Category: Tour planning

We move easily from Slovenia to Croatia, as if the border is little more than a nod toward history. We try to keep in our sight that there is a story here of humanity and politics and deep culture. The terrain and joy of pedaling pushes against us, for weeks our track will thread dazzling diverse terrain: tree cover on Istria, cracked white rock on the islands, dry mountain windskimmed ridges.

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We’ve been navigating using Komoot, a sophisticated adventure planning program with a very tidy web interface and the nicest smartphone app in the genre. While planning this trip, I first just clicked on Illirska Bistrica and Split and indicated that we would be on mountain bikes. That yielded a route that I would eventually tinker with a great deal, but it was remarkable from the start that Komoot chose small roads and tracks just as I would have wanted it to. I’ve tested the site closer to home where I know the roads well and can confirm that, if you do nothing and leave the route creation to Komoot’s route engine, you will yield a very nice ride.

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The app is intuitive and beautiful. During navigation, it will record the usual trip statistics and will project your position on the downloaded background map in a way that is easy to work with. Once the tour is finished, photos can be uploaded and linked to specific locations on the route. In another nice feature, you can mark highlights on a route which will then be used to help create future routes in the area. The more users indicate highlights, the better the Komoot route engine will be.

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Villa O’Higgins to Chalten

Villa O’Higgins, a proudly end of the road town, angled cooked dirt streets desert thorny plants growing along paths linking the tiendas, the horsetack shop, a panaderia, a smart looking new community activity center. Curious, on surface empty but folks hiding from heat or the appearance of bustle, the border beyond and across no mans lakes and glaciated cragtops witness to the imaginary boundary between Chile and Argentina. I book passage on the two ferries for the next day, return to the hostal with cyclistas and mountaineers loitering against the boat schedule, each eyeing the other friendly cautiously suspiciously across the sport divide, climbers not nearly as cool as they hope and cyclists far dorkier than they realize. Swiss friends roll up in the afternoon, we drink tea and beer alternately, talk about nexts or who we are returning to and when.