Finally on the road again! Another large bike trip has started Mid of May 2022: Berne/Switzerland – Iran. Roughly 6000 kilometres are ahead of me, lots of hills and moutains and guess what: plenty of heat, too. So I’ll be often sweating like a pig. But that’s the price for the the beauty of nature.
In this section you may join me – country by country. So it’s not a typical log book but nevertheless, but you get an idea where I am. Frequently, I am publishing pictures on my Instagram account (mark_bikes_on) and stories in this blog (mostly in German).
This is the route I planed roughly back home. It will alter for sure.
May, 19th 2022, 1 stage
Berne – Spiez & Spiezerbucht, 53 km, 500 metres elevation gain
It is different to start a long bike trip right in front of your house. All you need to do is hope on and off you go. It is my way.
«Hold your horses!» – that’s what I told myself even though I was so thrilled about this journey I’ve been longing for such a long time. But there’s no reason to rush, I’ve got four months ahead of me, and hey, it’s call vacation. So I started pedaling rather slow or as the proper Bernese would say: «Süüferli.» A half an hour later the flow came and that’s what cycling is all about for me.
Nach Belp hole ich einen Jogger ein. Eine Weile fahre ich schweigend neben ihm. Dann frage ich unvermittelt:
< «Bis wohäre geisch?» (Bis wohin rennst du?).
> «Bis uf Toffen!» antwortet er. «Und du?»
< «Bis uf Teheran.»
> Er guckt mich von der Seite komisch an. (Natürlich geniesse ich diesen Moment.)
< «Du hast schon richtig gehört. Teleran. Aber ich habe keine Ahnung, ob mein rechtes Knie hält, ob ich durchhalte – oder ob mich die Hitze irgendeinmal mürbe macht.»
> «Viel Glück!», ruft er. Ich trete in die Pedale und lasse den Jogger hinter mir.
After a lovely ride I arrive in Spiez, buy a train ticket and roll down to the bay of Spiez. After a quick swim in the Lake of Thoun I get a light lunch sitting in the sun. It feels unreal to be in vacation.
An hour later I hop on the train which takes me to Domodossola in Italy. It would have been to rough as well as useless to cycle over the Simplon pass due to the heavy traffic on this rather narrow road.
May, 20th until May, 30th, 2022, 10 stages
Domodossola – Ancona, 705 km, 3320 metres elevation gain
1 day off in Senigallia due to rain and bitzi Füdiweh
The people of this country just embraced me with their charm, attention and serenity. Read the blogpost about it (in German). Cycling was mostly easy but that’s the way I wanted. I need to figure out if my right knee can make it and I surely need to adjust to the heat. Apart from that: Italian gastronomy, ahh, sooo delicious.
June, 2nd – 6th, 5 stages
Split – Čepikuće/Vinine 222 km, 3380 metres elevation gain
2 days off in Split due to work
Split is an attractive city but very popular. I heard more English than Croatian in the streets, shops and restaurants. Firstly, I did some island hoping on Vis and Korčula. Many quick dips cooled down my body for a half an hour each time. Read the story in my blog about «Europe’s most beautiful beach» which kind of got on my nerves.
Bosnia & Herzegovina:
June, 6th – 16th and again 20/21th of June, 6 stages
365 km, 6690 metres elevation gain
Čepikuće (border crossing from Croatia) – Stolac – Mostar – on the scenic trails to Sarajevo – Foča / Again entering from Nikšić (Montenegro) to Trebinje – then towards Herceg Novi in Montenegro.
1 day off in Mostar, 3 days off in Sarajevo
June, 18th until June, 25th (except 20/21th), 6 stages
325 km, 4980 metres elevation gain
Entering from Foča (Bosnia), heading down the canyon to Nikšić. Later on, I was cruising along the Adriatic sea – flat for a change.
1 day off in Bar in order to take the scenic train across the mountains towards Belgrad (read the blogpost in German).
June, 26th until June, 30th, 5 stages
316 km, 3960 metres elevation gain
I sneaked into the country on an Saturday morning from the North. The day after I was «eating kilometres» just for a change because I felt like doing it and the road was flat. This longest stage so far (115 kilometres) ended in Tirana, quite a busy city where there is little room for cyclists. South of Tirana the scenic roads began – stunning. One fine day I stopped at the village of Moglicë where I interacted with its inhabitans and donkeys (read the blogpost in German).
June, 30th until July, 5th, 3 stages
267 km, 3030 metres elevation gain
1 day off in «Rosy Village» at the border of Lake Ohrid. (I won’t release the proper name here since it’s a charming village unspoiled by tourism.)
July, 6th until July,, 17th, 8 stages (2 of them just to keep up the rhythm while waiting for the ferry in Burgas)
453 km, 5020 metres elevation gain
3 days off, half a day in the train von Plovdiv to Burgas.
The picture shows a damn rough stage which was meant to be scenic. Well, you can’t always push the lucky button.
July 17th – 20th
On the ferry from Burgas (Bulgaria) to Batumi (Georgia).
– July 20th: Safely arrived in Georgia. Now I’m slowly moving on towards the mountains in the North (Caucasus). For the first time on this trip my right knee hurts. The pain has been bearable so far but I couldn’t cylcle long distances or steep. So, let’s keep the fingers crossed it dissapears again, soon.
– Update July 28th: the pain disappeared again – thanks God! So I keep on riding.
– Update August 7th: Today, I entered Turkey (border crossing: Wale/Türk Gözü). For a couple of days I’ll be riding in hights between 1500 and 2500 metres above level, because up there the temperature is much lower. I’m heading South-East in order to cycle around Lake Gölü and then re-enter Georgia.
July, 20th – August, 7th, and again August 11/12th, 16 stages
919 km, 9480 metres elevation gain
4 days off
August, 13th – 25th, 8 stages
534 km, 9530 metres elevation gain
3 days off (2 of them waisted battling with Swiss credit card organizations that blocked my cards.)
August, 26th – September 2nd, 7 stages
493 km, 5930 metres elevation gain
1 day off in Tabriz
Update August 31th:
If I had taken the scheduled route, my biketrip Berne – Tehran would have come to an end. But I didn’t.
It’s still too hot in Iran. Thus, I’ve started heading towards west (following the green arrows). In the highlands of Eastern Türkiye the temperature is bearable. The new final destination will be Erzurum, «Yellow Jeff» agreed. (Good boy.) 5000 kilometres are behind me and some 60’000 metres uphill. I’m fine physically but tired emotionally.
August, 7th – 10th and September 3th – 9th, 9 stages
601 km, 6340 metres elevation gain
1 day off in Tatvan
Update September 16th, 2022
I arrived in Berne/Switzerland, tired, but healthy and happy.
Check out the photo gallery «From Berne to Iran by bike – 50 pictures»