Trip Report: The Rise in Split
Back in September, Plonka went on a trip to Europe to visit some of the homies. Biking often takes you to amazing places and this trip to Croatia was no exception. Hit the Read More link for a full trip report and pictures!
This past fall, Michel decided to take a trip to Europe to come visit the homies in Salzburg, Austria. We picked him up at the airport in Munich, which is 2 hours away from the SBG. Michel's plane arrived in the late afternoon and we were not really sure at which gate he would land so it was a freestyle mission. We parked the car, looked around the whole place but couldn’t find him, walked through the airport again and again, asked the airport staff to make a call in the whole airport but no result. Walter went for a last look around the airport and suddenly, there he was! Michel, with his slightly, curly, medium long hair, thin like a little snail, chilling with his earphones like an idiot so he couldn’t hear shit.
Then, I drove us to Walter's apartment in Salzburg where we chilled for a couple days. Unfortunately, I had to work for another week before I could get some time off but that was no big deal. On the weekend, we headed to a little BMX contest in Innsbruck and went to some crazy parties, met some crazy people, drank a lot of alcohol and rode some street with everyone. Innsbruck has some insane street spots! The best spot is right in the middle of the city: it’s a huge skate plaza with a lot of transitions, weird shapes and manual pads and you can’t get kicked out of it. Although the riding was not too good since everybody was hungover as fuck because of the partying from the past couple days, we had a lot of fun hanging out and riding bikes with the locals.
The whole weekend, we were trying to figure out what to do and where to go for the upcoming week. Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Tschech Republic, everything was possible since as crazy as it sounds, Austria is surrounded by 7 countries. After debating to figure out a cheap place with good weather, it was obvious that we had to make the drive to Split, Croatia.
Couple days later, we were about to go on a 915 kilometers drive. Fabian Stobbe (aka Fabedog) and myself took off from Innsbruck at 4 AM and drove two hours towards Salzburg to pick up Walter and Michel with all their stuff, including lot of other shit no one needed but we had to take it because Walter told us to. After a quick McDonalds breakfast, we were on our way. John drove all the way from Innsbruck to Villach a town is close to the Slovenian border (editor’s note: John is no stranger to the steering wheel. He keeps winning every Austrian Go-Kart championship). In Villach, we stopped to get some more petrol and some more food because you must know that McDonald’s food doesn’t fill you up for very long. At 9 AM, Fabedog took over the steering wheel and we drove nearly nonstop after that. We drove relatively fast on the beautiful highway heading to Zdar which is an hour away from Split. The landscape was slowly changing from Austrian mountains to the typical summer Mediterranean Sea atmosphere. After a last stop to grab some food, I drove the last 150 kilometers. Everyone was tired from the 12-hour drive, but the vibe quickly changed as we arrived to that beautiful city called Split.
As soon as we got to the center of the city, we found a sketchy spot to park the car and started looking for information. We found WIFI hotspots, and ended up staying there for 30 minutes as some looked for hostels and informations while others are in love with social networks.
We then walked to the closest hotel but they had no more room for four people. We walked through the area for a bit en ended up finding a nice and cheap hostel that had a room ready for us with 2 small bunkbeds. After renting the room, we walked to the car to get our stuff, built our bikes and got back to the hotel to drop our luggage. For the rest of the day, we walked around the city with a well deserved beer looking for spots and chilling.
At one point, the chilling time almost became more important than the riding time since Split is such an amazing place to cruise around and relax. We spent a lot of time swimming and exploring everything Split has to offer but still managed to stack some good clips. Even with two hurt people aboard, we made it twice around the hole city. The riding was kind of like in Barcelona, it’s always uphill or downhill, so your shoes get a little bit fucked up when you don’t use brakes. You can ride absolutely everywhere and no one will come to disturb you. The city has some beautiful places like this huge park on the one side of the city with a bikelane all the way through. Green trees, blue sea, silence and just a few people made it a really relaxing place. We cruised through on the bikes and chilled there for a while.
The Croatian sea was just amazing. From blue to green and purple, all colors you can imagine are are in the water. During the whole trip, we had between 15 and 30 degrees which is just perfect to ride bikes, swim and chill by the sea. The water was perfect to drop in too! If you plan on visiting Split, make sure to bring your diving goggles to check out what is going on under the water. There were also some little fish that would bite you in the water which was hard to get used to.
Split is just amazing, so many spots to shred! From bad ass huge gaps to leadges, stairs and rails, there are spots everywhere. The first spot we got to ride on was this big Olympic Center. Banks, drops, stairs and curbs everywhere around that place. We started riding at that big white bank which was a little bit slippery. The first thing Michel wanted to have on tape was a footjam on a porthole window on that bank. The run in was down a double set of stairs which was pretty sketchy but he made it and went for the footjam. Sadly, he crashed and twisted his knee which was harmed a couple of times before. Michel was out of the game. He nearly couldn’t walk, so plans of filming a bikecheck video vanished. Couple days later, we made the best with what we had so we headed to the sea and took photos for a bikecheck with Michel´s new ride.
Walter also had issues with his leg as it was still swollen from a crash he had in Innsbruck a week before. He was able to ride but he was always feeling pain in his leg so he just rode when there was a really good spot. Walter always stacks some good clips and although he was injured, he rode as much as he could and as good he could.
Fabedog found a big gap to wallride and told me to do it so I went for it. I tried it a couple of times but but it wasn’t working too good. My tires always popped off the rim under the impact so after 4 flat tires, I decided to give up and we had no more tubes left. See Video.
When Fabedog is not on facebook, he can ride bikes pretty good!
We had lots of fun and we tried almost every beer Split had to offer. Even that“Deep” beer, a 2 liter plastic bottle that only costed a couple cents. Fabedog and I made it through the whole bottle but it was discusting.
The night life is like it should be in a touristic city. Different people speaking different languages and bars everywhere with Live music played on the streets to keep the crowd happy.
As you may have realized at the beginning of the article that we were always hungry. Eating was a thing we became pros in! We found the sickest burger place which was called “Medenis”.
Every little fast food thing you can imagine, they had it. Normal burgers, Cheeseburgers, Tacos, Fries, Pizzas, Kebabs, everything. Some days we went there twice because it was cheap, big and amazing. I think the “Mendenis Burger” was on our plates everyday. Simply a delicious huge burger that fills you up really good so you’re ready to shred!
Overall, this trip was a blast despite half of us being injured. We didn't ride bikes as much as we would have liked to, but it was definitely worth it to visit a place like rhat. Split has a lot to offer, definitely considering another trip to explore more Croatian land!
Words by John New
Edited by Michel Plonka