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  1. #1
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    Istanbul - any mountain biking in a city this big ?

    I just moved to Istanbul a couple of weeks ago from Colorado for work, and I'm already hankering to do some mountain biking. I would really like somebody to convince me that it is a good idea to have my bike shipped over here or buy a new one. I've got to spend that paycheck somehow. Anyway, I spent the last 5 years of my life in Colorado and got pretty used to riding some great all mountain trails on a daily basis. Is there anything steep and fast around Istanbul ? I live in Ulus, and it would be really nice to find some place that wouldn't require a taxi, or some something like that. That being said, is there any good riding in North Western Turkey ? I've driven through Bursa, and I've got to imagine that there's some good stuff in that area. I'd be happy if I even made it to weekend warrior status. Any help would be greatly appreciated, since I don't speak much Turkish, and it's pretty hard to find anything on the internet searching in english.

  2. #2
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    Hey Don, I've lived in Istanbul for two years and do a good amount of riding. I'm originally from Florida, so not as accustomed to the elevation as you might be. I ride primarily on the roads around here, but am hoping to find some nicer places soon. I've heard a lot about Belgrad forest to the north. There are a couple good shops around that are a good source for information. The biking community here is pretty small so everyone seems to know everyone. If you're ever up for a ride, let me know. I'm down in Zeytinburnu close to Ataturk airport.

  3. #3
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    What coincidence, I'll be in Istanbul early August while on vacation. Would you know if any of these shops you mentioned rent out bikes? It would be nice to ride around a forest while I'm there for a few days. I'm not going to be able to bring my bike, so a rental/loaner? is my only option.

  4. #4
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    Hi tfranz, ther are a number of stores here that offer rentals for both short and longer term. I don't know where you'll be staying, but there is a store in Besitaks called Bike&Outdoor that has everything you'll need and does rentals. I've not rented from there so can't comment on the condition, but judging by the rest of the store I'd guess they are decent.

    I also see ads all the time for istanbulbicycle.com. Not a ton of info on their page, but enough and you can contact them for more info. All their ads are in English, so you shouldnt have a problem.

    If you want to ride together shoot me a message, I'm always up for it.

  5. #5
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    Sure thing, Not sure where I'll be staying exactly yet. I plan on couchsurfing while there. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the program, but it's only the best way to travel.

  6. #6
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    Absolutely familiar with it - a great way to travel . We have hosted quite a few people over the years in Istanbul and years ago when we lived in Africa. Unfortunately this year we have another person already living with us and a lot of random visitors coming in summer/early Fall. Otherwise, we'd be happy to clear the couch! If you don't find a couch, there are plenty of hostels in the Beyoglu area which is central to a lot of places in the city.

  7. #7
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    That's awesome, well I'll let get back with you whenever I get over there.

  8. #8
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    Whoa, almost forgot I posted this.Anywho.... Jamine, I would definitely like to join you for a ride. Unfortunately my bike is at a crating company in Houston right now until further notice. It should be in here in a couple of weeks though. I live up in the Ulus region, so meeting up might be a bit difficult, but we can worry about that when the time comes. Also, you ride in the streets ? Are you crazy or something ?? Just kidding, but the thought of riding where turkish drivers are is pretty scary.

    Anyway, I have found out a little bit about biking in Istanbul on my own, and I would like to share what I have found out. Apparently there is a bunch of good riding up in Belgrade forest. If anyone doesn't know what this is, it's basically a huge state park /national forest that borders Istanbul on the North and West. I found a group of ex pats who ride up there every Saturday. I haven't joined them yet (I've been waiting for my bike for about a month now), but I've talked to them a little bit about the forest. If anybody wants their information send me a message and I can pass on their contact info. They tell me there is every kind of riding you could possibly imagine in the forest. I've been up there and looked around a little bit, and I can say that there is a ton of potential. From what I saw there looked like there was some nice single track with lots of ups and downs. I didn't see anything too technical though.

    tfrantz, there are a couple of places to rent bicycles in Istanbul. There is actually a place really close to the entrance of Belgrade Forest. The bikes aren't really impressive, but you can take a bus to the store, hop on a bike and ride up to the forest. Unless you rent a car that's probably going to be the only way you can get a bike up there. Istanbul's public transportation isn't very good, and I'm fairly certain you couldn't get a bike on the bus. But if you're just looking to ride around town there are a few places where you can rent decent bikes. Let me know if you're interested and I can try and track down some shops.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by donthemagicjuan View Post
    Whoa, almost forgot I posted this.Anywho.... Jamine, I would definitely like to join you for a ride. Unfortunately my bike is at a crating company in Houston right now until further notice. It should be in here in a couple of weeks though. I live up in the Ulus region, so meeting up might be a bit difficult, but we can worry about that when the time comes. Also, you ride in the streets ? Are you crazy or something ?? Just kidding, but the thought of riding where turkish drivers are is pretty scary.
    Hey Don, would love to ride when the bike arrives. Hope everything arrives shortly and all intact. I do ride on the streets every day. It has taken some getting used to, though. In the US, on a two lane road, generally a car will give you some leeway if it's not congested. Here, they won't hit you, but you'll get about 12". So this means I hit a lot of potholes instead of going around. Ulus isn't too bad to get to, I can just hop a tram partway. I keep meaning to go up and ride in Belgrade (I'm not too technical a rider, but would love the chance to ride somewhere besides crowded streets)

