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Pioneers – Leg 9 – Çandır to Giresun June 2022

*** COVID-19 update – The Leg 9 trip originally scheduled for June 2020 has been postponed again to 22nd to 26th June 2022 – FINAL DATES TBC***

 

Who are the Pioneers?

All the riders who have participated in any of the very first eight legs of our UK to Sydney adventure are in an exclusive club called the ‘Ride25 Pioneers’.  Each year the Pioneers will be invited to complete the next leg for the very first time and raise money for 1moreChild.  Pioneers help to define the journey and adventure to Sydney.

2021 is Leg 9 (of 25 legs) from the UK to Sydney.  To get a flavour of the previous legs visit the Pioneer Photos and Pioneer Videos.

Snapshot of Leg 9

  • Expansive, quiet, rural countryside across the first 3 days and the majority of days 4 and 5
  • Interesting and varied destinations for the evenings
  • Altitude, mountains and a descent to the Black Sea
  • Coastline & beaches for day 5
  • Generally good quality hotels with one exception
  • Final party around the pool at the hotel overlooking the sea in Giresun

See the whole route for Leg 9 below or you can click here for a full page map (Best viewed on a desktop).

 

Start:

Ankara – 7.00 Wednesday 22nd June 2022.  Buses to Çandır.

Finish:

Giresun – 18.00 Sunday 26th June 2022.

Days Cycling:

5

Distance:

458 miles

Total climbing:

28,040 ft climbing

Road Surface

Significantly better than Leg 8

Max capacity:

100 people

Itinerary


Dates of the trip – TO BE CONFIRMED

We will be cycling for 5 days from Wednesday 22nd June to Sunday 26th June 2022 inclusive.  You will need to arrive in Ankara on Tuesday 21st June and leave Giresun on or after 27th June 2022.

We will aim to have a training ride in May 2022 in the Henley-on-Thames  area – dates TBC.


Pre- Start – Ankara 7.30pm  21st June 2022

Drinks and dinner on the terrace at the pre-start hotel (The Ankara Hotel) on the night before the ride. It will be a great opportunity to register, pick up your shirts and see everyone again before the cycling begins the next morning.  Please note the hotel & Dinner is included on the night before we leave Ankara.

 


Day 1 – Candir to Boğazkale – 86 miles, 4,789 ft total ascent

After a 60 minute bus ride from the hotel in Ankara we build our bikes in the same lay-by as the Leg 8 finish. The cycling is fantastic, quiet roads with amazing far reaching rural scenery all day.  Rolling hills rather than any major climbs. The road surface is pretty good with the exception of the odd village plus a 2.5 miles of unpaved road after lunch. Lunch in a hill top restaurant overlooking the town of Sungurlu. Home for the night is in a rural village called Boğazkale  – once the capital of the ancient Hittite civilisation. Tours of the ruins available if you get there by 6pm.

Day 1 – Full route including elevation profile, stops, photos & GPX EXPORT

 

Day 2 – Boğazkale to Amasya – 101 miles, 3,724 ft total ascent

We leave the Hittite ruins and are spoilt with a day which is largely a continuation of the great cycling from day 1 – deserted roads, open far reaching countryside and a rural way of life. Road surfaces good for almost all of the day. Lunch is at a picnic spot with great views.  We finish in Amasya a historic city based around the Yesilirmak River.  The river comes to life at night when it is lit up orange across town.

Day 2 – Full route including elevation profile, stops, photos & GPX EXPORT


Day 3 – Amasya to Tokat – 86 miles, 5,883 ft total ascent

Another day of quiet rural roads, we begin with two bigger climbs in the morning followed by a downhill or flat elevations from mile 25 for the remainder of the day as we follow a river. Lunch at a restaurant in Turhal overlooking the river.  PM coffee stop is at a historical landmark called Mahperi Hatun Kervansaray. We finish at a new 5* hotel with pools in the modern Turkish city of Tokat.

