After six months of mentally debating it, I finally caved and bought a bicycle to ride in Istanbul. I bought this bike from the Bike Bazaar in Fatih. It's a mountain bike and it has gears, which makes it the polar opposite of the fixed-gear track bike I rode in the States (in fact, I am a little apprehensive that some of the fixed-gear only bike gangs I've rolled with in America are going to track me down and exact gangland revenge on me for betraying "the cause". I'm banking on the ability to coast down steep hills to evade them... and yes, I completely realize how ironic that statement is.) Anyway, it's a Whistle which is an Italian company but it is manufactured in Turkey which means I was able to dodge the 40% import tax on foreign goods. Plus it feels good to ride a Turkish-made bicycle in Turkey.
Seth (who also bought a bicycle) and I broke them in by riding from the Bazaar in Faith all the way to Bebek (with a detour in Beşiktaş up what is possibly the biggest hill I've ever climbed) then back down to Örtaköy from Bebek. Not counting the detour, it was over 15k. For those of you not familiar with Istanbul geography, it looked something like this (except contra picture we took the Galata Bridge).Definitely feels great to be back on a bike. Prayers for safety in crazy traffic are appreciated.