Joy! I’ve just reached Istanbul having cycled all the way across Europe from London. I was worried that it wouldn’t feel special to reach here as Istanbul is somewhere I’ve visited before, but, as it turned out, during the agonising three days cycling towards it my memories of the place are what spurred me on to reach it a day early. This may seem like a depressing post but I will now detail probably the three most physically gruelling days of my life.
I thought I’d do a short post now otherwise the one I write once I reach Istanbul will end up being way too long. I’ve just spent a day off in Edirne, Turkey. I’d planned to go straight from Plovdiv to Istanbul but the other day I had a quick look into the towns I’d been cycling through and it turns out Edirne is a huge place with mass of interesting stuff to checkout, plus some great dishes to try. But first lets go back to Plovdiv…
Another post deviating from the normal Bike trip format but the sight I visited today warranted a write up of it’s own.
The Buzludzha monument sits atop of a mountain pretty much smack in the middle of Bulgaria. It was originally constructed to commemorate the location of the secret meetings of the Bulgarian communist party from before they came to power. In recent years it has become a popular off the beaten track tourist site although it is a little tricky to get to.
I’m taking a couple of days off in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, before I set off on the final 450km leg into Istanbul. I’m in a very good mood having just smashed through the 2,000 mile barrier on my way into the city! The last five days from Bela Palanka have been tough as I’ve been trying to manage the pain in my knee. It no longer hurts but it constantly feels like if I push my luck and ride too hard then it will go and lock up again.
I am finally bearing down on the Bulgarian border after all the stress of getting my new wheel parts released by Serbian customs. It took a full 8 days from the parcel arriving in the mail centre in Belgrade to being in my hands, crazy when it only took 22 hours for it to get to Belgrade from Northern Ireland!
Edit (2014/09/02): I’ve been blown away by the popularity of this post having just spotted it’s received over a thousand reads. I’ve now done over 10,000 miles on the Roux Etape 250 (9,600 on this tour plus some commuting in London) so thought this review deserved an update. I’ll leave the original review first, written after about 2,500 miles, and start the rest of the review further down.
This will be a departure from my normal blog posts about my Bike tour across Eurasia. When I bought my bike, the Roux Etape 250, there was only one single online review and this revolved around someone riding it around a city for just a couple of days. Having checked recently there are still are no more reviews and very little discussion of the bike on forums and the like. It seems to make sense to write up a decent review of it considering I may be the first person to take this model of bike on a big tour.