Tips for safe cycling in Croatia
The best period for biking in Croatia is late spring (end of April till end of June) and early autumn (end of August till end October). In the period mentioned it is not extremely hot, there is not too much traffic, and if you did not pre book accommodation you can find it almost anywhere as it is not the main tourist season. It can happen you have a couple of days of rain(rain showers). Summer temperatures vary from 22°C to 26°C in the continental part of the country, 15°C to 20°C in mountain regions and 26°C to 30°C in the coastal region. Highest tourist season is from mid July till mid August, and usually not so easy to find accommodation (if not pre booked) and you will find a lot of traffic on the road, which can be dangerous as there are many foreign drivers who don’t know the roads.
Croatia is a safe country. While we always give locks and urge our customers to lock the bikes, for now it never happened there was a bike or something stolen from the bike. Of course, this does not mean you can leave your bike unlocked wherever you want!
The most spoken foreign language in Croatia is English. The younger generation speaks English and in all hotels, shops and drug stores English is spoken. German and Italian is also well spoken all over Croatia. In Dalmatia, older people speak fluent German and don’t really understand much of English. But don’t worry, Croatian people are very friendly and will try to help you however they know. Sometimes they will have to use the language of hands but it will work!
If you are riding on the mainland of Dalmatia, you have to be aware there are a lot of cars on the coastal road from Zadar to Dubrovnik. If you are biking into Dubrovnik you have to be aware that this is the only road for now (there are no back roads, and highway planned for 2014 is still not finished) and that all the cars have to use this road. There are back roads which we suggest to use rather than staying on the main road. The roads on Dalmatian (Croatian) Islands are generally not busy, except in the high tourist season (mid July – mid Oct).
If you are riding a mountain bike on the gravel trails and paths be aware that Dalmatian coast is mostly consisting of limestone. Therefore all this mountain bike paths will be quite rocky – small pebble and small rocks!
Swimming is possible everywhere you can get in! There are no hazards such as sharks or jelly fish!
While you are biking in Croatia, you might wish to try some of the local food and specialties. Natural and healthy Mediterranean food can be found especially on the Islands, food that is rich with vegetables, olive oil, fish, shells, wine, goat and sheep cheese, citrus fruit, marasca cherries, grapes, figs and almonds. Mediterranean food is considered to be extremely healthy. Vegetables are cooked in small amounts of water and spiced with olive oil and herbs such as rosemary, sage, basil and marjoram. The fish is prepared as a fish stew -brodetto or gregada(typical for the Island Hvar), boiled or grilled, while meat or octopus made under a iron bell (Peka) with burning coals around it and has a unique flavor. Different kinds of cheese, such as smoked, young (this year’s cheese) or oiled one are served as appetizers with prosciutto ham and olives. Even though it is recommended to take fresh or dry fruit for desert there are also all kinds of pastries made from fruit and different kinds of nuts. And of course, one thing you cannot avoid whether eating salty or sweet food is the quality Croatian wine. Well recognized are Istrian wines such as Malvazija, Zlahtina and Merlot, and in Dalmatia Posip, Rukatac (white wines from Korcula area) and Plavac Mali, Dingac (red wine). Babic is a famous wine from Primosten area.
If you are doing a bike tour on your own in Croatia and want to cross from one island to another, you can find sometimes some private boats, which offer daily excursions and will take you and bikes on the boat! Otherwise, you can check all the ferries on web page: www.jadrolinija.hr Please note, that bikes are not allowed on catamarans!
Another great option is to bike and camp in Croatia. You can check this site for more info: http://www.camping.hr/
Paved roads in Croatia and on our islands are generally in very good conditions! All the towns and villages are signed and it is easy to get from one place to another.
Driving in Croatia is on the right hand side.
Call 112 in the following cases:
- if you need urgent or vital medical assistance;
- for assistance of fire fighting services;
- for assistance of mountain rescue services;
General cycling tips
Always wear a helmet!
It is important to maintain the proper level of hydration when bicycling. During a multi-day bicycle tours, it is easy to become partially dehydrated. If that happens, you will have less power, will be less efficient and are more likely to get sick or have heat related problems. Drink before the ride(starting the day with juice or water with breakfast), Make sure you drink enough during the ride(1 bottle per hour at a minimum) and drink after the ride! Tap water is drinkable in Croatia. Make sure you always have enough water before your ride. Carry food and a couple of water bottles so that you can eat and drink at regular intervals..
Keep your tires inflated to the limit indicated on the side of the tire. An under-inflated tire requires more effort to turn and is more prone to blowouts.
If riding in group, ride in single file
Avoid pulling too hard on the front brake lever. Brake smoothly! Hard braking is a common cause of cycling injuries. This can cause the brakes to lock and the rider to fall over the handlebars
When cycling past parked cars try to give them a buffer of at least one meter (three feet) in case a door is suddenly opened, otherwise you may take the door prize.
Don’t forget sunscreens
Don’t wear headphones. You need to hear what’s going on around you.
Flag your intention to turn by hand signaling
Ride in a predictable way, about one meter out from parked cars.
Always wear brightly colored clothing. It is harder for motorists to see you if you are dressed in dark or dull colors. Fluorescent fabrics markedly increase your visibility to other road users.
When in doubt, walk. Biking can really be dangerous. If a hill looks too steep or a curve too tricky, get off.
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