Nerves of Steel
DAY 9: PIROVAC – SPLIT
My first impression of Split is . An excursion to one of the most bike-hostile places I’ve been to. (12/2/15)
When a 25 meter truck overtakes you at 80 kph, you feel it. Not only does it make an ear deafening sound (often accompanied by a strong horn), but you also feel the air pressure. The truck literally sucks you towards it for a second, you have to steer against that. If you’re lucky, you can take advantage of this wind shadow and gain pace. If you’re not, you’re going to leave the road involuntarily.
Today there was just too much traffic. Maybe that’s because it’s a regular weekday, maybe it’s because I’m in between the two major cities Zadar and Split. But it feels like there’s millions of cars on the road. It’s not that I don’t feel safe–wearing my bright orange vest and all–but it’s kind of psycho terror to share the road with that many metal boxes on wheels.
I mean, I can’t complain about the scenery. Croatia is constantly beautiful–with changing landscapes every day. And one majestic coast road.
Starting the day with sunrise breakfast at the water did not feel too bad either.
“Only a bunch of people cycle around Split”
Split welcomes me with a traffic avalanche. A narrow road leads me into the city, where it becomes a six-lane car way. It’s getting dark already, and I am reluctant on using this road. I decide for the footpath next to it, which is more of a narrow trail with lots of broken glass on it. It takes me a while hour to make it through the city to my host Tomislav’s place.
“Nerves of steel”, he says, is what you need to cycle the streets of Split. “Only me and a bunch of other weirdoes cycle around here”, he says sarcastically. Having just returned from a 10.000 km trip around Europe, the bike is his preferred mode of transportation. Recently, the city even opened its first bike lane. “It’s 250m long and leads nowhere”, he laughs, “but now the city claims to be bike-friendly.”
Tomo recommends taking a ferry to Korcula, an island South of Split, where the water is supposed to be crystal clear and there’s virtually no traffic. I take his advice. I’ve had enough cars for now.