A ‘Roadventure’ is a long weekend of cycling in central Europe organized by Podia.cc. All details are taken care of: transportation, food, accommodation, ride guides, mechanics, and—most importantly—the best routes incorporating the Highlights of the region. So how do they create these perfect routes steeped in regional history and ensure their guests get the best there is to offer? We caught up with Max Burgess, Podia Roadventure founder, to hear about how he and his team use komoot for their meticulous route reconnaissance and planning.
“Adventure and exploration runs through the veins of Podia. In its early days as a road cycling blog, Podia was a means to discover and share the best custom bikes as well as the most interesting places to ride them, mostly in Eastern Europe – destinations that nobody else knew about, places unspoilt by traffic and hordes of cyclists. Inviting people to come and explore those amazing places to cycle in ‘Hidden Europe’ was a natural evolution for Podia when they created ‘Roadventures’: weekend long cycling trips for open-minded, adventurous cyclists who enjoy some support on their explorations.”
“All our trips are done in a friendly environment where performance is not an important factor and we need to ensure that each trip has a carefully curated set of routes – this is the key making sure guests experience the very best parts of a region. So for each new location that gets added to the Roadventure destination list, comes a lengthy process of reconnaissance – at the heart of which lies komoot. The planning process behind creating each Podia Roadaventure is now well established and involves a combination of initial research to construct several route options using komoot’s maps and route planner, followed by a few vital steps before we are confident we have a bullet-proof route.”
The Podia Process
“On a recent recon trip to Slovenia, we spent a number of days driving and riding sections of the routes for an upcoming Roadventure cycling trip. We used the komoot iPad app to guide us, with printed route plans downloaded from komoot.com to make notes on. This process works well because we can mark anything on the route we need to be aware of, for example where the best cake and coffee stops are! These spots become Highlights on komoot when we are back home.”
“After this initial process, changes are made to the routes based on the notes that we made. Sometimes they are merged and adapted to ensure the best possible experience for the guests is guaranteed. For example knowing which side of a mountain is best for descending or ascending are simple things that can elevate the experience of a ride.”
“In a country as beautiful as Slovenia, we put ourselves under pressure to ensure that riders who join us get to see as many of the Highlights as possible in one short trip, we almost feel like we need to do the country justice to international visitors! It is this pressure that drives us to keep adjusting and tweaking the routes until we are happy with them.”
20th Century History mixed with 21st Century Technology
“We aren’t really interested in ticking famous climbs off the ‘bucket list’, anyone can come here and do that. We believe that understanding the history and culture of a place adds an extra layer of interest when exploring it by bike and riding around the mountains and valleys of Slovenia offers a rich mixture of 20th century history. Sharing this info is at the forefront of our minds when we are planning a Roadventure and doing so with komoot makes it a lot easier. We create Highlights on komoot in the lead-up to our trips that include historical information. When we share these with our riders before the trip, it usually gets them really excited.
Slovenia has been described as Europe’s New Zealand and it is not hard to see why. A population of only 2 million people sparsely inhabit a country that is very mountainous. While ticking the obvious sights off the list is easy; places like Mangart Pass, Vršič Pass and Lake Bled – connecting these to lesser known Highlights that only the locals know about, such as the Resia Valley or Bohinj Lake, is less straightforward and requires meticulous planning.”
“This planning used to be much harder until we started using komoot – also, knowing the road surface types on our routes has been invaluable…we have been using this feature a lot with the planning for our upcoming Gravelventure in full swing. For a small taster of what is on offer in Slovenia, see this ride we did from the spectacular Alpine lake of Bohinj to the Radovna valley that runs next to the Julian Alps. The valley has a very interesting story to tell, from the time the Slovenian Partisan Army used it as a hideout.”