27 Jul 2007

Canyoning's not the only dangerously stupid thing we've done recently. Fresh off the ferry at Hvar with a shiny new tent and a sense of adventure, we opt to hire mountainbikes and ride to the campsite instead of waiting an hour for the 2:50pm bus. The map says it's only 4km. That's eight minutes on our Allegros, and certainly no more than fifteen on the halfway-decent bikes they give us.

Of course, if we'd used the map for anything other than a distance estimate, we'd have seen the little triangle between us and Vira, or noticed the relief shading.. which is the only kind of shade there is on Hvar.

It's "only" 36 degrees, but there's not a cloud in sight and the road's totally exposed to the merciless midday sun. With two 10kg packs and just over a litre of water between us, the results are predictable.

I slog up the first few curves, preferring speed to get it over with quickly. I lose Lyn and stop, and am preparing to ride back down when she appears, gasping, "I don't think I can do this". But we've prepaid a full day on the bikes, so against our better judgment we push on.

Half a litre of water. GPS says 3.6km remain.

One more stop and we're out of water, adjacent to the fortress overlooking the town. Through an accident of routing, even GPS is telling us to turn back. It occurs to me that we haven't seen another pushbike since we arrived. I'm becoming increasingly concerned about heatstroke.

There's no longer a question. Even if we made it, we'd still have to ride back to town, and then back again in the evening. We turn around and creep back to town, hands cramping. I catch a whiff of burning rubber as the brake blocks on Lyn's bike begin to melt, and pull in front of her so that at least there'll be something to stop her.

We ditch the bikes, catch the 4pm bus to camp, and live to ride another day.

Murphy's Law of Vehicle Hire:
Don't hire it if no one else has.