What I learnt from being in Ankara
- Pedestrians are more powerful than traffic signals (when there are enough of them with the right attitude)
- It’s much scarier to ride a bicycle in Ankara than anywhere else I’ve been
- There is almost no bicycle infrastructure or rights for bikes (it’s all about big roads)
- There was a very small but strong-willed movement to make Ankara bicycle friendly (with weekly bike rides)
- There are a lot of people walking around in the centre of Ankara
- Ankara is quite hilly (you couldn’t ride far without finding yourself on a slope)
- The matatu of Ankara is called a Dolmus (they are not as colourful but still fun)
What I thought before I went to Ankara
Ankara is a city I have never really thought about before. I guess there will be cars and lots of public servants and public transport because it is a capital city. I know it has a metro – the first metro on my trip – so this could be fun (or boring), we’ll see. It is somewhere between europe and asia, and not so far from Africa so maybe it will be a mix of transport cultures, between community and individuality, colour and clean, fast and human, lively and automatic – it’s going to be all new to me (and maybe you).
What does the research say about transport in Ankara?
Still to do!
When am I in Ankara and what will I be doing?
I will be arriving in Ankara at the start of August. It will be at the end of Ramadan so I’m not sure if that will mean the streets will be more or less lively. I will be trying to work out whether people in Ankara ride bikes because there is very little mention of cycling in what I’ve read about the city. It might be hot at that time of the year, as it’s mid summer, but I will do my best to get out and about and enjoy some Turkish hospitality.
Apart from being well scrubbed in a Turkish Bath and seeing Ancient ruins, I will try and meet some nice Turkish people to help me explore their city and culture and food. Hopefully someone can take me on a motorbike ride (I think I’ve given up on trying to ride one myself in each city I go to) and I won’t be too shy to film on public transport. I’m curious what Turkish people wear and how much I have to be covered etc. or how westernized Ankara is. I also will have to see if my gluten free vegetarian diet can cope with the temptations of Turkish bread and meaty meals.