Sina Solukasaran in Zemi Valley, Cappadocia
Sina Solouksaran and Jon Bawn race along Goreme's The Balkon trail, captured in full flight by photographer Seb Rogers' lens.
Jon Bawn drops an 80mm Specialized Rockhopper off a 1m high cliff near to Uchisar
Jon Bawn and Andrew Greenbank with their Cotic hardtails in Goreme Red Valley, what a day for a Cappadocia freeride, just the best trails and sunshine to boot
Jon Bawn's favourite singletrack in Cappadocia, Goreme- without question. The Balkon trail.
A must do excursion from Goreme is an early morning balloon flight.

CAPPADOCIA SINGLETRACK

Cappadocia is a fascinating and wildly beautiful area of volcanic “tuff” located in central Turkey. It is a singletrack mountain bike paradise, with hundreds of miles of smooth, sandy, flowing, steep and fast trails with awesome traction and a perfect Challenge-to-Accessibility ratio. Cappadocia is addictive and there are in-the-know riders who come back year after year, but for now it remains a closely guarded secret.

Where else can you ride freely through an UNESCO World Heritage listed fairytale landscape dotted with ancient churches and cave dwellings? The famous, dramatic landscapes of strange rock formations and fascinating valleys are rich in vibrant, glorious history. This tour is operated in partnership with Biking in Turkey and where possible is guided by Singletrack Nomads co-founder Jon Bawn. It has a lovely flow through the mountain and valleys, plenty of cultural interest, and some of the best food and boutique hotels you’ll find anywhere. It’s also fantastic value for money.

Cappadocia Singletrack, Turkey

Cappadocia is a fairytale land of moonscapes, hobbit-like cave dwellings and ancient rock-cut churches- and the fast, flowing and super fun singletrack trails here bring out the big kid in all of us! The tour features a number of technical sections that will challenge advanced riders but the smooth, soft, high traction trails also make it suitable for adventurous novices- really something for everyone.

This tour features many steep uphill climbs steep descents, and has a physical demand much greater than the modest distances suggest. It requires good fitness so that you have power to enjoy the amazing views, and to keep the concentration when things get tricky.The tour features six days biking, and takes advantage of boutique “cave hotels” and high end restaurants (lunch and dinners). All food, including high quality trail snacks, is included, and that helps to make this tour incredible value for money.

The expert guides at our partner Biking in Turkey make sure that everything runs smoothly, aiming to give you the best mountain biking experience ever whilst offering trail specific training and ensuring that best safety standard are always kept up.

“Throughout the tour, we stay in amazingly beautiful hotels, with the best breakfasts of your life! Dinner and lunches are also all at wonderful restaurants and completely delicious- with lots of choice and often a la carte- so on this tour we will stay comfortably and eat well”.

Jon Bawn, Head Guide, Biking in Turkey

Trip Facts

Price: €900 (€100 per person surcharge on 3-5 pax groups)
Trip length: 8 Days
Group size: Max 12 persons
Grading:

We can also organise tours on other dates – please ask. The trip is sold excluding airfare, but we can help you with bookings if you wish.

Included in the trip

  • Turkish (English speaking) or British cycling guide
  • All overnight stays in double room
  • All meals and snacks from arrival lunch to departure morning
  • All local transfers including airport transfers
  • Support vehicle, bike trailer, driver

Excluded from the trip

  • Drinks (including bottled water)
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips / gratuities
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour supplement of 100 Euros per person (groups of 3-5 pax only)

Map

ITINERARY

Most likely your flight will connect through Istanbul, and you might like to spend a couple of days there taking in the sites before or after your trip! We meet you at Kayseri Airport and drive 10 minutes to our city centre hotel. This has the advantage of meaning that you can chose to arrive at any time of day- we will not charge extra if you can’t meet the standard arrival time of 16.00. After checking into the hotel there is time for building up bikes, checking equipment etc. The Ibis Hotel is comfortable, modern and convenient, with a large lawn area that’s good for testing and tuning bikes and an excellent buffet breakfast to look forward to. In the evening we go out for a welcome dinner and get more information about the coming days.

