† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.
OVERVIEW: This new 15 day/14 night tour travels through remote mountain ranges of 3 Balkan countries: Albania (7 days), North Macedonia (1 day), and Montenegro (7 days). Logistical support is provided by Cycle Albania, a tour company who has worked with BAC for two previously well-regarded tours in Albania. These countries offer diverse cultures, incredible natural scenery, and an opportunity to travel through mountainous gems. This demanding tour requires 12 cycling days through several mountain ranges of Northern Albania and Montenegro. E-bikes are highly recommended.
The tour begins on the outskirts of Tirana, Albania where we cycle the perimeter of Lake Ohrid, the deepest lake in the Balkans and one of the oldest in the world. Containing over 200 endemic species, it is designated as a World Heritage Site. Crossing into N. Macedonia, a visit to the historic lakeside monastery St. Naum is possible before cycling to the city of Ohrid with its cobbled streets, 365 churches and medieval castle. From there we cycle back into Albania and spend the next four days making our way through the mountain ranges of the North, staying in the towns of Peshkopi, Kukes, Dardhe. Day 6 requires a scenic three-hour ferry ride through Koman Lake with its turquoise waters and narrow gorges. This artificial waterway, a hydroelectric project, does not negate the stunning beauty which Bradt Travel guides describe as "one of the world's great boat trips". Our night is in Shkoder, a bustling Northern Albanian city situated on the plateau of vast Lake Shkoder bordering Montenegro. Shkoder is recognized as the cycling capital of Albania.
Leaving Albania behind we cycle into Montenegro, where for the next week we journey to Andrijevica, Kolasin, Zabjak, Pluzine, Cetinje, and Kotor. From high in the inland remote mountains of Montenegro we will visit a ski resort, travel the highest road in Montenegro, enjoy time traveling thru Durmitor National Park and Lovcen National Park. Scenery will include alpine forests, gorges, canyons, rivers, waterfalls and limestone peaks. Descent from the heights takes us to the walled city of Kotor on the Adriatic, where a rest day give legs a respite in this Balkan adventure. Our final day includes a short cycle, followed by transport back to Tirana (~5 hours). The tour officially finishes after breakfast the next day, September 12th. This tour is best enjoyed by culturally curious participants who enjoy mountain environs and are willing to use an e-bike.
HEALTH AND SAFETY: Participants should be vaccinated for Covid and be prepared to present vaccination documentation for viewing by the Ride Leader, if requested.
Participants are expected to come to the tour in good health and ready to ride. Several months in advance of the tour, an infectious disease plan will be developed and communicated. The plan will identify possible actions for dealing with persons with an infectious disease on the tour that could affect their ability to ride or the health of others in the group. The plan will include items such as isolation protocols, testing, masking, distancing, and leaving the tour.
RIDE RATING: 3B! The tour covers approximately 450 cycling miles and with 41,000ft of climbing over 12 riding days. The daily ride averages 37 miles with approximately 3382 ft of climbing. Days exceed the 3B rating are in bold: D2 37mi/1698ft, D3 56mi/2585ft, D4 46mi/5361ft, D5 51mi/6496ft, D6 25mi/1648ft, D7 43mi/4763ft, D8 29mi/3289ft, D9 39mi/5086ft, D10 30mi/2817ft, D11 36mi/3094ft, D12 32mi/2897ft, D14 24mi/794ft. Climbs are substantial on most days and can exceed 8% grade. The route traverses many mountain ranges. Most days will be on relatively quiet roads however when no alternatives exist, we may ride with traffic or limited shoulders. Road pavement is usually good but one should be comfortable with the occasional rougher road. Several short tunnels are on the route and bicycle lights are a required safety item. Van transfers are used to avoid very busy roads or to provide a realistic cycling distance for the day.