Day 3 – Full route including elevation profile, stops, photos & GPX EXPORT.

 

Day 4 – Tokat to Unye – 99 miles, 8,770 ft total ascent

A quiet start to the day after we leave Tokat as we follow country lanes followed by a busier section as we descend into the valley. We then start a long steady climb over the Pontic mountains towards the Black Sea on quiet roads with a good road surface. The area produces 30% of the world’s hazelnut crop.  The climate, vegetation and views are different from the first three days. Lunch at a restaurant at the peak elevation.  The afternoon involves a gradual descent to the coast – from a peak of 4,500 ft – lots of ups and downs until we see the sea.  Home for the night is a modern hotel with a pool overlooking a sandy beach.

Day 4 – Full route including elevation profile, stops, photos & GPX EXPORT.

 

Day 5 –Unye to Giresun- 87 miles, 4,895 ft total ascent

The day begins with a busy stretch along a dual carriageway (with hard shoulder) before we take an old coast road for 30 miles that hugs the coast line – very quiet, great tarmac and sea views. We have lunch in a restaurant overlooking the beach. There are two climbs on quiet country lanes across the day and two short sections of dual carriageway in the afternoon. After cycling through Giresun we finish at a hotel overlooking the sea.  The evening party is dinner around the pool.

Day 5 – Full route including elevation profile, stops, photos & GPX EXPORT.

 

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Pre-tour accommodation: where do I stay in Ankara?

The package does include accommodation & dinner in Ankara at The Ankara Hotel on Tuesday 21st June 2022.

How does the trip compare to previous legs?

As promised in Ankara (!!!) – Leg 9 is easier than Leg 8 as follows:

  • No surprise climbs
  • Climbing – average daily climbing of 5,608 ft per day versus 8,734 ft per day on Leg 8
  • Better road surfaces overall and good road surfaces on the hardest day
  • Distance – 8 miles a day less on average
  • Hardest day 8,808ft of climbing versus 11,385ft on the hardest day of Leg 8
  • Lower peak elevation

The elevation data has been recalculated for Legs 8 and 9 using RidewithGPS – more accurate than Strava data and no surprise hills – guaranteed!

Click for data on previous legs

In total by the end of Leg 9 the journey so far is over 3,550 miles.

 

What is the route like?

As always the challenge has been to find interesting, quiet cycling on good tarmac with great scenery and good quality hotels. There is always an element of compromise, however the route is almost all very enjoyable with only small compromises required across the trip.

Traffic – 90% of the route is on very quiet roads with a short section of busier road on day 4 and longer sections on day 5.

Scenery – Days 1, 2, 3, most of day 4 and the majority of day 5 have outstanding rural scenery.

Dual Carriageway – there are various short sections of dual carriageway totalling 20 miles across days 1 to 4 – all are very quiet with hard shoulders.  Day 5 has a total of 25 miles of busier dual carriageway across the day.  The road has a hard shoulder and is mostly “suburban” with frequent pedestrian crossings along the route – very different to a UK main road.

Road Surfaces – these are significantly better than on leg 8 with 99% being reasonable quality paved road.  There is a 2.5 mile section of poor quality unpaved road on Day 1 and a 2 mile section on day 2 of damaged road surface. These sections are unavoidable as the only alternative roads are busy, do not have hard shoulders and are not safe.

To avoid bike issues and minimise punctures everyone will be required to use tough tyres for the whole trip.

Wildlife – as in previous legs there are frequent animals blocking the road – care is required going downhill and around corners. There are minimal sheep guard dogs like in Greece but there are the usual stray dogs / pets together with lots of cows, geese, turkeys and bears(!) in the middle of the road.

