As the slopes of both of Coruh and Tortum valleys are steep, biking in the area isn’t for the fainthearted. There are stunningly dramatic descents on dirt roads but to do them you first have to reach the ridges! The network of dirt and asphalt roads in the area, as well as the comprehensive minibus service from Yusufeli, means you can, with a bit of effort, get your bike to good altitudes.
- You may find most of the biking routes on the Coruh Valley map available in this website.
- Most international airlines will take a bike. Local bus companies will take them if they can strap them to the roof of the bus so bring plenty of straps!
- Uzundere Doga Genclik ve Spor Klubu (Uzundere Nature, Youth and Sport Club) can provide bikes, binoculars, camping and rafting equipment. Their phone number is +90 (442) 791 23 09.
- The season starts in May and is at its best until mid-July. The valleys can be hot in August but September is also a great time to bike here.
Centres and Routes
Yusufeli is a great base as there’s a good loop northwards to Bahceli and Ogdem, with a steep descent to the Coruh. You may encounter jeeps on this route.
South of Yusufeli there’s a network based around Kilickaya, where there’s a small pension. There are many high-level tracks here with dramatic views towards the Kackar. Steep descents from this network lead to Tortum lake (near Osk Vank or Golbasi)-test your brakes first!
Camlıkaya is a good base for routes north of the central Coruh, rising to over 2500m. The ‘yaylas’ (summer pastures) to the north are wetter and greener but there’s plenty of accommodation in the villages.
Ispir has some good road riding towards Rize and a pleasant loop across open country.
You can camp at Uzunkavak, between the Coruh and Tortum rivers, just north of the Mescit mountains. A long climb from Uzundere takes you to a high-level, undulating route over the mountains between lakes.
These routes are mainly on forestry tracks and some maybe deeply eroded and difficult. There are also mule tracks heading north over the Kackar but you will have to carry your bike for at least part of the day. The most level routes are generally the higher ones, but these are also the stoniest. There’s no accommodation above 2000m so you will have to either return to the lower levels at night or camp.