Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Black Sea Cycling Route and Keraban Le Tetu, Keraban the Inflexible, Вироглавия Керабан

Keraban the Inflexible is a real person - Turkish merchant from Istanbul. Jules Vernes wrote a book, inspired by history: He refused to pay a tax imposed for crossing the Bosporus and in order not to break the low made a trip around the Black Sea Coast to get to the other side of the Bosporus.

We linked this story to our efforts to plan and  make a cycling route on the Black Sea Coast. Unlike Keraban  we plan the route to be used from many people for a long time. So it must be well planned and we have to keep in mind being realistic so in the first stage it will be just along the West Coast from Ukraine to Istanbul. But like Keraban we have to overpass regulations or administrative burdans that make our way difficult in many countries. A very short list of them is: the border crossing Check Point between Bulgaria and Turkey, still not existent, the limitations to put sign posting for cycling trails, etc. And most probably like Keraban we will be forced to bypass laws and regulations and hopefully it will be shorter than touring the Black Sea.

The approximate route of Keraban was this. A short comment: Why did not he pass along the Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian Black Sea Coast?                

Because there was no road, even not a path. And if it seems strange or not true -  have a look at the Turkish map of today.   Still no road! In Bulgaria our road was constructed just 50 years ago. Till then all transportation was by sea, therefore no need for roads.

Now look again at the map and you will see that in the areas where there is a road, there are towns and resorts and tourism and industry.  In Turkey (no road) the landscape   is the same as it was 2000 years ago-there are only five villages at 250 km. shore. Now follow this logic and imagine that there is a cycling trail along the west coast. There will be cyclists all along the route, they will visit all those isolated villages on the Turkish coast and will take a considerable number of tourist (about 7%) from the crowded resorts in Bulgaria and Romania, from the car to the bike. Which is the modal shift-from motorized to non-motorized transport. From the conventional to the sustainable tourism From the normal to the healthy form of transport.            

This is the proposed route! And it is not so expensive to construct. Most of the rivers are narrow and the bridges needed are small - like those below:

And if one day those small inexpensive bridges will join the existing sections of the route and will form the whole BSCT route - the new EuroVelo route. And some cycling lanes of course, built from the local authorities! Push and help  them to do it.

Then you will easily see those places. Put on random order on purpose - they are all beautiful and all worth seeing and exploring...by bike!:

Igneada lake Turkey

Kamchia, Bulgaria
Perhaps with a cycling bridge over it!
Katranka,  Ukraine

 Mamaia, Romania
Constanta, Romania
Ropotamo River, Bulgaria
Perhaps with a cycling bridge
 Sozopol, Bulgaria
Veleka River, Bulgaria
Kiyikoy, Turkey


  1. Hi Evgeny I'm in Bulgaria on the Danube route heading for Istanbul. I'm thinking of cycling down the black sea coast. I would be grateful if you could share any routes or places worth visiting or even avoiding. Is it sensible to cycle into Istanbul or best to take train? Thanks for your help. Kind regards Jeremy jezzyp@hotmail.com

    1. Hi Jeremy - how did you find the Black Sea route to Istanbul? We are in switzerland cycling that direction and are keen to know more about your experience. Thank you!