CUE SHEETS, MAPS, and GPS files will be provided by Cycle Albania. Travelling in remote areas offers limited services and a significant language barrier. Riders will be dependent on Cycle Albania support for communication and assistance to include regrouping of all participants for daily lunches.
WEATHER: Average temperatures should range from 60F-80F during the day depending on location. In the mountains, it will be cooler than at sea level. One should prepare for heat and cold, and pack gear for potential afternoon showers. September weather in this region is typically quite pleasant as the summer heat subsides.
LODGING & MEALS: This tour includes 14 nights in a variety of accommodation ranging from best in area local hotels to guest houses in remote mountain locations. Due to lodging configuration, acceptance of solo participants is limited. The tour includes most meals: 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 12 group dinners, as well as a daily BAC happy hour with beer, wine, or non-alcoholic beverage.
LOGISTICS: Albania’s Rinas International Airport, also known as the Mother Teresa Airport (TIA) is situated approximately 17 km from Tirana city center. The BAC tour begins August 29, 2024 at Hotel Austria at 4pm in Tirana for the traditional BAC happy hour. The ride ends after breakfast on September 12, 2024 in Tirana. If this is your first time in Albania, consider arriving a day or more in advance to enjoy the sights of the city.
Cycle Albania will have rental e-bikes available for 370 Euros. Participants will make arrangements directly with Cycle Albania. If you plan to ride your own bike on this tour, contact the Ride Coordinator before signing up.
COST & ADMINISTRATION: In addition to the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee of $100, the estimated tour cost is $2850 based on 1 Euro = 1.19 USD and a minimum of 14 participants. The estimated cost includes: 14 nights lodging with 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 12 dinners, daily social hour, van for luggage & emergency support, maps and GPX files, ferry fare, guide gratuities, and a contingency. Once you are accepted on the tour, the deposit of $2000 and BAC Ride fee are due. The final payment of $850 is due by April 1, 2024. Depending on exchange rates, there may be an adjustment in the amount of the final payment.
SOLO & SINGLES POLICY: The Solo Supplement cost is $450 in addition to the per person tour cost. It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own, although the Ride Leader will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the tour. After receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the pending list and given until December 31st, 2023 to find a roommate or potentially be removed if a solo slot is not available. Please note there are limited slots for solos due to lodging configuration. Solo supplement payments must be sent to the BAC office by January 15, 2024. Checks should be made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check, and mailed to: Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.
CANCELLATION POLICY: The BAC Ride Registration Fee and Payment Processing Fees are not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled because the number of participants registered is less than the minimum established for the tour. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
In addition to the BAC Cancellation policy, those who cancel one month prior to the trip departure date may be subject to Cycle Albania's cancellation policy. If a replacement rider is found for the cancelling participant, this will not apply.
CANCELLATION POLICY of Cycle Albania:
31 Days and more before the departure : Free of charge
30 Days to 22 Days before the departure : 25% of the price
21 Days to 15 Days before the departure : 50% of the price
14 Days to 8 Days before the departure : 75% of the price
7 Days to 3 Days before the departure : 90% of the price
Less than 3 Days before the departure : 100% of the price
RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY: Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from the Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and cleanup. Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you might have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.
Before participating in any BAC tour, you should assess whether your medical and travel insurance coverage is sufficient. BAC maintains insurance that covers expenses related to accidents, medical emergencies such as sudden and unexpected sickness, and repatriation. This coverage applies when touring outside the US and your home country, regardless of your nationality. It will cover you door-to-door for a maximum of 90 days but will expire if you make a side trip not related to the BAC tour for more than 7 days before or after. There is limited coverage for a family member to join a covered person in an emergency. The policy covers the cost of treatment for Covid and other unexpected illnesses, but not quarantine. You should ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date. Coverage is subject to a $1000 deductible.
SIGN-UP: To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description. When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List. At that time, you’ll receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and the initial tour deposit of $2000 by credit card. The final payment of $850 is due April 1, 2024. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.
Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510 firstname.lastname@example.org