Day 170 – Gole

I didn’t sleep very well last night for some reason. My heart rate was higher than normal…

Remembering my friend Joe’s words about an increased heart rate, I decided to take today off, and head out into the cold again tomorrow. This cold climate is only supposed to last another 300 or so kilometers, so no need to hurry.

Tomorrow I head for Oltu Town, 60km away. The next day, to Tortum, 70km from Oltu. From there to the large city of Erzurum – one of the coldest cities in all of Turkey. The overnight temperature was forecast for -35 degrees celcius the other day…

Gole, eastern Turkey

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15 thoughts on “Day 170 – Gole

  • Murdo

    Hey Rob,

    Sounds like a good idea to rest man. Those conditions look pretty severe so you probably can't apply standard logic to the way your body might react. Best to err on the side of caution.

    Loved the frozen beard!See quite a bit of ginger in there, haha good man!!

    Hope you meet no more of those savage dogs, what about trying to poison them?

  • Chris J

    Hi Rob,

    I will second Murdo's comments. You are in crazy conditions there so be sure that you and your bike get some rest in between trips to the freezer. You both still have a ways to go. Love the "frozen beard" picture. It reminds me of winter in Wisconsin!

  • Mike

    Hi Rob.

    Seems you took the wrong turn somewhere. You should have gone north. Here in Gothenburg, Sweden we have a pleasant +6°C. The weather aint what it should be.

    Keep going, feet first.

    Mikael, bentrider

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Mikael! +6 degrees?! In Sweden? I need to go north then it seems. Pity there is a lumping fat big Black Sea in the way.

  • Cornell


    Man that looks cold! I do not envy you, but you are going to ride out of that. I went for a 20km trike ride today at 8C and my feet were numb by the time I got back! So I can imagine riding in -20 – well, maybe not!

    At least the local hospitality still seems to be there for a crazy kid on a funny bike. With the dogs staying close to home extreme cold does have its advantages.

    Take care of yourself and look forward to more additions to your blog from warmer places.

  • Kirk

    Rob, That looks very cold. I was in Alaska for work last month and above the arctic circle it was -14F/-25C. It is strange that it is that cold so far south in Turkey. Anyway I have an idea for the dogs if they do come back. If you can purchase a spray bottle, you could put some automotive anti-freeze in it. Along with whatever spicy stuffy you can grind up, pepper, chilies, etc. The antifreeze will prevent the mixture from freezing, and poison the dogs, and the pepper will act as a detterent as well. It may be worth a try, and it is from stuff you should be able to find there.

    Also, when you get to London, why not continue traveling West? You could fly to Newfoundland, or Maine, and then ride across the good old USA to Los Angeles, and then Fly on home to NZ. Then you would have ridden mostly around the world!

    Best Regards, and keep on pedaling,


  • Uncle Peter

    It's just as well it's a mild to warm winter this year!

    I like Kirk's idea. The trouble is it takes you away from visiting us en route down under. Another downer is it won't be as safe as travelling the silk road.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Cornell, I wear the following to keep the digits warm:

    – Thin pair of thin 60% wool business socks as liner socks

    – Two pairs of thick SmartWool wool socks

    – Shimano SPD Cycling boots

    – Two layers of 2mm thick closed cell foam inner soles in each boot to help prevent the cold from coming through the soles of the boots via the metal SPD cleats (makes a huge difference).

    Plus I have the advantage of being on a higher up recumbent. Means that I can hang my feet down while going downhill to feed those blood thirsty toes!

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Kirk, I had played with the idea of trying to get on a yacht across the Atlantic…am still considering it. However apparently that's not the most popular of pleasure sailing routes. Still, your suggestion has got me wondering whether it would be all that much more expensive for flights to the States from England then from England to NZ, compared with flying direct to NZ from England…

  • Murdo


    I would suggest giving the Atlantic a wide berth man! I went on a cruise last summer in the Mediterranean and I can tell you that when that boat rocks, you can feel decidedly rough! The Atlantic is MUCH rougher than the Med I would imagine. But I like the fly to the US and cycle to the west coast idea! Go for it haha

  • Satoshi


    M5 Ligfietsen quoted me that any of their complete bikes would be cheaper than just the frameset even though they do advertise frame-only options that's only good for European and UK DIY folks as the shipping is whopping 400 Euro due to their size rather than weight and thanks to the weak Aussie dollar they are far from affordable, I could buy a decent second hand car or a full carbon road bike for that price. I am seriously considering to switch my plan to alter a Dahon Boardwalk D7 into a recumbent bike (i got parts incl front boom with BB shell and derailleur mount post and also located a shop in US selling everything i need including European style seat like yours) and use it for commuting and shopping only… Transperth (our local bus/train operator) now allows folded and bagged folding bikes on trains even during rush hours. There is something to celebrate about that!!

    take care


  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Murdo, I know what you mean about getting sea sick. I worked on a fishing boat for a month before going to Japan on JET, and the first day I was throwing up all day. No probs the next day though…ugh…getting queasy just thinking about it…

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Donna, if I ever get as far as LA, you can be sure I'll be using your house as a bike packing headquaters! If you don't mind, of course… 🙂