2005 -- Egypt, Jordan, Greece and Turkey Bicycle Trip
Pre-trip Planning / Safety and Security Issues

Pre-trip Planning--How the journey evolved from a rock climbing trip through Spain, France, and Italy,
to a biking trip through Egypt, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey.

After our bicycle trip through southern Africa a few years ago, I said I didn't want to get locked into feeling we had to always bicycling on our adventures. I wanted to keep our options open. Since we have been doing lots of rock climbing the last 10 years, the idea for this trip started as a rock climbing journey through Europe. The plan was to buy a used vehicle, drive to climbing areas in the alps and southern Europe, visit cities, museums and tourist sites on rest days, then sell the vehicle before returning home.

A year ago our plans began to change. Buying a vehicle and paying for insurance and gas in Europe was making the trip too expensive. We decided to forget the vehicle and ride our bikes, and pull our climbing gear in a trailer behind the bikes. This idea sounded good for a few months, but again logistics began to trouble us. If we were cycling, and on cycling rest days rock climbing, when exactly were we going to see all the tourist sites, and when were we going to actually rest? We only have three months, and fitting in everything seemed impossible.

The last two years we have done so much climbing that we began to think we should take a break from climbing and focus on bicycling, which requires a huge amount of gear and a fair amount of logistics all by itself.

Our next plan was to follow the basic route for our climbing journey, starting in Spain, and going through France and Italy . But after a few months that also changed. Tass was having problems getting excited about the route, which she didn't think was very exotic. She thought we should visit those countries "when we get older".

So we pulled out the maps and guidebooks and began planning again. We knew we wanted to travel in countries bordering the Mediterranean. Tass was most interested in Morocco, Libya, Egypt and Turkey, which all sounded good to me. However, I have been to Morocco, and because it is so far to the west we thought it would not be realistic for this journey. We both decided that Egypt and Turkey were our main priorities. Because of our interest in the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea, we decided to add in Jordan. Greece was put back on the agenda because of the historical importance of the country for western civilization, and also because cycling in the Greek Isles sounded way fun. Unfortunately, the Libyan Desert was eliminated basically due to a lack of time. Instead, we hope to bicycle in the Western Desert of Egypt.
Security and Safety Issues

We have had a wide range of responses over our trip itinerary. While some people smile enthusiastically and tell us they have always wanted to travel to that part of the world, others look horrified and ask in shock, "aren't you afraid of terrorists?"

Every since our World Bike Tour we have had to face issues regarding safety while traveling (prior to that we were too young and enthused to worry about such issues). The length of our World Tour--over two years--made us aware of the possibility of having an accident or misfortune out on the highway. Simply starting the journey required a leap of faith into the unknown.

Each of our following bike trips likewise took a commitment of trust. On our Central America bike trip we rode through Nicaragua which was just coming out of a prolonged civil war in which the US had backed the losing side, the discredited Contras. On our South American bike trip we rode along the Ecuador-Columbian border, where there had been violence from drug trafficking. In South Africa we were often reminded before we left that the country had the highest rates of both murder and rape in the world.

So how do we put all of this in perspective? Life is risky. We all face the possibilities of accidents, disease, and misfortune. The question is, do we let these fears overwhelm us and limit our actions and the way we live? Or do we accept a certain degree of inherent risk and then move forward to live life as fully as possible?

We feel the biggest risk of this trip, as in all our biking journeys, is getting accidentally hit by a vehicle. Egypt has the hightest mortality rate for accidents per miles driven of any country in the world. Greece, Jordan and Turkey are probably not far behind. We believe if we are willing to accept those statistics and still ride our bikes, then the much smaller risk of being the target of violent robbery or terrorism should not keep us from traveling. The statistical chance of such an event is just too small. Yes, it is a possibility, but so is an airplane crash along the way.

We don't want to be foolish, and we will certainly be as careful as possible. Once again we must trust that the people of the world will treat us kindly.
This picture of a mosque dome was taken in Malaysia. There are more than one billion Muslims in the world today.

Many Muslims countries are known for their hospitality to travelers.

Muslim countries we have previously traveled through include Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Algeria and Niger.

Muslim regions we have traveled include Kashmir in northern India and the West Bank of Israel.

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