Roughing It on Route 8

Biograd na Moru, Croatia:    For the past three days I have been working my way down the Croatian coast along Route 8.  I knew this coastal ride would be pretty but I was unprepared for the spectacular panormas of rocky mountains juxtaposed against azure waters.  Yesterday’s ride in particular, along a desolate 100-km stretch of coast and through two National Parks, was outstanding.  Route 8 surely rates as one of the world’s great ocean drives.

But it’s been hard work, too.

On my first day on Route 8 I fought powerfully fierce headwinds. That made the going rough and tough and slow.    The Croatian coast is renowned for its windiness, and I received an authentic experience.

The second day along the coast, from Senj to  Triban Sibuljna, was knock-out beautiful, with very little habitation , development, and traffic along the way, except for the oasis-like town of  Karlobag in the middle.  I stocked up in Senj with extra provisions – bread, fruit, nuts, water —  which came in handy as I ended up camping last night.   I pitched my tent just a few meters from water’s edge.  It was hard to beat such a location and view.   The downside to camping in this region is you’re sleeping on rocks.  The beaches, the mountains, almost everything in this part of Croatia is rock.  Fortunately I was able to borrow an air mattress from the campground office, and I slept like a baby….until I woke up at 12:30am ready to get on with the new day.   It was a long night after that.  Breakfast this morning was very basic — bread with nutella and a banana — but it provided enough fuel to get me into trouble.

Today’s ride was scenically uninteresting compared to the two previous days.   I stopped on a bridge to take a photo of a man rowing a boat.  A few minutes later, I heard a familiar hissing sound.   My back tire had popped again, the second time in four days.   Unfortunately I am getting proficient in changing that tire.   A Croatian motorist did stop to offer some assistance, but I had everything under control.

Bike fixed and rolling again, I stopped for a lunch of roast chicken and vegetables in Zadar.  These gilled foods are a Croatian specialty and this was my best meal in Croatia, which isn’t saying much because the food has been dreadful.

The mellow town of Biograd caught my attention from the road.   I made a detour, liked the place, and decided to call it a day.  I followed the signage to the best digs in town, the In Hotel.   It’s a far and welcome cry from sleeping on rocks last night.

Yesterday I clocked my 4,000th kilometer on TransEuropa 2011.  Only 2,000 more to go, more or less.

Days 54 – 56: Rijeka to Biograd na Moru, Croatia  via overnights in Senj and Tribanj Sibuljina

Distances:  68.38 km (Day 54);  104.95 km (Day 55);  81.5 km (Day 56)

Ascent:  523 meters (Day 54); 664 meters (Day 55);  275 meters (Day 56)

Terrain:  Mountainous/hilly

Weather:  Overcast skies and conducive cycling weather except the hard headwind on Day 54

TransEuropa 2011 Trip Summary:

Distance:  4,074.27 kilometers

Ascent:   29,195 meters

Countries:  10:  Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia

Incidents:  4: flat tires on Days 45, 53 and 56;  police reprimand on Day 2





About Todd

Around-the-world cycling, one continent at a time
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5 Responses to Roughing It on Route 8

  1. Mark Scheer says:

    Your photo at the top of the previous blog reminds us ABB alumni that your present ride requires much more commitment than our cushy, unloaded adventure last summer. We’re with you in spirit and wish we were there to help you change those flats, rain or shine. Keep on rollin’.

  2. Ellen says:

    Congratulations on passing the 2/3’s mark on your trip! What a trip–what an adventure! Keep your spirits up–and I’m hoping for no more flats for your bike! Go for the gold!

  3. Phillip M. White says:

    Todd, my man. You are an example for all of us to emulate. I was talking to my local bike guy yesterday (as he was fixing a flat for me) and he said I could get the Armadillo tires on my bike that are basically flat-proof. He put them on my beach cruiser which never has a flat. He said they make them for all sizes of tires. It’s a little less smooth ride, but no chance of having a flat. I mentioned you.
    Hang in there, Phillip

    • Todd says:

      Phillip, I really appreciate all your messages and your support, as well as the recommendation of Armadillo tires. I had been using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, which served me well for thousands of km. Unfortunately those tires aren’t available any more for some strange reason — I checked in both HK and in Europe. The problem, I believe, isn’t so much puncture but air pressure. With all the werght I am carrying my bike tire is much more sensitive to a subtle decrease in pressure. I am trying to inflate the tires every day (hence the broken air pump!) and to have the smoothese possible ride. Hopefully this will get me though the final stretch! Keep spinning! Todd

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