The Longest Ride

 Hercegovacka Gracanica, Serbian Orthodox monastery – atop the Crkvina Hill – two kilometres away from Trebinje town centre  David Bugeja (c) 2018

Cycling day and night

I fronted up at the Hotel Leotar in Trebinje town centre on August 16, 2017 at 2.15 am.

Just shy of two hundred cycled kilometres from Medjugorje in southwestern Bosnia.

I had crossed the border into Croatia at Metkovic, then trekked solo along the Jadranska Magistrala all the way to Dubrovnik before I quit the coast and headed back inland into southeastern Bosnia on the lookout (desperate) for a place to stay the night.

I had gone almost twenty-four hours without sleep and had been on the road since 6.15 am of the previous day.

Ten and a half hours in the saddle and a five hour stay out of the sun stopover (11.30 am – 4.30 pm) at Ston on the Croatian coast plus three wasted hours (8.30 pm – 11.30 pm) ditched on an idiot’s search for accommodation in Dubrovnik and a final two and a half hour ride to Trebinje (11.30 pm – 2 am):

I hugged the edge of the two, three, four hundred metre cliff drop coast road and wound round an endless sequence of hairpin turns on this steep rising, pitch black Croatian highway – jaw-dropping scenic if cycled by day but death wish treacherous if stranded out there still in the saddle by night – ending my journey with a pitch black twenty-five kilometre  stretch of  road on the Bosnian M20 motorway. Read More

Valletta to Medjugorje by Bicycle after Skin Cancer – Ride across Sicily

Last day in Sicily – 5 am Sunrise over  Calabria, as I ride from Acicastello to Villa San Giovanni before the day’s heat and sun start to kick in.  David Bugeja (c) 2018

July 9, 2017, Sunday, 11.35 am  I  push on down the street and force a heavy step forward and grasp the slipping string handles of two recycled grocery bags (one in each hand) tight and sweaty, as I  trudge back along Via Scalia to Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele in the forty centigrade heatwave gripping Pachino.

The heat has settled in and is here to stay till summer’s out.

Drained and dejected and worried about the sun. Should I be doing this after melanoma? Read More

Medjugorje after Melanoma

Sunrise over Kruzevac (Cross Mountain), Medjugorje  David Bugeja (c) 2017

Melanoma challenged me.

Pick up the pieces, adapt to the new status quo and get back to a life worth living.

But do get back and never let any doctor, any friend or anyone else for that matter tell you what you should do or can do or ought to be doing.

Oh yes, after cancer struck, I was forced to overhaul my summer cycling routine, especially since I was determined to keep on with wandering across southern and Balkan Europe during the torrid summer months, when average UV index levels hover above the 11+ mark.  I teach chemistry and summer is the only time I get the chance to leave Malta  for many weeks at a stretch and do my thing.

The time I cycle, the gear I wear, even the type of bike I ride and the sum total of luggage I could now afford to carry along with me had to change.

But hey, I still was cycling and I still was riding alone as in my life before cancer.

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