The decision from the evening before was to make a slow start after having been idle for six days. We took our time in the morning and had a long nice breakfast with the family, packed our bags and brought them and the bikes down from the 5th floor in the small elevator.
It was a lovely day with around 21 degrees and sunshine when we started the second segment of this trip at around 2 PM. I was wearing shorts from start and I was very happy for the weather.
Due to our experience when cycling into Istanbul we had been a bit worried about our exit from the city. It soon got evident that navigating out of Istanbul’s asian side was ten times easier than entering the European side. We also think that the timing in the early afternoon helped.
Our GPS’ map covers Europe and Istanbul but not so much more in Turkey so we took this last chance of getting electronic guiding. The cycling went very smooth, the hills were not so steep and the traffic limited by Istanbul standards.
After some 10 kilometers Wej complained that the sound from her bottom bracket was back. I listened to it and sure there was a sound, but not the same scratching sound. This time it was a clear clicking sound and it was too loud for us to ignore. As you understand we were not happy running into this problem with newly serviced bikes, but we were at least happy to be in Istanbul where we can solve the issue.
We turned into a gas station to inspect what was wrong. When grabbing the cranks firmly and rocking them a bit I could feel there was a play – the cranks felt loose and I could even see them moving. I tightened the bolt and the play decreased but didn’t disappear. I now got quite sure that the bottom bracket after all was was worn out and needed to be replaced. The problem was only how to arrange the replacement.
It was 4 PM and we were at one of the last suburbs of Istanbul and we needed to deicde to whether to turn back or move forward. Bülent – the owner of the shop that serviced our bikes had said we could contact him if we had any problems and he would direct us to other good shops he knew throughout Turkey.
We wanted to e-mail Bülent and our Istanbul friends and I went in to the gas station to ask if they had any wifi that I could use. The cashier told me there was no wifi, but that I could borrow his private ipad to send my e-mails. Wonderful people….
Calling with our Swedish phone in Turkey is really expensive so we really needed to again check our e-mails and we couldn’t use the guys private ipad the entire afternoon. We needed to be somewhere where there was a wifi and we decided to cycle back to a gas station we had stopped at some 2 km earlier and that we knew had wifi. Fortunately we made a misstake and took the wrong way there and ended up at another gas station. It didn’t really matter – we only needed some wifi so Wej went in to ask if they had.
I was standing outside watching the bikes and saw Wej talking to the people behind the counter, then to another lady who seemed to be a customer. They had a long conversation and when Wej came out she said that the woman lives nearby and knows there is a bike shop in her area that she would like to show us the way to.
We cycled behind her car for about a kilometer and when we came to the shop we met an empty window of a bikeshop that had moved elsewhere.
We still had not checked our mails to see if we had got any answers and we needed to get to the internet somewhere. The lady then said we could follow her home and use the internet in her apartment. We rode behind her for another 500 meter and entered a gate to an area of nice looking apartment buildings. She lived on the first floor and had her private lawn outside her living room where we could park our bikes.
The lady introduced herself as Deniz, ran into her house for some orange juice and and asked us to sit down in her little garden. Deniz are a few years younger than ourselves and she lives in this apartment with her young daughter, who this day was away with her father.
Once again we got a proof of the hospitality of the Turkish people as Deniz offered us to stay overnight in her house which we gratefully accepted. We had a nice evening together with lots of interesting discussions and laughs. Wej and Denice cooked the dinner while I tried to read on the internet to understand more about our technical problems and contact my turkish and Swedish cycling friends to try to settle the problem.
Anders at Veloform – our local bike shop in Göteborg – kindly sent e-mails late at night trying to make a diagnosis according to my description. Our Istanbul cyclist friends Gökhan and Burak helped in giving us addresses to other shops in Istanbul and finally I managed to get in contact with Bülent from the shop where we serviced the bikes on his private home telephone.
Bülent had two suggestions. Either he sends a service man by car to see us and do the repair on spot or we bike to his other shop on the asian side. Both have their advantages and in the time of writing this (early morning) we have not yet decided which option to go for so stay tuned in and you will know.