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My dad's trusty Toyota Hiace...still going strong at almost 300,000 miles.

My dad's trusty Toyota Hiace...still going strong at almost 300,000 miles.

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The views from my hotel ( The Deniz Kizi ) were pretty spectacular.

The views from my hotel ( The Deniz Kizi ) were pretty spectacular.

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Water is usually readily accessible in N.Cyprus, but it doesn't hurt to take precautions. The LifeStraw is incredibly small, lightweight and works superbly.

Water is usually readily accessible in N.Cyprus, but it doesn't hurt to take precautions. The LifeStraw is incredibly small, lightweight and works superbly.

The Birzman Velocity maybe small, but it's one of the best mini pumps I've used and takes up barely any space in my bags.

The Birzman Velocity maybe small, but it's one of the best mini pumps I've used and takes up barely any space in my bags.

North Cyprus

     Well hello there and welcome to another adventure with me, the two wheeled Beelzebub. So what have I been up to, well I recently got into some new fetish….sorry…what I meant to say is Bicycle Touring Apocalypse has been very busy indeed. I recently got my hands on a 4 x 4 VW T25 Syncro and have been selling organs to help transform this overlanding beast into my new home. However, that’s a story for another day and a full blog entry on the restoration will be coming soon! In the meantime I’ve been getting absolutely burnt to s#*t in North Cyprus. Yep, I was kindly invited by the lovely people at Go North Cyprus to document the Kyrenia Mountain range, which is…for the record…one of the most exciting areas for bikepacking I’ve ever explored.


The team at Go North Cyprus were truly superb and offer some great holiday deals, be sure to check them out:


     In true Bicycle Touring Apocalypse fashion I planned absolutely nothing, but that’s the way I like it! Perhaps it’s my childish imagination, but I quite like the idea of being washed up on some deserted island, no idea what challenges lie ahead, a two-wheeled pirate, free to roam in search of treasures untold. Translation, I usually get really…really lost. I did take time to download North Cyprus’ version of Ordnance Survey maps from the Kyrenia Mountain Trail Association ( they’re not as detailed, but invaluable all the same ) along with a much smaller scale National Geographic map. I work flat out…evenings, weekends…..sleep…what’s that!? Consequently, I usually have very limited time to pack for each expedition, North Cyprus being no exception. There was under three weeks between finishing my Welsh Coast to Coast and departing for the Kyrenia Mountains....two of which I spent working in London! This left me with a week to write up the Welsh blog entry, relevant reviews, process all photography, edit the short film and crucially tackle the accumulation of washing that by this point posed a genuine threat to humanity. As a result I had just two days to prepare for the trip….ooooops. First and foremost was how to pack the XXL Surly ECR, which is basically the biggest most awkward bike to package in the whole wide world. The ECR is not a cheap ride and I’d highly recommend purchasing a proper padded bag to take it overseas. However, I had no time for any such sensibilities so decided to protect the bike from the often heavy handed nature of luggage control with…prayers…yep…I asked Zeus to look down upon said bike and strike down with great wrath and fury any member of staff who bent my derailleur. Hence, with the protection of the gods I figured there was no need to fret about any substantial padding and opted for a mattress bag and some tufts of underlay….

Nothing to see here...

Nothing to see here...

     I arrived at the airport in good time pushing along what looked like a dismembered body through customs. The airline staff looked at the body bag with the utmost disdain…to which I responded with my most angelic smile…unfortunately that just makes me look like Gollum. Finally, after a bit of faffing, the ECR disappeared up the industrial sized conveyer and onto the plane. Six hours later I was waiting for my baggage at Lefkosa airport…and there it was…the bright green body bag…Houston we have touch down. I’m pretty sure my taxi driver double took as I came through arrivals…there was an unmistakable ‘ are you taking the p…..?! ’ look on his face. After a considerable amount of time strenuously attempting to fit the dismembered ECR into the taxi we were on our way....I’d only bloody made it! I was put up in the rather lavish Deniz Kizi hotel and spent the afternoon building the bike in my room whilst taking in the truly spectacular views from my balcony. The Surly had arrived almost unscathed and I can only assume that this one bolt sacrificed itself to save the rest of the bike....

