Once you enter the tunnel on the other side of the bridge, the gravel track you've been on for what feels like forever disappears and it's suddenly pitch black.
At first, you might think that you are now riding on a smooth path, but you'll quickly realise that your wheels are turning heavy and they get stuck. For a moment you wonder "Is it mud"? But then you hear them.
They start to whizz past your head, and you figure out, that you are riding through ankle-deep bat droppins. You turn your lights towards the ground and see, that the whole floor is moving. Ants, spiders, roaches, sow bugs and all kinds other animals that you don't even know the name of. Push down hard on the pedals to keep the wheels turning or get off to trudge through it all? You decide.
On the off-road version of the Ciro Trail you get to make this decision 12 times, so if you decide the wrong way once, you can still change your mind 11 more times.
The Ciro Trail runs between the old town of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Dubrovnik on the Croatian coast, following the old Austro-Hungarian railway line built in 1901. The line was reopened in 2017 as a cycling trail, which I rode in the summer of 2019.
Like many converted railway trails, it is almost traffic free and never really steep. However, the gravel sections here are very rough gravel and my decision to take them on with a road bike might not have been the best one... So keep that in mind, when you are thinking about the best bike to bring along. A gravel bike or sturdy tourer is probably best!
When I left Mostar, I took a wrong turn and ended up on the main road. For about 10 minutes I started to question my decision to ride the Ciro Trail and was thinking about rerouting the whole way to Dubrovnik to choose less busy roads. Thankfully, I did realize that I was on the wrong road, before I abandoned …
I was woken up the next day with a huge spider on top of my tent, which was one way to wake up quickly…
I packed up my belongings and headed further along the trail. The climbing section was mostly over and I just had to tackle the increasingly rocky trail with my road bike. I was more than happy …
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Bike Touring Highlight
This is the start of the gravel section of the Ciro Trail from Mostar to Dubrovnik. It's better to start steadily, as it goes on for quite some time and has lots of rocky parts. It's also the time now to prepare for the old and dark tunnels that come up later on - make sure you bring lights!
Bike Touring Collection by Holstein Tourismus