Cycling in Croatia (Split)?

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caashford
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Cycling in Croatia (Split)?

Post by caashford » 28 Jul 2018 16:52

Anyone got any experience of cycling (or seen anyone cycling in) Croatia? I'm heading out to Split in August so wondering about hiring a bike out there, but not seen how crazy the drivers are! I have had a bit of a look on yacf / cycling advice FB groups, but Beacon experience always useful:-)

laurence_cooley
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Re: Cycling in Croatia (Split)?

Post by laurence_cooley » 28 Jul 2018 21:03

I've not cycled in Croatia, but I spent three or four months there a decade ago, and the roads didn't strike me as particularly dangerous. I can't remember seeing many cyclists about then, but it seems to be an increasingly popular touring destination now. My concern in Dalmatia would be that the coast road gets very busy at that time of year and in many places is probably the only option for moving north and south, but if you want to stick to the local area there might be some better backroad options. The other option would be to get out to one of the bigger islands, which is likely to be much more pleasant. Jadrolinija's ferry service is excellent (or was in 2005, at least).

Les Ladbury
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Re: Cycling in Croatia (Split)?

Post by Les Ladbury » 29 Jul 2018 13:42

Anne and I flew to Split with bikes and had a great time on the islands of Brac, Korcula and Hvar. We didn't find the natives particularly friendly particularly when they tried to rip us off. I had to adopt my American persona on occasions. On one occasion when I was trying to negotiate a deal on a room for a couple of nights when a guy was trying to charge about 4X the going rate. I said that he was too expensive. The following dialogue took place.

Him "You American ?"
Me " Sure buddy" (This was in my best Brummagem/American accent)
Him "You Americans are all the same, you want everything for the price of a coka cola".

Then there was the guy just outside Split who got a bit stroppy when I decided not to push my luck to far. There was a very good reason for this, he had an AK47 !!!!!!!!!!!!

I knew Yugoslavia when Tito was alive and to me it was obvious that when he was no longer around there would be trouble, and as we now know there was.

Don't let me put you off. It's a fabulous area, stunning scenery but I would point out 2 things. In August the weather will be hot and in the popular areas there will be a lot of tourists. I would agree with what someone said about the coast road. It gets very busy and can be dangerous but there are plenty of alternatives. I found that the surface gets polished and very slippery when wet.

Some of what I have said might seem a bit negative but it's a great area so just go.
Les

laurence_cooley
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Re: Cycling in Croatia (Split)?

Post by laurence_cooley » 29 Jul 2018 22:06

Apart from a bit of friendly bartering over accommodation prices (which is only if you try to find somewhere on arrival, in any case), I can't say I recognise Les's experience myself, and have found people to be very generous hosts all over former Yugoslavia. I certainly didn't meet anyone on the Croatian coast with a gun! You must have been very unlucky, Les.

Les Ladbury
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Re: Cycling in Croatia (Split)?

Post by Les Ladbury » 30 Jul 2018 21:04

Laurence, this was a long time ago and the guy with the gun was security at Split airport. I had a bag of about 40 films and I asked if he could hand check it. He refused and told me to put it through the x-ray m/c.
If there had been a problem seeing something in the bag the operator would just increase the power with the risk of fogging the film. As I said this was a long time ago and there was a lot of concern with photographers and the possibility of films being damaged. He could have been difficult for a number of reasons. He might of thought that I was German and although there was not much of an anti-German attitude in the tourist areas when one was in the more remote area one had to make sure that people realised that we were British and not German. I have experienced this a number of times.
I well remember when driving a German car in the north of the country not to go into certain regions because it had been known for German tourists to disappear.

All of this was a long time ago and although I still think of Yugoslavia as an entity it isn't and the area has changed. Anyone thinking of going should go. It's a fascinating region.
Les

caashford
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Re: Cycling in Croatia (Split)?

Post by caashford » 21 Aug 2018 18:36

Cheers all. Just to let you know I had a great time cycling in Split, Croatia.

I did x2 rides of 120k, one heading West along the coast from Split and then returning back through the hills and one North and East from Split and then back through the flats and descents to Split.

I hired a German bike from meriden-ten.com which was fine, 3x10 with a pannier mount on the rear, v brakes and a fair bit of weight to it, but for 75 euros for 3 days and not many other options it worked ok.

The roads were silky smooth and flowed really nicely, I would say in many places up to Mallorca standards. The only issues were cycling through Split itself to pickup and return the bike, lots of traffic lights and large trucks, as well as crazy tourists. The country roads were really quiet and the drivers gave you plenty of room. The road to Trogir was packed from 10:00 when we went there on a different day, so definitely one to avoid during peak time.

Temperature wise, I was up and on the road by 06:00 both mornings, finishing at 11:30 in 35c. It was just too hot to cycle between 12:00-16:00 but you could head out after I suppose.

I saw 1 or 2 "proper" cyclists on a Cervelo and Bianchi (they get everywhere) at 07:30 but not many others that I would consider actual road riders. I did get a few stares and thumbs up as I cycled past!

Routes were all borrowed from ridewithgps.com and maps downloaded from openstreetmaps and loaded onto the garmin without issues.

All in all, a great destination and I would be tempted to take my own bike if I was to return. I think there are a few Split cycling clubs that you could probably link up with, and with a 23kg suitcase costing £23 each way and a 32kg bike bag costing £32 each way, you could just put all your clothes in the bike bag and take one only:-)

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