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    After a much needed nights sleep I absolutely gorged myself on the all you can eat Turkish breakfast at the hotel before setting off on a four hour taxi ride to the most northerly point of the island. My taxi driver was an absolute legend, completely hilarious, although I’m pretty sure he risked our lives about ten times on our way to the Cape Apostolos Andreas. Honestly, the drivers in North Cyprus have no fear whatsoever. As if overtaking on a blind bend wasn’t bad enough, these guys take their sweet time about it, arm out the window, looking at you in mid conversation. I tried to answer his questions, but I spent half the time deciding which Skynyrd song I wanted at my funeral…. ‘ One in the Sun ’…was my final choice. Despite a terrifying game of Russian road-lette we were soon in the most northerly part of the island. The Northern tip is a nature reserve famous for the super tame donkeys that greet incoming visitors. Well, I bloody love donkeys, I think they’re beautiful and for such benevolent creatures exhibit the most amazing strength. Thus, I was very pleased to be greeted by two such rogues, who basically refused to move until we gave them something to eat. Finally, after feeding them half my supplies for the trip we were granted passage. We continued along increasingly derelict roads until we made it to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery. Unfortunately it’s in the process of renovation so I couldn’t actually enter, but it looked amazing. I unloaded my gear, waved goodbye to the four-wheeled grim reaper and headed up a sandy mud track towards the huge dome of rock that marks the most northerly point of Cyprus.

      I always get so excited at the beginning of an expedition, heading into the unknown, ready to follow in the footsteps of my ancient Greek heroes. I was alone in the wilderness…no houses…people…no carrrrssss…..errrr….hold the front door?!?! As I approached I was amazed to see someone had managed to rag some poor rental car up the track…my sense of lone wolf….intrepid explorer soon wore off as an English family descended the Cape Apostolos Andreas…all red as tomatoes…chatting away happily…honestly, the English, what are we like. After a quick chat, I pushed the bike up the steep track to the top of the huge dome of rock and was greeted by the most incredible view. It is at this point, I’ll stop my whittering and pass you over to my photography & short film. So sit back, grab yourself a beer and get ready for another Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.


If you want to see more videos from Bicycle Touring Apocalypse be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel.


The most Northerly point of Cyprus is marked by a huge dome of rock called the Cape Apostolos Andreas.

The most Northerly point of Cyprus is marked by a huge dome of rock called the Cape Apostolos Andreas.

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The Snupak Ionosphere has superb ventilation, more like a tarp, than a tent.

The Snupak Ionosphere has superb ventilation, more like a tarp, than a tent.

Efes is North Cyprus' most popular beer.

Efes is North Cyprus' most popular beer.

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Turkish coffee.

Turkish coffee.

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Huge thanks to Bounce Foods who supplied me with some of their awesome products.

Huge thanks to Bounce Foods who supplied me with some of their awesome products.

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I'll probably have to replace the Knards soon...but that's after thousands of miles.

I'll probably have to replace the Knards soon...but that's after thousands of miles.

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Small razor sharp cacti on the singletrack caused six flats in five days. The Knards had never conceded a puncture up til this expedition, but those little plants were evvvviiil.

Small razor sharp cacti on the singletrack caused six flats in five days. The Knards had never conceded a puncture up til this expedition, but those little plants were evvvviiil.

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The food in North Cyprus was unreal. Meats are often slow cooked underground in a well full of herbs, as a result the meat just falls off the bone.

The food in North Cyprus was unreal. Meats are often slow cooked underground in a well full of herbs, as a result the meat just falls off the bone.

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At this stage I'd already endured four punctures and thus had no choice but to use puncture repair kits to plug both inner-tubes ( as stated above, I've never had a flat before on the ECR, so only took two spare tubes ). The restaurant staff said I could leave the bike overnight whilst the glue set and invited me to stay with them that night. Every tour I'm completely taken aback by the kindness of strangers.