  • Overnight Kayseri Ibis Hotel

From Kayseri we drive 85km to the semi-deserted village of Arapli. The ride begins dirt track through a dry, barren valley with impressive cliff outcrops rising up on both sides. Soon we take to the goat tracks picking technical lines through the sandy valley floor. From the plateau at the valley head we have a short spin across flat, open badlands before dropping into a deep canyon of epic proportions The descent is first class singletrack- rocky, tight and challenging in places and fast, open and sandy in others, there are challenges and adrenalin boosting obstacles to wake / warm you up. Soon we see the caves and abandoned stone houses of Soganli old village and eat a good lunch at the authentic Emek Pension (also our lodgings for the evening)

After lunch we enjoy a relaxing loop, exploring rock cut churches, cave houses and incredible rocky scenery. We also have chance to work on some essential trail skills here before retackling the steep singletrack out of the canyon. Continuing on rough tractor tracks and sometimes directly cross country, we get close to the canyon edge for unbelievable views. One tricky downhill section takes us down a narrow high-sided stone gully, with big steps eroded into the rock. This tricky section is one of the best- and you might like a few tries to nail your technique. From Baskoy, we return to Soganli on an easy, fast and very scenic asphalt road and have time for a few beers on the pension’s terrace. Dinner in pension.

  • Today’s biking: 50km / 700m altitude metres / 700 metres descent
  • Overnight Emek Penison, Soganli

The day begins with a 40 minute transfer across the vast open plains of Derinkuyu, to a start point beside the splendid crater lake of Nar- alive with gorgeous hues of yellow and green from the rich sulphurous waters coming up from underground. The ride starts with a stiff climb up to the rim of Turkey’s most beautiful crater lake, with fantastic views over the azure blue water below. The path climbs almost 700m from here (don’t worry, we take our time…), passing two high mountain lakes and crossing areas of pristine mountain grassland known as yayla’s. Here we will meet shepherds who look after huge herds of goats and sheep throughout spring and summer. We begin a long sector of descents towards the village of Sivrihisar, and continue on rough, fast and extreme fun downhills all the way to Monastery Valley below the pretty, formerly Greek town of Güzelyurt, where we enjoy a delicious 3-course lunch of tradtitional food at one of the best local restaurants.

After lunch we roll on down through the town’s dirt tracks to Yuksek Kilise (High Church) and onwards to Ihlara Valley- Turkey’s “Grand Canyon”. The trip down through the valley starts with great technical singletrack, generally easy but sometimes challenging with sections to carry the bikes over rocky obstacles. We continue through small woodlands and gardenterraces, in places right along the river side, soon arriving in the village of Selime- famous for it’s rock scenery that made a still in the original Star Wars movie. We finish with a 15 minute transfer back up the hotel to Guzelyurt, where we stay in a luxury, restored Greek Ottoman “konak” stately home hotel. A long and challenging day- don’t be fooled by the distance!

  • Today’s cycling: 41 km / 940 altitude meters / 1210 metres descent.
  • Overnight Kapadoky Ihlara Konaklari, Guzelyurt

Over the next three days, we will entertain ourselves with the area’s best singletrack biking in the area close to Goreme, but first we have to get there… After breakfast we drive 1 hour north to Kavak, a farming village relatively unknown to tourists. After a warm up on sandy dirt tracks we reach an amazing free-ride descent through a natural moonscape of slick rock. This part is much like a pump track with many different lines to be ridden and natural carves and bowls. After a challenging final descent, we ride along the valley on overgrown singletracks (long sleeves recommended) with numerous technical stream crossings, log bridges and splash-downs on our jungle leg. In the Uzengi Valley we stop to photograph incredible multi-storey rock-cut pigeon lofts and can drink delicious fizzy water from a mineral water spring. From here we climb to Ortahisar village, where we eat a wonderful 4-course meal in one of the region’s best small restaurants.

We ease into the afternoon with a gentle valley climb up through the green, fertile valley to Ibrahimpasa, and continue to climb fairly painlessly up and over the highest point above Goreme The views over Goreme, Uchisar, Ortahisar, Avanos and Urgup and fantastic! We descend rough singletrack to the top of Zemi Valley- where the first part is very steep and a good challenge for even advanced riders. Now again amongst overgrown forested garden terraces, our downhill trail is 100% fun- passing through natural rock tunnels, mini canyons and hairpin drops and steps. From the valley’s mid-point one final steep climb brings us to Gorkundere- part of the 2007 European XC MTB Cup course. We fly down the rutted rocks, emerging with glowing smiles right in the centre of Goreme, where we will stay two nights at Holiday Cave Hotel- one of the better known cave hotels with a gorgeous swimming pool. Göreme is located in the middle of the national park of the same name. The fabulous landscape with remarkable rock formations, underground churches, houses and buildings, is unique on our planet and it is the reason that even that has been placed on UNESCO World Heritage List.