 

Health & Safety and General wellbeing

For Leg 9 we are introducing a few changes that aims to reduce the risk of accidents:

  • Cycling on the roads in Turkey in the dark even with lights is not safe.  The cycling is easier than Leg 8 and we expect everyone to finish by 6pm but we will pick up any cyclists at the afternoon coffee stop if there is a risk they would still be cycling in the dark.
  • Using RidewithGPS should further reduce any navigation issues and will enable easier diversions if required.
  • As in Leg 8 we will demand insurance details before you cycle – this is important so that we can contact your insurer in the event that you are unconscious and your next of kin is uncontactable or doesn’t know your insurance details.
  • We will also have Paramedic Tim and a Turkish Tour Guide on the crew again.

In addition we will encourage everyone to use a product like this to toughen up tummies for the journey. Endurance sport does put short term pressure on your body – particularly if you push it hard.  Coupled with eating food in local restaurants and hot weather there is clearly a higher risk than normal of attracting food poisoning.

There is no point in pushing too hard – enjoy the scenery you’ll never cycle these roads again. We will have 6 x 9 seater vehicles available too and you can be picked up without getting any abuse. We will also discourage drinking any water from taps or village fountains – better safe than sorry.

How will I navigate?

We have made some changes to the tech we are using this year to improve your navigation experience.

We request that everyone does both of the following:

1) RidewithGPS Phone App

This is far superior to Strava for navigation for the following reasons:

  1. Elevation data is accurate
  2. All routes can be downloaded at home and are available without roaming / data turned on
  3. All lunch / coffee stops are plotted including photos
  4. Detailed maps available if you get lost even with no signal
  5. High quality navigation setting including turn by turn prompts that enables you to navigate with ease without a Garmin (portable phone charger required)
  6. Zoomable elevation data visible

The routes are all provided on RidewithGPS.  You need to:

  • Download the App
  • Create a RidewithGPS account
  • Save the routes into you account –  Day 1.  Day 2.  Day 3.  Day 4.  Day 5
  • Download the routes on your phone in the App so they are available online / out of signal

You can still use Strava to track your rides but have RidewithGPS on your phone as a backup for navigation. If you are using RidewithGPS to navigate you will need a portable battery supply to get you through the day.

2) Garmin / GPS 

As we are now out of Europe you may not have access to maps on your Garmin.  There is a great description here of how to download maps onto your Garmin for free.  We have already downloaded the map you require for Leg 9 – you can download it here.  You then just need to save them to your Garmin as detailed in the link above.

As always we do not follow the quickest routes each day – the routes are planned to minimise busy roads and maximise the scenery and significant places. We also try to avoid poor road surfaces.

If using Garmin to prevent navigation problems please:

  • Follow a the route as a “Course”
  • Ensure that “Autocorrect” is turned off in your settings for each course
  • Do not “navigate to start” when prompted at the start of a ride

As usual Ride25 will provide a cloth map that will get you out of trouble if you are lost with no working devices but to navigate effectively you’ll need to use a Garmin or equivalent.

 

What do I wear?

Normal cycling attire is fine for both sexes across the whole route.  We recommend women cover their legs & shoulders in the evenings and at coffee stops / meals.

Do I need to train?

YES.  458 miles cycling is a significant challenge for anyone particularly during a Turkish summer but as in previous years it is achievable. We highly recommend you follow a training schedule. 

As in previous years you can always call the support team if you need picked up at any point. We will have a total of 6 x 9 seater vans so that it is easier to get picked up if required.

In addition we will operate a sweeper system that means the crew will pick you up if you are too far behind the rest of the riders / are not going to make it to the finish before the sun sets.

The trip is in no way a race – everyone can take their time.  Breakfast will be at 06.30 each day so that you can leave early. Breakfast will be at 06.00 on the hardest day (Day 4) so that you can leave even earlier.

Training Ride

We will organise a training ride west of London in the Henley area in May 2022. We will have a dinner the night before if you fancy joining in.

Flights

Change your latest flights to the new dates or wait to see how the COVID-19 lockdown release unfolds.

You will need to book a flight to Ankara with your bike in a bike box. There are multiple flights from the UK every day – generally with a connecting flight required in Istanbul. Use Ride25 Pioneer Sponsor Skyscanner to find the best deals.