At this stage I'd already endured four punctures and thus had no choice but to use puncture repair kits to plug both inner-tubes ( as stated above, I've never had a flat before on the ECR, so only took two spare tubes ). The restaurant staff said I could leave the bike overnight whilst the glue set and invited me to stay with them that night. Every tour I'm completely taken aback by the kindness of strangers.

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One of the locals who took me in for the night.

One of the locals who took me in for the night.

If you visit Kantara castle make sure you stop by the restaurant. Incredible food, amazing people.

If you visit Kantara castle make sure you stop by the restaurant. Incredible food, amazing people.

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Kantara Castle.

Kantara Castle.

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Kantara Castle sits 630 m.a.s.l and is believed to have been originally built in the 10th century by the Byzantines as a lookout post against raiding Arabs.

Kantara Castle sits 630 m.a.s.l and is believed to have been originally built in the 10th century by the Byzantines as a lookout post against raiding Arabs.

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The Surly ECR is undoubtedly the best bike I've ever owned.

The Surly ECR is undoubtedly the best bike I've ever owned.

The Snugpak Small Dri-Sak & Blackburn Design Outpost Cargo Cage are a great affordable alternative to the Salsa products.

The Snugpak Small Dri-Sak & Blackburn Design Outpost Cargo Cage are a great affordable alternative to the Salsa products.

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The Berghaus Explorer Active GTX proved to be a superb bikepacking/bicycle touring shoe, review coming soon!

The Berghaus Explorer Active GTX proved to be a superb bikepacking/bicycle touring shoe, review coming soon!

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Not a bad place to camp...

Not a bad place to camp...

Nick at the Micro Roastery ( Canterbury ) sent over some of his superb coffee for the trip. I'll say it once and I'll say it again, this guy knows his beans, this stuff really got me ready for the day!

Nick at the Micro Roastery ( Canterbury ) sent over some of his superb coffee for the trip. I'll say it once and I'll say it again, this guy knows his beans, this stuff really got me ready for the day!

Bounce Balls are perfect snacks on the bike as they pack a large amount of carbohydrate & protein into the most compact shape.

Bounce Balls are perfect snacks on the bike as they pack a large amount of carbohydrate & protein into the most compact shape.

The truly astonishing Z - Packs Down Sleeping Bag, check out my review at Bikepackers Magazine.

The truly astonishing Z - Packs Down Sleeping Bag, check out my review at Bikepackers Magazine.

I've worked with Rude Health for a few years now and their products have always been excellent. Keeping fueled on the bike is absolutely imperative...what better way to start each day than a huge bowl of porridge?! This particular product has tonnes of added protein thanks to its five grains & seeds.

I've worked with Rude Health for a few years now and their products have always been excellent. Keeping fueled on the bike is absolutely imperative...what better way to start each day than a huge bowl of porridge?! This particular product has tonnes of added protein thanks to its five grains & seeds.

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The further I travel on my bike the more I realise just how little money & materialistic possessions matter in life. It's experiences, the memories you make, friends & family that really matter. Obviously we all need to earn enough to live, but I feel it's all too easy to associate a higher income with a better standard of living, when in fact it's not always the case. Generally it's considered the more you earn, the more you burn, so it's easy to chase that next pay check/bonus. However, that often means working longer hours, evenings, weekends, etc. The truth is, and I know it sounds cliche, but the best things In life are free. I would rather earn less and be able to spend more time with my family & friends than have a huge house and a fancy car...but that's just me.

The further I travel on my bike the more I realise just how little money & materialistic possessions matter in life. It's experiences, the memories you make, friends & family that really matter. Obviously we all need to earn enough to live, but I feel it's all too easy to associate a higher income with a better standard of living, when in fact it's not always the case. Generally it's considered the more you earn, the more you burn, so it's easy to chase that next pay check/bonus. However, that often means working longer hours, evenings, weekends, etc. The truth is, and I know it sounds cliche, but the best things In life are free. I would rather earn less and be able to spend more time with my family & friends than have a huge house and a fancy car...but that's just me.

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It was an 8km climb to the Buffavento car park followed by over 1000 steps carved into the cliff face to reach the castle itself. 

