I’m in Greece. Four days and 400 kilometers after leaving Istanbul, Turkey, I arrived in Greece. To say I’m excited to start bicycle touring in Greece is an understatement. And first impressions did nothing but fuel the enthusiasm.
It was cold, freezing cold. I had obviously done a lousy job at packing the right clothes for bicycle touring Turkey. Thankfully, I decided to throw in a pair of gloves at the last minute.
I rode on thru the morning. Slowly the buildings peeled away, and the countryside began to creep in. Finally, I was on the coast. With the Sea of Marmara on my left and a patchwork of fields on my right, the cycling was beautiful. It was precisely what I had signed up for.
The two-lane road to Chichen Itza was extremely overgrown. The jungle had completely taken over the shoulder. Every time I heard a car or truck approaching from behind, I had to pull off to the side of the road and let them pass.
The heat was also a major issue. Mid-day, I had to pull to the side and sit under a tree. Again, I was suffering from heat exhaustion.
I was eventually able to continue but decided to stop for the night in the colonial city of Valladolid.
The climb out of the small surf town was brutal. It took well over an hour and was easily the steepest of my life. Towing a trailer and surfboard didn’t help.
Words cannot describe the view at the top of the ridge. Seeing the peeling lines from that altitude is easily a top-five highlight of my bicycle touring career. A full-on, this is why I do this moment.
Cycling Iceland’s Ring Road for me was extremely tough physically and mentally. Every day was an absolute soul-sucking struggle until the end. It took everything I had to finish in 14 days. Here are the things I wish I knew before starting my trip.