Part 9. Dubrovnik to Istanbul - The last bit
This is the last planned segment of my trip across Europe.
I end my cycling tour off with a bang and not a whimper. Over 20km of vertical climbing in about 1,520km of cycling. It almost seems like there are mountains on mountains - but I think it may be one of the most challenging. Challenging because of communications. Challenging because of climbing. Challenging because of weather and food.
Leaving Dubrovnik in Croatia, I head south east into Montenegro (quite near the coast), take a short ferry and turn north east to Podgorica. From Podgorica, I head into Kosovo and cycle through Peja, Prishtina before again crossing the border and this time into Macedonia.
Once in Macedonia, I cycle to Skopje before the long road and climb to Sofia in Bulgaria.
I am hopeful that my family can meet up with me again - but that depends on being able to take children out of school during the term. Should that happen, maybe I will have a break!
When leaving Sofia, I was originally going to travel through to Thessaloniki in Greece, however man cyclists have advised against this because the roads are quite dangerous for cyclists due to the number of heavy trucks and motor vehicles.
Instead, I travel through Simitli, Gradevo, Bansko, Dobrinishte and finally though Lozengradtsi before crossing the border into Greece.
After reaching Komotini I head south east to Alexandroupoli before crossing the border into Turkey. The terrain here is far flatter and I head through Tekirdağ towards Istanbul.
This elevation profile shows the make-up of the 20km plus of climbing
The road surface is mainly asphalt.
I have now outlined all proposed segments from London to Istanbul in the 9 separate blog entries.
There are many things that can change my schedule from sickness or injury, weather or even equipment breakdown. A plan is in place to handle many eventualities, but hopefully it won't be needed.