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BOSNIA BIKEPACKING // RECCE TOUR

...the recce of our four-day Bosnia bikepacking tour, through the Dinaric Mountains. Expect remote roads, rakija, pita, ćejf, nomadic villages and huts, 1984 Olympic infrastructure, and a very modern history...

The six of us packed bikes against scarred, bullet-ridden walls in the square we were staying in, before taking the cable car up Trebevic mountain to one of the brutalist concrete stars of Sarajevo’s Winter Olympic 1984 infrastructure – the bobsled track winding its way through the forest. Apparently the Strava record, is 1.20. You can try for yourself. From this panorama over Bosnia’s capital city, you could really understand how vulnerable she sat in the 1900s. Look left, look right and there was evidence of the siege, and ongoing war, especially on the gravel descent past, and through, shelled buildings on our way back through the centre, before ending up at the airport fence where the Tunnel of Hope laid, beneath our rubber and cleats.

We’ve called this tour the Hope Route, in homage to the Tunnel (and Route) of Hope that ran beneath the airport runway, which Bosnian’s took to escape Sarajevo in the first place, and then get themselves & supplies in-and-out of the surrounded under-siege city during the war. This pocket of land to the south-west of the city was held, and the gravel road into the Bjelasnica Mountains we follow was the one dangerous war route in and out, pretty much all the way to General Tito’s Bunker where the four-day bike packing tour ends…

In such a small space of time, we ride through a variety of mountain ranges – the collective name of which would be the Dinaric Mountains – from Igman, to Bjelasnica, to Rakitnica, Visocica … with the Prenja range – The Bosnian Himalayas – hovering on the horizon. Autumn is a splendid time to visit; golds, ambers, purples, and greens I’d never seen so vibrant. And to make it better, we were riding the quiet, remote roads that slithered and cut their way through these landscapes, with villages like Lukomir – a nomadic shepherds village at the high-point of the trip, where we spend one of our nights feasting on home-made pita and sinking pivot or rakija, or both – the literal lights at the end of our tracks…

voile, Pannier

PANNIER x VOILE 20″ STRAP

Our Custom Pannier.cc x Voile 20" Bikepacking Strap...

£9.50
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Pannier

PANNIER DANGLE-MUG

Our original Pannier Enamel Camp Mug, for your cycling and bikepacking adventures...

£15.00
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Revelate Designs

Mag Tank Bag

A handy, even easier to access, top tube bag from Revelate Designs...

£59.00
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Tito’s Bunker. Now this is a story. General Tito (1892 – 1980) was Prime Minister and President of former Yugoslavia. Our route is effectively his escape route, from Sarajevo to this incredible nuclear-safe-house he built in the side of the mountains, for 26 years (1953-1979). The bunker was located near the town of Konijc because it was a central location for all six republics in former Yugoslavia, which incorporated over 20 million people. Only a crack team of engineers knew about the nuclear bunker: they told workers that they were building an extension to an ammunition factory; everyone signed NDA agreements; no one knew eachothers names; fishing on the adjacent river and hiking was banned; and…. they even disorientated the workers by driving them in circles through the mountains in windowless trucks for much longer than it took to get from Konijc. People only found out about the Bunker in 2011(!), and now you can visit this incredible under-mountain town where 16 officers were sent to live and prep for 350 people living there. The bunker was never needed, and in 1992 Yugoslavia was divided rendering it even further redundant…

Bosnia. An immersive, interesting, beautiful, wild, raw experience by bike. Join us in 2020…

CREDITS

Words
Stefan Amato

Photos
Jordan Gibbons

Tourers
Thierry Joubert
Loren Keserovic
Stefan Amato
David Sear
Jordan Gibbons

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