Report from the road: Italy, Slovenia, Croatia

We’ve adapted this post from a trip report provided by our longtime client, Rob. He captured some great details on the Venice to Trieste and Istria tour, which he took with his travel partner, Valerie, in May 2019. Thanks, Rob, for the synopsis and photos!

After spending the coldest May Day on record in London, we set off for Venice to begin eight days of bicycle touring. [We arrived to] Mestre, the mainland of island Venice.

E-bikes + Travel

Venice is the tiny city in the background

We took early delivery of two top of the line KTM Austrian made e-bikes — state of the art equipment with lighter, but more powerful, batteries, allowing for up to 120km of range. However, riding against the heavy headwinds of the unusually cold spring weather, we were lucky to get 80km per charge. It didn’t take long for us to realize just how good this technology was as we took a pre-tour ride of 35km.

The following day, we opted to ride a rain-soaked route to Venice with several detours due to flooded underpasses and other obstacles. From there we took a ferry to Lido Island and then another ferry, eventually returning to the mainland. The sun came out, and we finished up in a truly unusual beach resort called Jesolo.

Unusual is an understatement. Jesolo is 14km of continuous sand beach with the largest, most neatly arranged stretch of beach chairs and umbrellas…maybe on Earth! [We discovered] 14km of colorful setups 10 lounge chairs and umbrellas deep. My guess was over 10,000 perfectly spaced lounges–yes, 10,000! The parallel street had over 100 assorted 3-star hotels and just as many pizza restaurants.  The whole scene is beyond description, [especially because, being that this was early spring] and cold (58 degrees), the beach was totally empty, and 9 out of 10 hotels were shuttered and closed.

Beautiful and crazy Jesolo
[Here also begins our] endless feast of fried sardines, grilled stuffed squid, cold draft beer, and lite wines I called wine flavored water (with 11% alcohol). Traveling with Valerie meant a stop at every single Roman ruin, ancient church, or historic site. Riding with me added stops at boatyards and old taverns and pubs for seafood snacks. 

Terrain + Navigation

There is a tremendous amount of bicycle infrastructure [throughout this area]. We hardly ever had to ride a trafficked road as there were mostly paved paths, gravel paths, and dirt tracks — all well-signed if you can read the language. The various tour companies have marked their routes with hundreds of round stickers with arrows indicating turns and route directions. It is a little bit like a scavenger hunt with different colors, different arrow designs, different routes.

“A Good Ride”

The ride took in the entire northern end of the Adriatic Sea. There were a total of two short train rides and a handful of boat transfers. After a couple of uneventful days riding through Italy…Venice, Jesolo, Portogruaro, the Island of Grado and then Trieste, we entered Slovenia through some old railway tunnels. [Once we] crossed the border and rolled into Croatia, we were in the very old BC/AD Roman beach town of Porec, with it’s large, well-preserved amphitheater. [Here] the tour came to an end.

Porec’s amphitheater

This tour was around 250 miles. The average day in the saddle was around 35 miles (50km) with a couple of 50 mile (80km) days. We stayed in good quality hotels, had seamless luggage transfers, ate some very good and some unusual foods, and tried many different local beers and wines.

You might say that a good ride was had by all.

 

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