 k away. The final run was on a freeway. A fair amount of traffic made this part of the ride not too special, but there was glorious downhill bomb into town. I pulled over at a small military base to ask about hotels. I drew a crowd of about ten soldiers, and was told about two hotels: one at 80 Turkish Lira (~ $63), another at 100 Turkish Lira ($74). I was told to negotiate. Someone also mentioned, in broken English/German, that certain hotels didn't like solders. (The comment reminds me of another comment, last night at the fish restaurant. A Turk who spoke some English had commented that the military, as the periodic enforcer of secularism, was out of step with the people. With Turkey making international news due to million-person demonstrations, these candid comments interest me.)

Maybe two kilometers later I spotted an attractive 3-star business hotel and pulled over, a few meters short. I made eye contact with the men at the tea-bar a few steps from me, pointed at the hotel, and rubbed my fingers together while shrugging. My hope was that I was communicating "too expensive" and apparently I was. They pointed across the street and back the direction I'd come from. There, about a hundred meters away, was a much plainer building: the Goran Hotel. I don't remember what it cost, but it was cheap. I checked in, had a shower (cold again) and dozed for about three hours. Got up, wandered town, had two donner kabobs, sat in a small park catching up in the journal then visited an internet café. Went back to the hotel where a young man behind the counter shared (in German) information on tomorrow's route. He recommended a secondary road that would keep me off the freeway for roughly two-thirds the distance to my next stop, Eskisehir. He seemed to be warning me that the turnoff to find this secondary road was a bit hard to spot, and he did warn me that I would be climbing for 20 k as part of the deal, but the route was on my map, and staying off the main drag did sound compelling. That night, wearing earplugs in the hotel room due to the truck noise outside, I became more confident that this secondary road was the right thing to do.
Leaving Iznik was a nice ride, but a bit of work.
Not the most impressive room....
  Next: Bilecik to Eskisehir  
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