Can the Lycian Way Be Mountain Biked?
by Louisa Bonnie and Greg Scarich
Louisa, Greg and Özkan Yasar traveled much of the western portion of the Lycian Way in March 2004. All are accomplished mountain bikers. Louisa and Greg are from the US and mountain bike several times a week and have toured on mountain bikes in France, Morocco, and South Africa (Louisa) as well as in the US. Louisa is head of the South Bay Mountain Biking Club in the Los Angeles area (http://www.sbmbc.com
). Özkan has been mountain biking in Turkey for ten years and is a professional mountain guide in Turkey and has hikes all of the Lycian Way frequently.
The three of us rode and pushed our way on the western portion of the Lycian Way from Fetiye to Uçağiz. We did much of it on the Lycian Way, but bypassed the Lycian Way on local roads for some sections. We were with Kate Clow, the developer of the Lycian Way, and a group that was rewaymarking the trail during the last two weeks of March 2004. So we fortunate to have had vehicle support, and perhaps more importantly four Turks. Ms. Clow was responsible for arranging our accommodations and food. We carried no more than ten pounds of gear. With our bikes we covered about 260km and gained over 7000m over the 13 days on the trail. According to our odometers we moved about two hours most days. We spent time visiting historical sites, taking pictures, visiting with residents, etc. In addition we bypassed some sections using the supporting minivan according to the needs of the waymarkers.
The short answer to the question "Can the Lycian Way Be Mountain Biked?" is: no! Many portions are bikeable, but there was only one day that was what one would consider a mountain biking day. In other words there was significant hike-a-bike (carrying or pushing the bike) on the other days. The day that was bikeable was the loop around the Patara Penisula. This is the route in the lower left corner on Map 4 of Kate's book. Other portions have great rideable portions. Most of it would be rideable on serious free-ride or downhill bikes with experienced riders. Touring fully loaded is out of the question. We are glad we did the portions we did, The countryside is beautiful, the views along the ocean fantastic. The people are almost uniformly friendly.
Loaded touring could cover the same general route using parallel dirt roads and some paved roads. Many of the historic sites would be on the route and side hikes could be made to other points of interest. As discussed in Kate Clow's book, food and lodging can be found in pansiyons (pensions) or private homes.
Suggested excursions on mountain bikes.
Brief descriptions follow. If you are interested in more details in please contact one of us for more information. We GPSed most of these and hope to post the information.
1. Patara Penisula. This is the route in the lower left corner on Map 4 of Kate's book
2. Another good excursion would be east out of Kaş on paved roads to start and ending up on rough, but level double track followed by a 200m walk to a nice picnic spot overlooking the Mediterranean. We did this route.
3. If you are interested we could make up an 3–4 day excursion based on our mountain biking experience on the Lycian Way. The major ancient city sites of Sidyma, Pydnai, Letoon, Xanthos and Patara could be included. However it would be a route that may need to be supported as some of it is rough or the toughest part could be bypassed on roads. Sections could be done as day trips. Some of it is tractor track (double track), some on four wheel drive road, paved road, gravel road. Some of it is on the Lycian Way and some of it is parallel to it.
Capadocia also has mountain biking which is not as rugged and strenuous. Several local tour companies list organized rides.
For more information feel free to contact Özkan at email@example.com
, Louisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Greg at greg@KeepTheRubberSideDown.com
. Özkan residing in Kaş in Lycia can arrange tours, lead groups, and provide other local knowledge.