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Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

Palo Alto...
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Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

A friend and I recently returned from a fantastic mountain biking trip in Cappadocia with Argeus Tourism & Travel. The 8-day package was the first holiday of this kind I've taken. Now that I'm able to compare the experience of herds loading and unloading from busses at major destinations to the more solitary/personal experience of an off-road trek, I have to say I'm inclined to travel this way quite a bit more.

Argeus (and our guide Mehmet Ozden) runs a very smart tour. Our first day of biking was a short one (15 km), which gave us a chance to get the feel of biking offroad (neither my friend nor I are accomplished mountain bikers), but more importantly it gave Mehmet a chance to see what we could and couldn't do. The following days of riding were increasingly long and difficult, but our abilities improved, as well.

On this trip we were able to visit all the major venues an "ordinary" tour would include (Goreme Open Air Museum, Love Valley, Deringuru Underground City, ceramics factory, etc), and did quite a few things you're just not going to do from a bus or car. The rides through lush valleys were particularly gorgeous, and the speed of long and/or steep downhill runs was exhilarating.

The ride was reasonably luxurious - a lot of sweating, of course - we had a jeep following us with all the necessary items (repair kit, first aid kit...), as well as ample snacks, drinks, etc., and our luggage when we moved locations. We stayed in comfortable boutique hotels, and ate delicious meals primarily at local restaurants or the hotels. The only thing that could have benefitted us on this trip that wasn't provided is handles installed on the jeep to drag us up some of the steeper climbs ;-)

A note about Mehmet as a guide. Mehmet made the whole experience _very_ easy. Hotels were all pre-arranged with no hassles at all (with the possible exception of those last few hundred meters uphill to be pedalled), lunches, tours (as he's a certified national guide, it was as simple as Mehmet taking his bike helmet off and putting on the required badge). There was no pressure for anything - if we needed a break, we took one; if we wanted to spend extra time somewhere, we took the time; if we wanted to skip a particular attraction, so be it.

Mehmet was also accompanied by his dad, who drove the jeep. We found Mehmet and his dad not only to be a good source of local and national knowledge, good fun to be around and speak with, but also accomplished cooks. One day we took a break from biking, wandering around the town of Guzelyurt and Monastery Valley. We joined Mehmet and his dad at the nearby lake where we were treated to the best meal of our trip - dad's koftes.

When we ended the bike trip back in Urgup, Mehmet suggested we treat weary muscles and several days of unshaven growth to a turkish barber (for a shave) and a turkish bath. A great way to unwind, and generally wrap up a great trip.

I highly recommend Argeus for the Mountain Bike Tour, and wouldn't hesitate to use them again for future trips to Turkey. I'd also highly recommend Mehmet for your guide - knowledgeable and a lot of fun to spend time with, Mehmet was a big part of the reason this trip was as good as it was.

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Goreme
Goreme
Cappadocia, Turkey
Love Valley
Love Valley
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Goreme, Turkey
Guzelyurt
Guzelyurt
Cappadocia, Turkey
Urgup
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Cappadocia, Turkey
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Europe
Brighton and Hove...
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1. Re: Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

Hi Andy, what a great post! What a fantastic way (for those of you fit enough!!) to explore the wonderful region of Cappadocia. I bet it was great - because an awful lot of the area is pretty flat - but then, no you do have the valleys!

Could you give us a more detailed description of sort of day by day - what place you ended up each evening, and basic route. It doesn;t sound as if you were camping -so where did you stay, and eat, if not being catered for by Mehmet's Dad. Also how many days did it take?

Any information you could give us would be great - I feel too many people just go for a couple of days and do the "obvious" tours - this really could be a great alternative!

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Palo Alto...
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2. Re: Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

Well, I don't remember all the specifics - for general route I suggest the itinerary at http://www.argeus.net/tours/MTB.html. The distances aren't entirely accurate (1st day was 15km, not 30km; 2nd day was 30km, not 45km - the rest seem about right). In the 8-day itinerary, there are 7 days of biking - Day 1 is just arrival and dinner. We opted to take a break on the 5th biking day primarily because the morning climb that day would almost surely have killed us :-) There was nothing "flat" about coming out of some of those valleys.

I remember 2 of 3 hotels: In Urgup (3 nights) was Assiana Cave Hotel, in Uchisar (2 nights) was Pension Uchisar, and in Guzelyurt was ??Sombody's (don't remember the name) Greek Hotel?? (2 nights)... all were nice.

We ate dinner in the hotels themselves and lunches in restaurants which I don't remember the name of. That said, we never had a bad meal.

It was a lot of fun - and a lot of work. Our guide said he gets all body and fitness types, and in some of the more challenging areas people have elected to ride in the jeep.

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Uchisar
Uchisar
Cappadocia, Turkey
Guzelyurt
Guzelyurt
Cappadocia, Turkey
Brighton and Hove...
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3. Re: Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

Thanks for the link Andy - it sure looks a very interesting schedule. I see the next tour is in September - I am assuming that they probably don't run it in the heat of the summer.

Aberdeen, Scotland
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4. Re: Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

Thanks Andy, great report and I wholeheartedly agree - seems a much better way to see an area like this than buses. Just doesn't seem right to be sitting on a bus most of the time in an area like Cappadocia.

Very brave though, far too difficult for me - I've been wondering whether I ould cope with a full day on a horse, never mind eight on a bike!

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Park City, Utah
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5. Re: Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

Thanks Andy! great description! I love bike touring but shy away from ones that seem too vigorous.

So one does have the option of riding in the jeep? I can see the need on a 65 K day with climbs!

My husband and I are 54 yrs old, but active. Were there others our age or older?

Cheers! Carol

Palo Alto...
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6. Re: Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

Yes, there is the option to ride in the jeep. There were only a couple of killer climbs, and one track that was very sandy for a couple KM. Then again, my killer climb may be your afternoon stroll :-) I think if you're reasonably fit, you will find the majority of the ride to be very pleasant - you'll sweat a bit (maybe quite a bit), but will enjoy rather than regret the memories :-)

One of the days we simply decided not to bike because the climb to start the morning was, in our opinion, outrageous. We spent the day, instead, wandering around the town, walking through the old ruins in the town, exploring nearby Monastery Valley, etc. This is the only bike tour I've done, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Will probably do more once my kids are older, and/or I can talk friends into another.

Regarding the demographics of the group, my group was only me and my friend (and the guide, Mehmet). That wasn't planned, or even desired, just the way it worked out. Mehmet told us, though, that he gets all ages (adults, not kids) and body/fitness types. In fact, he said the best rider he ever had on a tour was... I want to say 74, but don't remember now - let's just say enjoying retirement to the fullest. If you have questions you'd like to ask the guide I rode with - you can reach him at mehmet@argeus.com.tr.

Park City, Utah
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7. Re: Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

Thanks again. Husband Joe and I prefer bike trips above all others.

I have biked in Holland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Canada, Croatia (X3!), San Juans of Washington State USA, and Hungary !!

If you need any advise on further bike trips, just ask!! :)

Carol

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8. Re: Mountain Biking in Cappadocia

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