It was an 8km climb to the Buffavento car park followed by over 1000 steps carved into the cliff face to reach the castle itself. 

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Buffavento has to be the most impressive castle I've ever visited. The name translates as ' Defier of the Winds ' as it's perched at 950 m.a.s.l.

Buffavento has to be the most impressive castle I've ever visited. The name translates as ' Defier of the Winds ' as it's perched at 950 m.a.s.l.

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My Snupak Dri-Saks proved incredibly handy for carrying valuables when I had to leave the bike for an extended period of time.

My Snupak Dri-Saks proved incredibly handy for carrying valuables when I had to leave the bike for an extended period of time.

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The ECR and its big brother...

The ECR and its big brother...

My Carradice Longflap Camper proved to be absolutely invaluable once again.

My Carradice Longflap Camper proved to be absolutely invaluable once again.

The Longflap's adjustable straps allowed me to carry a pair of additional two litre water bottles on top of all my gear.

The Longflap's adjustable straps allowed me to carry a pair of additional two litre water bottles on top of all my gear.

carradice, carradice longflap camper, carradice longflap camper, brooks, brooks england, brooks saddles, surly, surly ecr, ecr, surly bikes, jack macgowan, bicycle touring apocalypse
surly, surly ecr, surly bikes, canon, canon 6d, brooks, brooks saddles, clickstand, surly rear rack, revelate designs, bicycle touring apocalypse, bikepacking, bicycle touring, cycle touring, knards, klean kanteen, jack macgowan, photographer, travel journalist, bikepacking blog, bicycle touring blog, cycling blog, mtb, 29er, fat bike
My trusty Wildcat Gear Leopard frame bag.

My trusty Wildcat Gear Leopard frame bag.

I've had these Klean Kanteen 27oz Classics since I started bicycle touring and they're just epic. In order to preserve internal storage I usually hang them somewhere on the bike.

I've had these Klean Kanteen 27oz Classics since I started bicycle touring and they're just epic. In order to preserve internal storage I usually hang them somewhere on the bike.


My trusty Canon AE-1...

My trusty Canon AE-1...

Me and four of my large male friends will be sleeping in this for ten days....during mid summer...in Spain...should be errr comfortable!?

Me and four of my large male friends will be sleeping in this for ten days....during mid summer...in Spain...should be errr comfortable!?

     Congratulations you’ve made it to the end of another Bicycle Touring Apocalypse…I know….you thought the scrolling would never end! North Cyprus has to be one of the most exciting bikepacking destinations in Europe. A network of dusty singletrack through the Kyrenia Mountains, epic medieval castles, unreal food, lovely people and of course incredible weather make this a truly spectacular country for cycling. One thing you must must must be aware of before heading into the wilderness ( especially if you’re wild camping )…and something I did not know about before departing is Brown snakes ( also known as the Blunt-nosed Viper ). I spent the first four nights camping in long dry grass, getting up in the middle of the night completely naked in nothing but a pair of flip flops and generally taking no precautions against a venomous bite to the manhood. Like most animals, the Brown snake just wants to be left alone and won’t strike unless provoked, just make sure you don’t tread on one ( Check out information here & here for more details ). Ah haaaaa…..so you were thinking…perhaps mad old Jack was getting soft…that perhaps he wasn’t risking his life enough these days….well…there you have it….for at least a third of the expedition I’d been wandering around in the pitch black, completely naked and exposed to Dr. Viper’s back street vasectomy clinic….Oh but I hear you exclaim…surely he’d struggle to strike something so small in the dark….well….yes…probably…..but I leave you with this…me…sprawled out…starkers….in nothing but flip flops….bitten on the jewels. This court is now adjourned, verdict…Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.

     On a more serious note, I just want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who continues to support my work, it really does mean the world. At the end of the week I’m off on a 3000 mile road trip in the 1986 VW Syncro to Barcelona, but will be publishing the North Cyprus film photography blog when I return. I hope everyone has an epic summer. This is Bicycle Touring Apocalypse, checking in, checking out & about to break down…a lot.