This blog post was copied from www.travellinghewitts.com – the blog I maintained between 2015 and 2018 with Lena, my now ex-wife who I was travelling with at the time. I have no intention of going through the old posts to update them – the past is what it is and doesn’t change. Apologies if some of the context seems a little strange as a result!
On Saturday we did our first (and probably only, for this trip) planned off-road jaunt. Despite some nerves from Lena stemming from our earlier experiences at Blue Eye and on the SH74 she charged into it. Even though following the route I had planned led us up, up, up and up a windy tarmac road to get to the start point. My promise “it’s an old railway, it’ll be nice and flat” didn’t turn out quite as true as I had hoped. After the windy road we wound our way a little further up a gravel track. I was beginning to get a little worried – not about the track but about getting my ass kicked by Lena for leading her into another off-road descent.
What goes up must come down – but this time it didn’t fall down! Once we reached the summit I suggested a little break to compose ourselves – the answer was a concrete “no”. Lena was on a mission and nothing was getting in her way! Our pace wasn’t going to get us into the Dakar rally any time soon but damn, I was impressed. No waddling down the hill, no panicked handfuls of front brake – no problems at all! We steadily descended about 600m of gravel, some of it quite steep – including a number of hairpins. In fact I think I came closer to ditching Tigs in the dirt than Lena did Knfu.
At the end of it we discovered that we could have taken a different route by tarmac roads and got to the start point far, far easier – but I wouldn’t change that for the world. We defeated a phobia. The GPX file is linked below, if you’d prefer to skip the hill and do the easy / fun part – the railway itself – then the map below should give you all the info you need.
Once we were down on level ground by the river – the railway track itself – it was a great ride for a pair of novices. We had the track to ourselves, it follows a beautiful valley and the experience of riding though maybe 10 old railway tunnels is worth it on it’s own. They’re quite narrow and very dark – they don’t follow a straight line so once you’re in you can be cornering and changing height; unable to see either end. The going is good on the track – inside the tunnels things are a little slippy and gave us a few frights but anyone on any machine with any tyres could make it on a dry day with a little care. I would feel a bit uncertain about it on a wet day with dedicated road tyres, I suspect rain runs down the tunnels. Our K60s were easily up to it.
I’m not usually one to enthuse about the sound of a motorcycle, I’d generally prefer a silent bike, but revving a triple hard in an abandoned train tunnel makes an amazing noise.
Sadly I’ve still been unable to find a cable for my Garmin VIRB – despite an extensive search – so I have no video. I did take some on the DSLR, mounted to my handlebars, but my editing software won’t load the files and I can’t be doing with converting things until I get back. Like the paragliding – video to follow.
All credit to HUBB member KTiM who, as well as having an awesome name, pointed me in the direction of this track and was kind enough to share his GPX file of his whole tour so I could create a track to follow in BaseCamp, which worked really well even with a road-biased GPS like my 590LM. I’ll put together a guide to doing this as BaseCamp can be horribly confusing.
Eastern Bosnian Railway (GPX) 42km. Our actual route is marked in the grey with the red arrows. The big red arrow indicates the easy start point which seemed to be connected to the road to the east by track.