  • Today’s biking: 35km / 600 altitude metres / 900 metres descent
  • Overnight Holiday Cave Hotel, Goreme

This morning you might like to see the dawn in from a Hot Air Balloon flight- the tour is completely optional, but is an unmissable experience and respected as a “must do” in Cappadocia. If you take the balloon flight, you’ll be back by 09.00 and the rest of the morning is free. Even if you do not want to fly yourself, it’s a colorful spectacle to see when the hot air balloons at dawn, filled up and float away like gigantic “crawfish lanterns” (the average is between 50-80 balloons starting every windless morning, year) those who take the chance to experience this is back to breakfast and then ready to go on the trip last day in the saddle. You can relax poolside at the hotel, catch up on R&R or wander through the backstreets of Goreme as you choose. Alternatively you can book extra activities like horseback riding, ATV tours etc.

We meet for a good restaurant lunch in the village, and then set off on a stunningly beautiful climb to Uchisar via the edge of Goreme’s panoramic canyon edge. We arrive in Uchisar- an awesome cave village perched high above Goreme valley and then on some of the best singletracks kick in. We launch into an awesome 5km long singletrack descent through Pigeon Valley on fast, smooth footpaths that snake between vegetable gardens and poplar plantations. Leaving the valley, we climb steeply on slick rocks and then drop into Love Valley. The trail is very steep and technical in places, but less-experienced riders are able to safely walk their bikes through the tougher sections. The scenery is breathtaking, and our trail passes through Cappadocia’s best “fairy chimney” rock towers. We finish our easy day in Goreme, and again go out to dinner at one of Cappadocia’s best restaurants.

  • Today’s biking: 16 km / 470 altitude meters / 470 meters descent
  • Overnight Holiday Cave Hotel, Goreme

We jump on the bikes right outside the hotel and launch straight into a new circuit of the Euro Cup XC course, still in the vicinity of Göreme but in a different world- with incredible riding and landscapes alike. This circuit offers a good warm-up for the more technical singletracks waiting for us in the afternoon. Passing by the 8th Century monastery in Kiliclar Valley, we experience epic views on both sides of a knife-edge rocky ridge as we climb above Meskandir Valley, soon descending on a trail that passes through tunnels, narrow gorges and terraces. We stop again to admire the incredible “Church of Columns” in Rose Valley, and after a good, stiff climb arrive at a delightful off-grid restaurant where we eat lunch in the shadow of fairy chimneys and cave churches.

This afternoon we tackle one of the most spectacular and technical trails: The Balkon. Here we ride across the slopes of Boz Dagi table top mountain, navigating troughs, berms and off-camber with some exposure mixed in to the melting pot. There is of course no shame to walk the steep sections, and as our guide will reinforce, safety always comes first. After seven kilometers downhill trail we arrive in Cavusin where a simple 3km flat dirt road returns us back to Goreme. A tougher day than you would expect of 18 kilometers, but those who still have energy over to take another round are welcome.

  • Today’s biking: 18 km / 650 altitude metres / 650 descent
  • Overnight Holiday Cave Hotel, Goreme

Today we get the chance to ride high up on the table top mountain, and enjoy epic views over the the trails below- in a hot air balloon. People flock from the whole world to get soar above Cappadocia’s landscape in a hot air balloon, but here we can get the same height under pedal power! Today’s stage is not as technical as yesterday but still challenging. From Goreme we head again into Rose Valley and visit the impressive 14th Century “Cross Church” on a technical, slick rock course. Now, passing above Cavusin we traverse undulating singletracks through a seemingly impassable landscape of deeply eroded rock, we arrive at the site of Pasabagi. From here, a steep 20 minute hike-a-bike gets us right to the top of the table top mountain where we follow goat tracks right around the edge of the plateau. We descend into Devrent Valley on a steep, fast, enduro-style descent and then climb through barren, desert-like landscape, passing by “Camel Rock” to easily reach our final base in the youthful and cosmopolitan town of Urgup. We have the option to finish our ride in a traditional Turkish bath with massage (hamam)- the perfect way to relax and let the aches and pains subside.