You will also need to book a flight back from Giresun. The closest international airport to Giresun is Ordu-Giresun (OGU) which is circa 30 minutes transfer from the Hotel in Giresun. Turkish & Pegasus Airlines fly from OGU. Ideally find a flight which avoids changing airports in Istanbul – they are a long way apart with a bike box!

Alternatively you can fly from the larger airport of Trabzon (TBZ) which is circa 90 minutes transfer from the hotel in Giresun.

The fastest journey times from Trabzon to the UK is 7.5 hours which is a great indication of the distance we’ve cycled so far!

 

What is the cost?

Cost: £790 per person with a single supplement of £250. As in all previous Pioneer trips this is a not for profit – ie the cost is a sum of the direct costs of running the trip only.

This includes:

  • 6 x nights accommodation in Ankara, Boğazkale, Amasya, Tokat, Unye & Giresun
  • 6 x breakfast
  • 5 x lunch
  • 6 x dinner including celebration party in Giresun
  • 6 x manned support vehicles including 3 x bike mechanics, paramedic & turkish speaker
  • Transportation of bags each day to the finish
  • Transportation of bike boxes from Ankara to Giresun
  • Water, fruit and emergency supplies in the vehicles
  • 5 x personalised cycling shirts – ensure you enter the correct shirt size when you register
  • 5 x GPS files of the routes
  • 5 x “get out of trouble” cloth maps

Deposit due on booking, balancing payment due in Feb 2020.

What’s not included?

  • Flights to Ankara or home from Giresun
  • ALL drinks & incidentals – please pay for all your drinks at each stop / meal / hotel.
  • Medical Insurance – details of your policy required before travel.

Optional extras:

  • Single room.

Which hotels are we staying in?

The nature of the Ride25 adventure means that the routes and accommodation is dictated to by what the inventory of hotels looks like along our journey.  We are again travelling through a very unpopulated part of the world so large hotels are scarce.

The hotels on the first night are extremely basic and there are not enough beds in the village for the group.  Circa 25 people will be in a hotel 30 mins drive away from the finish / dinner. The support crew will transport you to the hotel after dinner.

All shirt sponsors will be in the village together with those that sign up early – first come first served!

All the hotels serve alcohol.

Pre-Start Hotel – Ankara –  4* modern hotel close to the centre – same as at the finish of Leg 8 –The Ankara Hotel.

Night 1 – Boğazkale – Basic 1* hotels in the village.  Hotel Asikoglu & Hotel Baykal. Overflow hotel 25 mins away.

Night 2 –  Amasya – 3 / 4* hotels in historic buildings in beautiful riverside town. Sarikonak Hotel,  Lalehan Hotel &  Emin Efendi.

Night 3 – Tokat – Brand new 5* hotel with pools, spa etc. Dedeman Tokat Hotel.

Night 4 – Unye –  Brand new 4* hotel with pool, spa etc on the beach. Ramada Resort by Wyndham

Night 5 – Giresun – 3* hotel with outdoor pool on the sea front.  New Jasmin Hotel

 

What are we raising money for?

As in previous years all participants shall pay all their own costs and all money raised shall go straight to 1moreChild.

What is 1moreChild?

1moreChild was set-up by Harry & Hen Ferdinando in 2008 to help enable street children in Jinja, Uganda to go to school and prosper. Ride25 raises money for 1moreChild for the following key reasons:

A small amount of money goes along way – as little as £15 per month can transform a child’s life. 100% of all money donated to 1moreChild goes to tackle the problem.  There are no western overheads, admin costs or wastage. In addition Harry & Hen pay all their own costs. The money raised from the cycle will make an enormous difference to 1moreChild and enable them to take many more children out of the slum.

1moreChild provide school fees, 3 meals a day, school uniforms, school supplies, shoes, clothes, medical care, tutoring, mentoring, a football club and various other activities.

