Escaping Istanbul has long been a nightmare for cyclists crossing from Asia to Europe. I’ve heard horror stories from different friends and acquaintances and seen documentaries detailing cyclists efforts to navigate traffic jams and busy roads as they attempt to slip through Istanbul’s urban sprawl. Luckily, I found a better way through (at least I hope so anyways). After speaking with my friends Jared and Katie who cycled across the country in 2007, they told me of a less busy route that they heard about after making the mistake of taking the usual westward E-80 out of Istanbul. Thanks to them, and the information I received from Phil and Kat’s website, we plan on leaving Istanbul taking the D-10 northward.
After leaving the hustle and bustle of Istanbul Proper, we stay north on the D-10 until it turns west and becomes the D-20 near the town of Yassioren. We’ll follow this west through Subasi, Binkilic, Saray, and Vize. We’ll then briefly ride the D-565 north until turning NW onto a road that… well it isn’t exactly marked on the map . We follow this mystery road until it intersects with the E-87 (D-555) and cross over into Bulgaria.
We expect this route to be about 225 kilometers and take us around 2-3 days to complete. As always, we cannot be 100% certain the roads will be ride-able, or if our hearts decide to take us in another direction to see something not on our map. We are by no means enslaved to our map but it is merely a guideline for us to follow along while we make our way through the Balkans.