One of the most spectacular mountain biking trails near me is, in fact, this astonishing national park I visited on school trips.Jovan Radnic, author of this blog post
Ever since we launched Meanderbug, we have received many comments from bikers praising National Park Biogradska Gora. One of the last three virgin forests in Europe, it is a great location for mountain biking due to its terrain consisting of mountain ridges, glacial lakes, and lush forests.
Founder of Meanderbug, Brit Boone, along with a couple of friends and always-ready-adventurers from the United States, Tim Rumfeldt and Jim Rancourt, set out on a night mountain biking adventure. The adventure was conceived by local MTB aficionado, Stefan Jankovic. He and Brit day-tested the bike route along with Jurica, a local bike shop owner. With the plan and test run complete, a couple more locals were recruited adding Stefan Rakovic and Radomir Pesic to the happy band of MTB adventurers.
The plan was for the group to do the ride while also using the “hut to hut” concept and stopping by at our partners’ katuns to overnight so that they could experience the local culture and cuisine.
Clueless about mountain biking trails around me, I decided to ask them questions about this unique adventure and the trails they rode on in the heart of the national park, so that I could try and replicate their adventure with my friends.
It only takes you a minute to sense that you’re in the middle of something truly ancient.
Question: Stefan, you are a local guide and you were also planning this adventure. What’s the idea behind this? What made you think of night mountain biking and suggest it be documented in a video form?
Stefan: I have always been into astrography and biking in the mountains with virtually no light pollution, and it seemed like an awesome idea. The night sky didn’t disappoint!
Question: Night mountain biking is an adventure in itself, yet you guys decided to also do hut to hut. What made you pick NP Biogradska Gora for this adventure?
Jim: The selection of NP Biogradska Gora came as highly recommended by our trusty guide and adventure planner.
A quick Google search of the National Park reveals why that is a great mountain biking location: mountain slopes, glacial lakes, untouched forest, biodiversity, and a great resting spot at Lake Biograd.
Tim: I was introduced to the idea of an adventure trip to Montenegro by a friend, who has a friend who operates Meanderbug. Since I like to do new and different things in rural mountain settings, I was intrigued. Reviewing Meanderbug’s website really sealed the deal on going.
Our host selected National Park Biogradska Gora and the huts we stayed in, as part of our rural mountain biking/hiking experience. Our location was exceptionally beautiful and our hut hosts were welcoming as well as generous.
Working with locals, we have been developing a hut network here for a couple of years now. We’re excited about how this is coming together, but still see so much that can be done with trail development. We’re working to add more partners, and we are even in conversations about helping blaze new trails here in the future.Brit
Question: How long is the route you took and how does the hut to hut concept complement this experience?
Brit: This night ride was actually part of a multi-day adventure. But the distance we rode on the night ride was 5 km (~3 miles) as part of a 20+ km (12.5 miles) ride. We stayed the first night at Pesic Katun and then climbed approximately 2 km (~1.2 miles) from there up to the start on Zekova Glava during the late afternoon. Then we began our night ride as the sun was fading. We finished this night ride at Rakovic Katun and had a big farm to table dinner to celebrate.
Stefan: Hut to hut makes this adventure possible. Without it, all of the routes become too remote. This way, you not only get to experience the nature but also the indigenous way of life as well.
Jim: We had no intention of turning beautiful days into a “race.” In terms of distance, I tend to measure everything but on this trip I did not focus on that.
I estimate in a typical day we rode maybe 15 to 20 miles on a variety of terrains; gravel roads, nice climbs, decent descents, with great views always in every direction.
The hut-to-hut is icing on the cake. The farm stays at the katunsJim about hut to hut in Montenegro
was a great way to finish up a day of biking because the katun
locations are calm and are in beautiful settings. The natural experiences of the day extend into the evening, nighttime, and following morning, the food was tasty and plentiful, and the hosts were each so gracious.
Question: You’ve had experience with mountain biking before so you may be able to say – how difficult is the route you took? Can a beginner do it?
There I was, in a strange location, in a foreign country, riding a bike I was new to, only really knew one person in the group and I was about to ride down a rugged mountain road in the dark with head/handle bar lamps. What could go wrong? Well, I thought I handled it quite well with no damage to myself, the bike or the people around me. Yes, I think a beginner could do this ride if they are reasonably fit, have competent biking skills, can handle being in the dark with a narrow beam of light to go by and a sense of adventure heading into the unknown.Tim
Stefan: The route is a light XC trail with enough inclination to make it feel like an accomplishment, but easy enough to let you enjoy the whole experience.
The route we took was also difficult in some spots. Several of the climbs took my stubborn self several attacks to conquer. Some, I could not conquer which for me is also rewarding because it proves that I can improve. One of the very steep descents [on a day ride] that the guide readily rode, I could not do. This may have been as much physical as mental, maybe simply self-preservation. I am not sorry that I walked it and if we spent a bit more time in that spot I do expect that I would have gotten to a point that I rode that descent. But that was not important to me. I was not there to prove anything to anyone and was not there to make sure I “did it all.” My goal was to experience the Montenegro environment with friends.Jim
Question: What’s the best way to describe the experience you had?
Brit: I absolutely love being in the Montenegrin mountains and enjoying the scenic beauty of the landscape and the generous hospitality of the locals. To add the adventure of riding on a bike at night, it was an incredible experience.
Stefan: 10/10. It was incredibly fun.
Jim: The mountain biking, nighttime mountain biking, and katun-to-katun farm stays were all too short. We should have stayed longer, biked more, stayed perhaps a second night at some of the katuns and explored the local area on bike or by hiking. The trip was relaxing and refreshing. We walked and explored communities and were able to avoid high-traffic tourist areas completely.
Tim: It was a wonderful overall experience. I would highly recommend Montenegro for a beautiful and challenging outdoor adventure. I look forward to booking a future adventure exploring more of the beautiful Balkan countryside.
I would call it a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, but I am hopeful to have friends asking me if I’ll join them on the ride again soon.Brit
In the whole process of finding mountain biking trails near me and researching material for this blog post, I have come to a realization that it’s not just an adventure in the breath-taking environment but also a chance to create unforgettable memories with your friends.
These mountain trails near me are a great choice if you want to bike in Montenegro. We even have hut to hut in Biogradska Gora suggestions here.