A Day Made Half Interesting (with a little bike maintenance): Idremet to Bergama. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

February 16, 2014

A Day Made Half Interesting (with a little bike maintenance): Idremet to Bergama.

The full moon in a cloudless sky makes it bright enough in the tent to almost read a book without a torch, so I lay awake for hours unable to sleep. I drop off eventually, then awaken at dawn listening to the call to prayer. The morning is cold and it takes me quite a while with numb digits taking down the tent, which is soaked with condensation, then packing everything on the bike.

I'm stopped at a petrol station café after some thirty kilometres cycled on the highway's smooth shoulder, having passed through the town of Idremet early on, and now having a great buffet breakfast. There are four different cheeses, green and black olives, two marmalades and conserve, eggs and more bread than I can eat and of course tea. A girl is going around with a kettle, as most tables are taken, and replenishing tea-glasses of whoever waves her over. It will probably be enough food to do me the day. It come to a reasonable thirteen Liras (4.5 euros) and I fully charged up the computer, plus uploaded photos to the journal. All I need is to buy coke as its warming up.

Well today is perfectly spring-like. There's not a cloud in the sky. Its still and pleasantly warm. And even if I mention it again, the riding is easy on this smooth ample shoulder. The country flat with olive groves to the side and hills off to the left.

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Later (early afternoon): I've stopped at a petrol station as a write sat at a picnic table on the grass to the side, having bought a cold bottle of coke as its turned out sticky. The tent is hung out drying. It'll most likely be another cold night with this clear sky, resulting in a lot of condensation in the tent. I'm taking the chance also to wipe the bike down with the rag; removing all the crap sprayed on in the day before yesterday's rain and giving the chain a good wipe off. Then set about seeing what can be done to remedy my front-brake from binding up.

I unscrew the brake fixing bolt and reset the spring stop, the little nib turned at a right angle at the end, placing it in the top hole of three holes in a row on the fork's brake-fitting braze-on, hoping by doing so, there'll be enough tension for the pads to return out off the rim when releasing the brake-lever after braking. Then retighten the fixing bolt, but the brake is still tight and as bound up as before. I then slacken the fixing bolt and the pads do return, not much, but enough that they're not dragging the rim. Its not a perfect solution but will have to do for now. I'll have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't vibrate and unscrew itself out completely with disastrous results.

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Later still (midway between noon and sunset): Well the bit of fixing back there seems to have done the trick, not that I need the brakes much today as the road is flat. I see three cyclists up ahead of me. While cruising along I'm closing the gap between them and me. I reach their back wheels, pull out and pass. I see underneath their cycle-helmets and sunglasses as I turn to greet them, they are three men in their sixties. They draft in behind me, then one rides up alongside. He speaks a little English and asks the usual questions; where I've cycled from and where to and where I'll sleep. He recommends I visit the town of Bergama, forty kilometres ahead and a few kilometres to the left off the highway. Says its a historic town and I could find a hotel there. I think that would be a good idea as I could do with a shower and I haven't seen anything today except this highway. A diversion may relieve the monotony.

I left them turning off to the village where they live. The countryside onwards is increasingly vegetable cultivation with huge areas under plastic and its less likely that there'll be scope to camp, so I set my sights on Bergama.

As I approach town there's a pall of black smoke beyond the rooftops; seems like a tyre depot ablaze. And the tall tenement blocks I see on the outskirts continue all the way into the centre which is the same. I can't see anything historic about this town. The centre is jammed with Sunday afternoon traffic chaos. There are though plenty of eateries and I find a place to eat kebab. Now I've to ride back among the blaring horns between slow moving cars and parked cars to where I saw a number of hotels on the way in. Riding on that horrible cobble stone street which feels like something hard continually batting the front-wheel.

Today's ride: 121 km (75 miles)
Total: 10,812 km (6,714 miles)

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