The BC 2014 “Balkanica or the Western Balkans” attracted 56 participants from 9 countries: Poland – 23, Germany – 11, Lithuania – 11, by 2 from Austria, Croatia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States and 1 from Italy. Women – 21, men – 35. The youngest participant was 13 years old and the oldest 79.
On the average during the whole ride we had in the group 31 people every day; the biggest number varying from 40 to 30 was on the first part of the route from Austria to Montenegro; in Kosovo and Albania the number was decreasing – from 28 to 21 at the end in Corfu. 16 participants completed the whole ride making the route of 2721 km.
The mountainous route was not easy for everyone. But stunning landscapes and scenic roads following us every day were giving joy to our hearts and eyes. We were lucky with the weather: at the beginning of the expedition the expected heat was cooled by scattered showers; later the heat was not extreme, and long cool mornings gave a chance to make the main part of the day distance early. Only once we had a strong head wind. Everything went smoothly according the plan.
We visited 9 countries, crossing 13 international borders. We got permits and entered Kosovo through the closed after the war border cycling the challenging Čakor Pass. Five countries on our route were new in the BaltiCCycle history.
We had 7 debutants and 19 veterans in the group. We should say that the group was very experienced and we had no one bike broken and no accidents on the road! Only some viruses attacked, and many people got sick by diarrhoea. We had again a cook. Gintas, our driver, served breakfasts and suppers, and the majority of the group used to eat at his mobile kitchen.
We would like to thank those who helped to organise the ride. It was a big pleasure to be hosted by Martin friend’s family in Egg am Faaker See. We are glad to acknowledge some local cyclists. Tihomir from Bosnia gave many advices regarding the route; also Maksim and Ivan from Croatia recommended some trails and guided the group from Zagreb to the nice camp at Korana River. We will not forget a warm welcome in Bosnia organised by Italian lady Paola, and our host family in Martin Brod for a wonderful local food and a morning walk among waterfalls. Our sincere appreciation is extended to the BC friend Vidmantas for his infinite enthusiasm to organise a big welcome in Albania. He involved the National Tourism Agency and Police to follow our route and prepare program and sleeping places for us. Tirana TV made a big report about our expedition. It was great! Thanks also go to Kujtim Onuzi for providing us with the newest Albanian cycling maps and recommendations along our route and Emir Feratovic for assiting in getting permits to Čakor Pass.