F.A.Q. & Tips – Illyrian Loop

We know that everyone has a different approach to these types of adventures, but generally you probably want to sleep well and have no doubts before tackling a multi-day route. We collected some information in order to help you organize this upcoming Albanian adventure!

Bike – Tyres – Gears:

  • Illyrian Loop is a route for gravel bikes or eventually MTB with fast rolling tyres. The outline follows many off-road paths that are also used by cars or motorbikes. UPDATE: some parts of the route are rougher than expected. MTB would give you max comfort but we anyway recommend you to use 700×50 or 650b with MTB sizing. TUBELESS is the key, low pressure would give more comfort.
  • 42/45/50 mm tyres with mixed or fast rolling nice surface. If wet, some rocky parts can be slippery but we hope for glorious sunshine. We suggest 45mm tyres if you’re used to riding only on smooth gravel.
  • Gearin much lighter than 1:1, I scouted with 40 in the back and 30 in the front. There will also be some steep bits, pushing the bike for 5 minutes it’s no shame and will help you to stretch your legs.

How to reach Albania:

FLYING to Tirane – TIA (Albania)

Probably the cheapest and quickest solution. From the capital city of Albania you will have 100km to cover by bike or Flixbus. The bus heading to Montenegro stops in Shkoder.

FLYING to Tivat – TIV (Montenegro)

Flying to Tivat could be an interesting option if you want to have a warm-up of about 100/150km (depending the route you pick up) through Montenegro and North Albania. The Flixbus from Zagreb to Tirane is eventually stops in Kotor (a dozen km far away from the airport).

FLIXBUShttps://www.flixbus.com/bus/albania

There are various lines that head to Albania but the most active one is the one from Zagreb to Tirane. Always double check the possibility to put the bike on the bus. If in a bag/box you can just add a extra large luggage on your ticket via FlixBus app.

FERRY FROM/TO ITALYhttps://www.cemar.it/dest/ferries_albania.htm

A more adventurous way would be using the ferry from south of Italy on the way to (or on the way back) Albania. You can book it as a passenger with only bike or book the car and drive through. The one from Bari is the one operating the most but eventually there are departures from Ancona as well. Double check with specific websites or ask information to the ferry company.

Luggage (to be confirmed)

Start / Registration (To be confirmed)

We are planning to register and start at Orlando restaurant: https://maps.app.goo.gl/YCwBHUaBv3gqATUD9

The timetable will be added in the next weeks.

Weather and conditions

Expect to have very warm days and mild evenings, if in the mountains. When rainy it can be wet but not cold, in the woods the terrain might turn muddy in some sections. Checking the weather forecast a couple of days before leaving your place will let you know what’s the right gear to bring. There hopefully won’t be too extreme conditions.

What to bring:

Mandatory items

  • Front and Rear lights.
  • Helmet.
  • High visibility vest or similar.

Recommended items

  • Down jacket or synthetic equivalent.
  • Rain jacket.
  • Survival blanket or emergency bivvy bag if you plan to ride until late.
  • Something warm if you get stuck in cold/wet weather, check the weather forecast two days before leaving.
  • Chain link, small chain oil, tubes, patches, repair for tubeless, extra brake pads, tape, usb battery pack.
  • Multi-tool
  • (Optional) Spare derailleur hanger: if you have one, bring it.

Sleeping system:

We don’t really recommend carrying a tent on the 550km unless it’s a very light one. There will be a some accommodations along the way and we’ll try to collect some addresses and deliver them to. You before the start. A bivvy bag and a generally light sleeping system could be the key in the case you want to have a short stop and there’s nothing available around. Again, check the weather forecast before zipping your bags.

Track

Preliminary tracks will be sent by the end of April (see other sections), then the final route will be sent a few weeks before the start. It is very important to us to ride and check the route in spring and reasonably close to the event so we can be (almost) sure that nothing should be wrong in September.

Illyrian Loop 2024 (To be confirmed)

Doctor’s note / medical certificate (we will ask you to upload it few weeks before the start)

It’s a document made by your own doctor. It says that your health is good for cycling activity. 

People with a sport (the one used for competitions) can use that one to participate in any of the Seven Serpents events.

DO NOT SEND ANY MEDICAL CERTIFICATE NOW.

WE WILL SEND YOU A DEDICATED REQUEST FEW WEEKS BEFORE THE START.

Insurance

You must have a valid liability, death, accident and health insurance valid during the event that covers emergency extraction and repatriation insurance.

The organization won’t provide any kind of insurance for the event and will not be held liable for any damage whatsoever that may occur directly and/or indirectly to you or other parties.

DO NOT SEND ANY PROOF OF INSURANCE NOW.

WE WILL SEND YOU A DEDICATED REQUEST FEW WEEKS BEFORE THE START.

Remember that none of Seven Serpents events are considered a “race”. Those are unsupported bikepacking adventures where everyone who will complete the route will achieve its own victory.

You can find several “travel/sport” insurances online that will cover you for a week or a year for quite a cheap price.