a lot of not-so-nice weather prevented us from much activity, but then the sun broke through and we were in the right spot at the right time: Belogradchik. it is a nice area that is famous for it’s rock formations. We walked a very nice route here and while doing so, I came across a sign that stated “mount a bike”. I had to look twice, because my mind automatically corrected it to mountain bike. Slightly different but close enough for me to start wondering.
I already searched the internet for mountain bike route suggestions, but I did not find anything worthwhile, and this sign suggested otherwise.
Some searching later I concluded that the site did no longer exist. But since it was a “cross border initiative” sponsored by the EU, some trace would still exist. I searched some more and found a pdf document with a little more explanation. (page 48-51). Finally I found some routes on trailforks, but this was also almost a dead end: last activity around 2018-2019, and remarks like “overgrown trails, no maintenance”. Hmm. To get the GPX files I had to make an account (no surprise there) but then after obtaining one gpx file, the trailforks site stated that I needed a “pro subscriber account”: in other words: pay. Considering the quality of the GPS trail and additional info, it was really not worth it. In my opinion this is a construction where you have to pay for work they did not do in the first place. Not my kind of business. so I decided to ignore trailforks and get back to the real world: out there on the bike. I created (again) a “hand drawn” route of about 40km and started riding to see what came along, adjusting the route on the way if I needed to.
It turned out to be a very nice route. But indeed with a section that was not so nice: a 40% climb section.
A short description: You can start anywhere on the route of course. I describe the start from Izvos. First a short loop to the south-east and then back to Izvos. Then the route will follow the creek to the west, along small fields and villages. It changes from a walking trail, to 4×4 trail and back. after about 5km you hit the asphalt on a climb towards Prauzhda. After the village it is off road again, still climbing, along forest and meadows, heading east.
The trail back to the fortress of Belogradchik is too steep: about 40%, decide yourself if you want to adjust the route here, but the detour is significant, while the walking section is about 300 meters. You enter the town near the observatory. You go down a bit between the rocks and climb up again to enter the town again on the main square. When driving South, on the main road to 43.6225, 22.6888, there is a gap in the guard rail giving acces to a very nice view point.
Ride back into Belogradchik to pick up the route again. It is an option to ride up and down to the television tower, but then follow the route again along a forest road. After some time it becomes a walking trail, then it becomes overgrown with a short 100 meter section to walk (steep, no visible trail) after which the trail becomes visible again and you go down trough a small settlement and back on the main road.