    If you need any help, please let me know. I've actually found the public transport to be very good once you learn it. We're going on two years and haven't bought a car yet...though you live a bit farther out than us.

    Anyhow, good luck with that bike!

  10. #10
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    This post has some age on it and may not have anyone paying attention to it anymore, but I will probably win a company trip to Istanbul and hope to get some input to help make a decision. Departure from the US 4-15-13. I am not certain if we will take it or just go out to the western US for sightseeing and mtn biking. I've not been to Istanbul and was dissapointed that the trip was'nt somewhere else. No offense to anyone with roots there, just trying to decide about going, even though expenses are paid, there will be a mega 1099 to pay taxes on and the cost of that would fund a nice custom getaway without a group enviroment. I'd love some feedback, we do love to mtn and road bike, even though the comments here don't make the road sound very inviting. Thanks
    Last edited by Pedalfast; 12-12-2012 at 09:32 AM.

  11. #11
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    Hi!

    I am a Spanish girl working in Istanbul for 3 years. I'd like to know if there is any group to go out on weekend. I love MTB and would like to join a group to enjoy the bike!
    Any help??

  12. #12
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    Hi! I wish to join some friends to ride near Istanbul. Can you help me?

  13. #13
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    Hey all, I live over in Adana so a little ways from Istanbul. We have a large group of us that ride over on this side of Turkey, I am wanting to get a trip together to head up towards the north western part of the country to do some biking here in Spring. Let me know if you would be interested, I know it's been a while since any responses on this thread.

  14. #14
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    Hey Contrakid, I'm based in Antakya and Gaziantep for a little while, so Adana sounds a little closer (although still a bit of a trek) than Istanbul for a ride. Do you know of anything further south? Lots of good looking hills around!

  15. #15
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    Hop on to the Beer Belly Bicycle Club Turkey page and message Terry letting him know where abouts you are, we post most of our rides up there.

  16. #16
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    Awesome, ta for your help.

  17. #17
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    I just moved to Gaziantep...

    Hello Helensal, I've just moved to Gaziantep and brought my MTB... Have you had any luck finding any trails? I'm eager to get out and scout the area.

  18. #18
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    No sadly, no joy yet. Apparently there's an mtb group at the university, but I haven't made contact - my turkish is holding me back I'm up for a scouting mission though!

  19. #19
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    If your "Turkish" is holding you back, then I'm at an even greater disadvantage... I have no Turkish! Lessons 1-4 of Pimsleur have not prepared me for this... I should have the bike out of the box and ready to go for this next weekend, what do you say we give that scouting mission a go? Just keep in mind that any effort with the term "Mission" or "Operation" comes with great penalties for failure. ;-)

  20. #20
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    OK, you are way ahead with Pimsleur then. Lucky I have brownie points from a brief, mildly successful scouting mission, all from the road though - there's a wee-patch of pine forest on some hills on west-road a bit out of (6 or 7 clicks) town, although not sure if bikes are allowed - I reckon there would be walking (aka single!) tracks there. Ooh, try Pimsleur on this:
    ?ehitkamil Belediyesi - R?dvan Fad?lo?lu

    There's also heaps of dirt roads to villages and some nicer hills further out west (25 kms or so). There's quite a few dams in the region - they might have something. Ooh, like THIS (!!) quite close by:
    GAZ?ANTEP DIRECTORATE OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

    It's near Kasaba Köyü on a map. Who knows if bikes can get in there though. As long as you aren't Canadian expecting MOUNTAIN mountain biking, then I reckon there will be stuff around.

    OK, you've inspired me - I'll make the call to the uni bike club mob this week. Oh, and if you are a FB-er, you can try Beer Belly Bike Club.

    Mission accepted I'm at aichhylives@gmail.com and we'll organise something for the weekend.

  21. #21
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    "6 or 7 Clicks"?!? Do you have the "China Beach" box set??? I actually drove by the first location today and made a note to "Recon" it. ;-) It looks like a great area.

    I'm not Canadian but I have seen every episode of The Great White North... I'm more geared towards Cross-Country...

    I'm not on FB... :-( but you can reach me here; rgpritch@yahoo.com.

    Jet-Lag is killing me!... I should be good by the weekend though... I hope. :-)

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