After a tasty restaurant lunch we have time to relax, explore the small boutiques or indulge in a Turkish ice cream and good coffee. There is also time for shopping, and time to relax before the last evening’s entertainment. Optional wine tasting at Turasan winery is also possible. Our evening meal at Urgup’s best restaurant sets the scene for a fantastic last evening, and there are bars and night clubs here for those with a party spirit. Our hotel is a boutique, stone-built cave suites and the perfect place to end a perfect tour.

  • Today’s biking: 25 km / 650 altitude metres / 600 descent
  • Overnight Courtyard Cave Hotel, Urgup

We transfer back to Kayseri airport. Normal departure time is 10.00, but if your flight arrangements don’t fit in with this there are reliable shuttle bus connections to all flights.

Departures

Date: 2018-04-14
Place: Kayseri
Price: €900**
Guide: Jon Bawn
Places available: Yes
Date: 2018-05-14
Place: Kayseri
Price: €900**
Guide:
Places available: Yes

* We reserve the right for price changes that are outside of our control Other: see travel conditions

**Small group surcharge of 100 Euros per person for groups of 3-5 people

GOOD TO KNOW...

Video

Biking will take place mainly on “single tracks” and dirt roads, some of which can be rough and technical. “Singletrack”, translates to narrow bike paths which means that the support vehicle cannot follow us. The normal surface is a sandy mix of volcanic “tuff” ash deposits. The grip is excellent, which makes the steep, tight climbs and descends easier than they might otherwise be. Participants must have some experience of riding on narrow paths, preferably outside the security of a trail centre or bike park. The trip also requires a good physical condition, so you should be happy to have ridden a few times over two consecutive hours or 60 kilometres on the road. You do not need to be fast, but must be able to handle long hours on the bike.

The support vehicle and trailer will support us whenever possible, and in case of emergency will employ a local 4WD to come directly to our assistance. We use modern vehicles and friendly, experienced drivers who drive sensibly. The support car meets us where possible to allow us to top up on water and snacks during the ride. Every night we stay comfortably in hotels and guest houses with very high standards.

Food we eat in the hotel or nearby restaurants and all meals are included in the package price. Alcohol and soft drinks you pay yourself. Gratuities are not included and you can budget on around 10% of your tour price split amongst guide, driver, restaurants and hotels (where you feel it’s appropriate).

It is possible to rent good quality bikes our partner in Turkey, which we recommend. Currently you can rent 2015 model Trek X-Caliber 9 29er hardtails. We feel that a hardtail with good front suspension is adequate for the rolling, smooth terrain here. Bicycle rent is 150 euros, including helmet and spare parts. Please ask us when you book.

You can bring your own pedals, saddle etc. Flying with your own bike is affordable and recommended- ideally with Turkish Airlines. Remember to bring extra spare parts specific to your bike, including brand-specific parts like rear mech hanger and brake pads. Tubeless tyres or some form of slime based puncture protection are strongly recommended for this tour, especially if you choose to ride in autumn. Wide, high volume tyres work best. Low gears are essential. Rubber soled cycling shoes are recommended for hike-a-bike sections.

Bring warm, waterproof biking clothing just in case. In spring and autumn (the best time to ride in Cappadocia) you can expect daytime temperatures at warmest 25 ° C and at night down to 15 ° C. There may be some rain (and mud) risk in spring and autumn, so come prepared for unseasonal cool weather and rain showers.

Important note: 
There is a surcharge of 100 Euros per person when the group size is 3 to 5 people. This is necessary to keep the price of the tour as low as possible.

Once you have booked, you will receive further information with packing lists and other details.

Please ask us if you have any questions!

