By Justin Mays:
Worldwide, cycling is a favorite sport or way of commuting. Cycling is popular for its health benefits, low environmental impact, and because it is an extremely enjoyable activity and fun way to explore.
Turkey is a great cycling destination although the infrastructure is still in development. Istanbul has been growing a vibrant biking culture in the past decade. Despite not being known for being bike-friendly like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, the city has created bike lanes on main roads like Bagdat Caddesi, new bike shops have opened and cycling clubs meet on the weekends to enjoy the city’s offerings.
The city municipality offers a bike rental program like New York City’s Citibike program called Isbike. Install the application and choose an annual subscription that can be paid for online. Look for the stations located throughout the city where you can rent their bikes to discover the city. A favorite spot to cycle is on the carless Princes Islands, the nearest archipelago to the city. You can travel by your own bike on the city ferry or rent from one of the many bike shops on the island. Another popular pastime is mountain bike in Polonezkoy or the Belgrade Forest.
Outside of Istanbul, there are some incredible biking routes around the country. Here are some favorite trails to experience.
Biking trails in Turkey
The Turkish Black Sea coast is 1.329 km long and just inland you will find many beautiful mountains and national parks. There is a 102 km biking trail made for advanced riders with inclines of up to 3.000 meters. Those who are fit enough to tackle this route will enjoy views and waterfalls and alpine meadows.
Cappadocia’s Nevsehir route is 43 km long starting in the city of Avanos, known for its pottery, and going through Goreme and Ortasehir until you reach Mustafa Pasa. The scenery is stunning with volcanic rock fairy chimneys and beautiful valleys.
Famed coastal areas like Fethiye, Antalya, and Marmaris all have spectacular trials with the sea at the center of adventure. Sweeping water views are enjoyed by lucky riders with the bonus of being able to cycle alongside the seashore allowing for fabulous swimming breaks. Antalya alone has over 80 trails!
For the most competitive of bikers, Turkey hosts the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, a professional road bicycle race established in 1963. It is part of the UCI ProSeries. This year the event was held in April. UCI Gran Fondo, another racing competition held in Turkey is going to take place from the 17th to the 20th of November 2022. The race is organized according to the different distances and difficulties of the race. The gradual distances are called Gran Fondo, Mezzo, and Fondo. To get more information and register for this race, visit the UCI Gran Fondo website.
There is something for everyone interested in cycling in Turkey. From hiring a cruiser to enjoy the Bosphorus to taking on the mountains of the Black Sea, riders of all levels will enjoy exploring Turkey by bike.