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Mountain biking in Bulgaria

Whether you are new to cycling, or already a keen enthusiast, Bulgaria has much to offer - with its varying terrain and unspoiled countryside perfect to entice you to either pop to the shops or wander round the lanes from village to village, exploring all day…

Beginners will love the lack of traffic on the minor roads, which in places can be so quiet that those used to roads in the UK will be very pleasantly surprised.  Many people have given up riding on the roads in the UK as they are so dangerous and unpleasant, but here have rediscovered the joys of riding through the countryside on tarmac, safe and speedy.  Bulgarian drivers get a bad press, but away from the main roads they are much better and give cyclists more consideration than many.  Mind out for the potholes, although by traveling slower, you’ll avoid most of them. Then you can settle into the laid back lifestyle of rural Bulgaria, really getting the smell and feel of it, like no other means of transport.

You might like to bring your bike with you, but there are plenty available on sale here, with the 2 main Bulgarian brands, RAM and Drag offering excellent value and good enough to win comparison tests in the UK cycling press.  For those starting out, or away from bikes for a long time, you’ll need to spend at least 250 euro for something suitable for even occasional use.  Anything less and you’ll end up with something heavy, inefficient and that will wear out in no time.  Except it probably won’t as it will be so unpleasant to ride, it’ll probably be left at the back of the shed, used once.  So, especially if you aren’t fit, consider making the pedaling a bit easier with some proper kit that will be a pleasure to ride.  And as your weight is supported by the bike, cycling is one of the better, low-impact ways to get in shape.

Something like this might be ideal  from screambikes and if you can avoid suspension then so much the better as it’s more of a hindrance than a help at this sort of money.  Get the dealer to swap the tyres for something more road-biased to make pedaling even easier, unless you are planning to head for the mudbath.

Keener riders and Mountain Bikers in particular will be truly delighted at the freedom on offer  – no fences or access restrictions here and you can ride wherever there’s a track, sheep trail  or footpath that you can manage.  Walking was very popular in Communist times, so there are plenty of well-marked walking trails and though now the walkers have gone, they’re great for bikes!  And the very varied terrain that Bulgaria is blessed with means everyone can find tracks to match their abilities, or even just their aspirations….Plenty of  new ‘eco-trails’ are popping up which are perfect for us and in some fabulously beautiful places, which you can enjoy without pollution or disturbance. Biking in Bulgaria at all times of yeaer brings a freedom where you are away with your own thoughts. Beautiful winding woodland tracks which carve through silent forests appeal to all ages as you can go at any pace you like - great for families and all from age six to sixty!

For those who only like to cycle downhill, many of the ski-lifts operate during the summer, carrying bikes and their grateful riders up, either to race down in full-armour at 100kph or tiptoe down and gently roll along the tracks….. Mt Vitosha , by Sofia, is particularly well-served.  Mountain biking is understandably growing in popularity here, groups like bike area arrange interesting tours as well as some smaller bespoke outfits like  Little Spring in Bulgaria , which organise delightful biking holidays along miles of stunning landscape. And bike shops are springing up all the time – even Sofia now has some cycle lanes!

See you out there and ‘May the wind be behind you’………