For more information about 1moreChild:

Watch a short film made by Pioneers visiting 1moreChild in Uganda in 2017.

Visit 1moreChild.org.

Watch the 1moreChild story.

Harry will again be one of the support crew on Leg 9.

What impact has the money raised by the Pioneers had?

The Pioneers cycle trip is the most significant fundraising initiative for the charity with circa 70% of their overall funding coming from this trip.  We have raised over £935,000 for the charity across legs 1 to 8.

As a result of our trips 1moreChild has taken nearly 250 children off the streets and given them everything they need to go to school.

 

How to book a place?

Initial Payment: £150 payable to confirm place in a twin room OR £400 in a single room. This will be donated to 1moreChild in the event that you pull out. Alternatively make the full payment of £790 (twin) or £1,040 (single) now to avoid further admin.

Book Cycling Holiday Now

What about Ride25 Pioneer Virgins?

You can invite your friends but we will ask them to make a commitment to fundraising for 1moreChild.

What are the opportunities for sponsorship? 

We have put together a number of packages but are also open to offers from anyone for anything.

Cyclists pay for the costs of the shirts, banners etc so all the money given in sponsorship goes directly to 1moreChild. The more you sponsor the largest exposure your logo will get.

Harry Ferdinando, the founder of 1moreChild is on the leg again this year so you will have plenty of opportunity to hear more about what great things the money you are raising does.

A number of places on the ride have been saved for Sponsors even if they are not Pioneers.

What about individual sponsorship?

Please do create your own personal sponsorship page (we recommend Virgin Giving as they charge less than other sites) or use the group page to raise money by sending it to all your contacts.

What else do I need to do / bring?

  • Visas ARE required for most visitors INCLUDING British citizens. See latest advice here from the Foreign Office.  As at 15/9/20 visas can be bought at the border but this has historically changed frequently with no notice so we recommend that you buy a visa online up to 3 months before travel.  You need 6 months still valid on your passport when you travel.  The cost is currently US$20. Please investigate what visa you require for you nationality.
  • Hard wearing tyres – the road surfaces are similar to previous legs in the most part BUT There  is circa 4 miles of poor to very poor surface across the trip.  YOU WILL NEED PUNCTURE PROOF TYRES TO GET THROUGH THIS.
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses / clear lenses for glasses
  • Large saddle bag with –  2 x spare inner tubes, puncture repair kit and tyre leavers
  • Cycle pump or gas canisters
  • 2 x large water bottles for hydration drinks and water – very important on this leg – there are frequently large distances where it is impossible refill.
  • We recommend you pack some homemade flapjacks or similar. As in leg 8 some of the stops have limited provisions so we recommend you bring provisions with you.
  • Your favourite energy gels or bars
  • Sun cream
  • Top bar bag for phone, wallet and energy stuff
  • Phone mount if you are using RidewithGPS as a navigation tool
  • Portable battery charger for mobile
  • Garmin (or similar GPS navigation device)

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There's a lot of adventure to look forward to from Leg 10 onwards!

A BIT MORE ON
Pioneers – Leg 9 – Çandır to Giresun June 2022

What happens after Leg 9?

In 2012 we plotted the following legs / badges – with only some minor changes to the badges so far we are well on the way to completing all 25:


Plans will change each year as the next leg is plotted in detail and depending on the stability of the countries we need to cross. The current plan for subsequent legs looks like this:

Leg 10 Giresun to Tblisi, Georgia (5/ 6 days) – we will either continue along the coast or cross the mountains.

Leg 11 Tbilisi, Georgia to Baku, Azerbaijan (4-5 days)

The situation in the Middle East is changing fairly rapidly particularly in Iran. After Baku the plan remains to go through Iran before missing Pakistan and cycling across India, however we will only go through Iran if we can confidently travel and cycle freely.  It will be dependent on the advice of the Foreign Office and any rules governing a cycle trip that may make a Pioneers trip impractical. The alternative route may involve Turkmenistan.