A B&B provided breakfast before I cycled onwards, petting the puppies one last time.
In the first 30 minutes I covered almost 18 km and 800 m down. I had tears of joy streaming from my eyes (or 40 kph winds, take your pick). The honeymoon ended after 25 km, and I continued onwards, up and down, but generally down.
For the first 30 km the traffic was great, in part because I moved at almost the same speed. However, as the day progressed, traffic intensified. When the road upgraded to the next class, traffic speed increased to 100 kph+ (although the occasional speed trap slowed that down a bit). Buffeted by headwinds and heavy traffic, I realized I’d made a bad choice. Not only a bad choice today; that error extends back in time, prior to entering Bosnia and Herzegovina. My path along the Sava from Ljubljana to Zagreb to Bosnia was lovely, downhill and countryside. But it left me little option cycling forward but crossing the mountains, with no alternate roads.
Unhappy enough with the intensity of the traffic, I stopped a couple of times to try to hitchhike my way into Mostar, but I couldn’t find anywhere that had a long enough straightaway for drivers to see me in time to decide to stop.
I’d walked through a number of tunnels, on the narrow sidewalk, leaning against the wall as traffic whizzed by. 25 km outside of Mostar I encountered an 800 meter tunnel, finally with a wide sidewalk. At the tunnel’s exit, construction permitted traffic in only one direction, causing a gap in the traffic each time they paused traffic in my lane. I started cycling like crazy in those gaps, and then stopping to let the bulk of the traffic pass by.
Reaching the outskirts of Mostar and sidewalk I gladly exited the road. Cutting between a signpost and a fence, I brushed a pannier on the fence. Normally no big deal, but the fence was constructed from sharp metal rails. That jerked the bicycle sideways and hooked the right shifter into the fence, banging me into the fence just before flipping me over the handlebars. I tucked and rolled, and almost stuck the landing (Russian judge 8.0).
No damage from the landing, but I tore my shirt and scraped up my arm on the fence, but no real consequence. Damage could have been far worse. Some first aid by the side of the road set that issue aside.
Mostly undamaged myself, the right/ rear gears shifter, twisted around by the fence, stripped inside. Unable to shift, in the hard gear, 10 km remained – thankfully all down.
Nearing Mostar I passed a sign for a bicycle shop. I checked into a hostel, and tracked down the bicycle shop. They couldn’t replace or repair the shifter, but installed a secondary shifter on the handlebars. I have reflexes for shifting that I will be hard to overcome, but I can shift again.
I planned a rest day in Mostar anyway. The bike repaired, and me taped up, resolves that nicely. I spent the evening walking the city with Moritz and Alex, who I met at the hostel.