Photography Credits: Seb Rogers / www.cranked.cc

Testimonials

We own a mountain biking company in Bali (Bali Rides), which is rider and service focused. We've now found another mountain biking company that provides the same level of high service. Our Guide, John, was highly knowledgeable about Turkey, spoke the language, gauged the group's experience and gave us a cracker tour to match our riding ability. The tour was well paced. The first three days are away from the tourist areas and were my favorite. Amazing scenery, amazing food, amazing riding. The last three days were more technical and closer to the tourist hub. However, once on the bike we hardly met a tourist. The riding was spectacular. We took our own bikes but one of our riders had a major mechanical and hired a bike and he was extremely happy with the bike quality. Can't recommend this tour enough. It's not suitable for beginners. It best suits riders with a good level of fitness so you can enjoy the riding without the thought of an impending heart attack!! We loved it so much we're going to do their other tour in Morocco. Visited May 2016
Nina FitzSimons
Group of six experienced & fit MTB'ers , 3 males & 3 females with many such tours under our belts !! Our very positive feedback to Middle Earth was as follows : • Great mix of trails • Excellent hotels • Really good food. • Structure of tour very good. • Really appreciated the cultural, historical and culinary insights, which greatly enhanced our understanding and enjoyment of the trip. • Good flexibility of routes/options. • Great hotel to finish. • Great back-up, both technical & logistics (Mustafa), & well done with Earle’s wheel !! The whole group agreed that they had a very enjoyable time, in spite of the unseasonal weather…. We already have another group of friends who are planning a tour later in the year. Marc Donaldson, Singapore
Marc Donaldson
My wife and I did the October multi day tour with Jon Bawn. Gotta say it was outstanding. We are strong bikers from Colorado USA..... We bike in Moab Utah 20+ days a year...... Gotta say Cappadocia is a untapped gem. The singletrack here is buff..... But enough tecky sections to keep your stoke factor high. The cost for this trip is fair. You will feel well taken care of. The hotels were all local and all quite nice. The food??? We loved the food. If you don't like the food in turkey its your fault..... Not the Turks. Safety and security? Goreme me is a wonderful little resort town. It is the kind of town you would expect to find at any Nation Park in the U.S. Think Jackson Wyoming but with better food. Ok...... Let's talk about it...... Yes this is an Islamic nation. In the 2 weeks we were in Turkey all we got from the locals was true acceptance. My wife is a very white blonde who was riding bikes in the sticks of Turkey. Locals we came across were all happy to meets us and loved learning about what we were doing. The Turks are great people. Nuff said? Expert biker? Go. New to mountain biking? ...... Go. We had 2 late 60s people on our trip...... Road bikers........ They quickly got to the point where they were loving Cappadocia singletrack.
Kurt Knuth
Jon Bawn and his team at Middle Earth in Goreme, have managed to organise the most unique, epic Turkish Adventure on mtb’s through the untouched landscape of Cappadocia. This dry and rocky, yet mystical and mesmerising place, is paradise for any mountainbiker and became our playground for 6 days. Our group consisted of a very interesting mix: two Kiwi’s, an Australian, a Philippine, an American, a South African and a Korean, of which three were doctors (very handy on Mtb trip). During this mtb-tour we became an unbreakable team and this Cappadocian adventure led us to form close friendships and life long bonds. For 7 nights we slept in very authentic and traditional Turkish cave rooms at hotels and inns. Every morning we had healthy, hearty, Turkish breakfasts to get us going. At lunch after 3 or 4 hard hours on the bike, we had a Turkish feast awaiting us at the most interesting, traditional Turkish restaurants. After a long, hard day on the bike the group was always famished and taken to more unique, Turkish restaurants, every meal more delicious, decadent and mouth watering than the one before. After 6 days on the bike, our group agreed that we could not have asked for a more experienced yet patient mtb coach. Not only did our fitness on the bikes improve, but also our technical abilities and confidence. Mtb in the Cappadocia is extreme, beautiful and adrenalin pumping. We would often watch Jon flying over the most advanced, technical single tracks with such ease and grace, yet guiding us patiently and teaching us techniques over and over again, always encouraging and motivating us. Magical balloon rides, historical cave church visits, experiencing and visiting a real turkish Hamam also formed part of our trip and all contributed to indelible memories. Cheers to an unforgettable, unique Turkish Mountain Bike adventure! Cappadocia Singletrack Group Tour, September 2014
Louise Nesser
I took the 3 days, 2 nights package and stayed at Bali Rides’ guest house, which in itself is worth a visit: good food, nice family atmosphere with friendly owners, excellent pool and a good place to relax after a long bike ride. The bike rides were very well organized, the guides are extremely customer focused and go out of their way to make the rides a perfect experience. The bikes are of very high quality: I had a Specialized Epic full suspension 29er with a carbon frame – for me no need to bring my own bike. The whole package, from airport pickup, accommodation, food, rides, bikes, people to airport drop off was perfect. The guys really take care of you. I will certainly come again and can highly recommend it. (Carsten, Germany)
Carsten
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