The ride started at 8:00 p.m. at my favorite outdoor adventure shop. We all turned on our headlights, tail lights, and helmut lamps except for the one crazy male adolescent who had none of the safety lamps from above, but used his "stealth" look to take undue risks weaving through traffic, charging red lights, and winning at games of chicken with the crazy Malatya drivers. However, just to reassure any family members who are already concerned about my biking here, I want it to be known that I stopped at traffic lights, assumed all drivers were drunk and couldn't see me, and gave plenty of space to parked cars.
Of course, a ride wouldn't be complete without a stop for chai (or two) and a cigarette (or two or three) and this ride was no different. I know my male friends didn't give their choice of tea house a second thought, but I sure noticed the absence of women (there were none) and the quantity of men (there were a lot) hanging out. I pulled down my hat, quickly took a seat near the wall and tried to blend in. Luckily my friends were non-plussed and we enjoyed a lively loud conversation between chanted lines of the very last, very loud Thursday night, extra long prayer blaring from the minaret.
There were many great parts to this ride including: 1) talking to a man from Izmir and getting lots of ideas for when I move there. 2) the challenge of the ride from dodging pot holes in the dark, to using brakes on rain soaked, slick and slippery cobblestones. It was a brain tune-up. However, there were a couple of "bests."
The second best part of the ride was the ride home...it's all downhill.
The first best part of the ride was the cold Efes beer in the fridge. The fact that I even had one is novelty. Thanks, Dad!
I'm looking forward to next Thursday's ride and hoping for a repeat performance in attendance of my English class....