Day 176 – From Erzurum to Tercan

Today’s distance: 113.03km
Average speed:
Time pedalling:
6h 47m
Distance to Date:
1922.0km (plus 4200km on old speedo)

I only took one photo today.

BTC Pipeline near Tercan, eastern Turkey

And that’s it. I think I may be getting some hints. I have crossed this pipeline so many times in the last two months, and saw the beginning of it in Baku, Azerbaijan, that maybe I should make the detour to Ceyhan to see the end of it…might be a chunky 500km or more detour though…

The day began with a 5km dead end mistake that saw me ride to the entrance of the Erzurum air force base. I thought I was going towards Ashker.

“The road to Ahsker is back that way!” the helpful soldier said in good English.

Man I hate it when that happens.

Once on the correct road – a four lane highway with light traffic with the sweetest verge I have ever ridden on – it was a beautiful mostly slight downhill ride to Ashker. The road was smooth and snow-free, and my knee only uttered a few grunts in the morning while it warmed up.

From Ashker after lunch it was a long 300m uphill that was gradual enough to mean that it took about an hour to climb. The resulting downhill however was awesome. Half an hour of downhill wonder on the same smooth four lane highway with little traffic. I love it when that happens.

So, the knee is feeling strong, and it was a good long day of cycling. Hit an angry dog on the snout too.

OK, just now in the internet cafe I took a couple of candid pics. They are of the kid next to me playing a role play game involving lots of shooting people with automatic weapons. He is hardly big enough to reach the keyboard and mouse, but knows all the cheat keys, and is totally absorbed in the game. I could have stuck the camera up his nose and he wouldn’t have noticed.

Kid in Turkish internet cafe absorbed in computer game (Tercan, Turkey)   Kid in Turkish internet cafe absorbed in computer game (Tercan, Turkey)

And speaking of kids, you need to check out this article and blog. Gareth is a 5 year old who has cerebral palsy, and has just got a new bike. It’s a semi-recumbent tandem. Gareth’s blog reports that he and his father went for their first ride on the 14th of January. Great stuff.

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10 thoughts on “Day 176 – From Erzurum to Tercan

  • Aunty Jenny

    The photos of the food made me hungry!! It looked very scrum. At the Art Centre here in Christchurch, there is a stall that sells Hungarian food, and they sell the most yummy thing … I can't remember it's name, but it is basically like pizza dough, but they fry it, then put some kind of tasty mince, salad and sauces on top. The fried bread base is all crunchy on the outside, and lovely and soft in the middle. Worth tasting if you can. We were all at Mark and Elines' house last night, to celebrate your mother's and Aunty Les's birthday. We had a yum bbq with marinated chicken nibbles, beef patties, lamb ribs and steak. Mark made his wonderful Italien herb bread, and your Mum made a pav, plus Aunty Les and Nana had got a whole lot of strawberries from Trents Strawberry farm. Is all of this making you hungry yet? Do they grow any kind of berries over there? This would be the wrong time of year for them, if they do. The mandarin looked very edible though. What other fruit do they have in season right now?

  • Eoin

    Glad to hear the trip is still going well, and that your knee is holding up. There is a contingent of us here at APU checking up on you every few days, so keep up the interesting posts. The videos are a nice addition too:-)

    You must feel like youre on the home straight now with only a few thousand kms through Europe to go!

    All the best

  • neil

    I checked in with your blog this evening mate, hoping that the temperature in Turkey was getting closer to being positive!

    (26 degrees here in Sunny Nelson) I was disappointed to see Snow! Still, each metre westward takes you further from the freeze. Take care of that knee, and keep on pedalin..

    Michelle is making her first Pav tomorrow! Practically a Kiwi now!

    all the best, Neil.

  • Murdo

    Aye Rob, You can't go all the way to London and not try to get up tae Bonnie Scotland!

    Mmmm I love Pavlovas…bet Michelle's will be top class too!

  • Lee

    Hi Rob's Aunty Jenny,

    My Hungarian office-mate says it's called "Langosh" (spelt ) but she's never tried the ones at the Arts centre. Apparently in Hungary they never have mince, but garlic oil and salt instead – and maybe sour cream and grated cheese.

    I must try one sometime!


  • neil

    That Knee – in the next decent sized town/city, try a pharmacy for the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory "Voltaren Emulgel". It is a topical gel, and it works wonders. Made by Novartis, and available globally.

  • Jill


    My husband and I have been following your journey since before you left. We are pulling for you…can't imagine all the freezing weather and the dogs. I am a stay-at-home mom to 4 year old twins, so it is great to live vicariously through your blog. Thanks for keeping us updated! We're wishing you all the best.


  • Rob Thomson Post author


    Carl, yeah, hadn't had a shower in weeks, and when I did, I shrunk. Musta had the temp up too high…

    Aunty Jenny, all that talk of food does make me hungry. I can't say I've ever had any of Mark's Italian bread. As for berries, haven't seen much here in Turkey. Kinda cold at the mo for that sort of carry on.

    Eoin, still a wee bit more than a few thousand kms, but I'm feeling the pull of Europe for sure!

    Neil, great to hear from you. I like the photos on your website. Keep it up. Cheers for the knee gel info. I've got some Japanese stuff at the moment that seems to be helping.

    Murdo, do you know of any ferries going from the Netherlands or Belgium to Scotland? Would that work?