Tour05 Day 31

A bad traffic day in the Slovak republic!

Today was the first day when traffic was a problem for me in the Slovak republic. That problem started as soon as I got back on the highway - E572 - in Banovce this morning. There were simply too many vehicles, especially trucks, and too little road for enjoyable riding. It got better on 507 going into Trencin, and then got bad again when I rode E61 out of Trencin instead of staying on 507. After getting away from the trencin area, E61 was good riding, but it got really bad on after the autoroute - A1 - ended and all that truck traffic came onto E61. Still, even the worse section of E61 was better than Highway 3 in Slovenia because, unlike highway 3, the lanes were wide enough for two big vehicles, each with a bicycle in their lane, to pass each other. The really amazing thing was the wideload vehicles that were using that section. I did have to get off the road to let the truck carrying a big bulldozer whose blade was much wider than the lane, get by!

Waiting for construction on 507

But most of the day was more like this!

The high traffic sections were only a small part of my riding day, and the worst of them could have been avoided if I had stayed on 507 - as I intended to do - instead of riding E 61. Since much of E 61 was very nice riding, and parts of 507 were not very nice because of construction, and none of the bad traffic sections was so bad that it felt dangerous, I can't even say it would, for sure, been a better day if I had managed to stay on 507.

I did see several other tourists today, but none spoke English, and a lot of recreational bike riders including a big peleton riding on 507 from Zilna and two strong racer types who were riding from Trencin on E61. All of them were friendly, which is not always the case with racer types.


I left Banovce (pronounced banovitza) about 10:30 and reached Zilna about 5:30 or 6 PM. It was a hard ride, but it was a little tiring to deal with the high traffic parts. The fact that I didn't get a good nights sleep last night may also have contributed to my fatigue.

The place were 507 starts
I rode across those hills from the Czech republic in 2002

After getting across the river at Povazska Bystrica, which was itself not trival because it involved a left turn in heavy traffic, I knocked my camera out of its mount with my hand. Fortunately my 'safety' worked once again and the camera ended up hanging from my bell rather than hitting the highway, but that incident scared me because it showed how groggy I was.

507, near its start

I also had a rather scary left turn across a busy four lane higway - E61 - to get to a service station near Trencin. I almost got hit by a car that changed lanes as I was changing lanes, i.e. I went into the lane from the right at 12 mph or so and this car went into the same lane from the left at 40 mph or so. That could have been painful! It is dangerous to be less than fully alert on a bicycle in traffic, even here where drivers are used to having bicycles as part of normal traffic.

E61 between cities

The ride from Banovce to Trencin climbed a moderate sized hill - a low spot in the ridge between two river valleys, and then had a lovely, long descent. If I had stayed on E572 till it intersected E61, I would have reached the same point I reached form the other direction when I first came to this country from the Czech republic. I had planned to do that for sentimental reasons, but changed my mind because of heavy traffic on E572.

Getting on 507 brought relief from traffic, but, 5 km or so later in Trencin, I found myself on, busy, E61 instead of 507. Since it wasn't easy to get across E61 when the traffic was heavy, and that was required to get to 507 on the occasions when a bridge across the Vah made that possible, I stayed on E61 despite, and because of, the bad traffic.

The autorute where it parallels E61

Although I knew that really bad traffic would come onto E61 when the autoroute ended, I still didn't get off in time . That meant about 11 km of riding in the really bad traffic, but, because I stopped for lunch just before that section, I watched that local riders - and even a father son pair of tourists - coming from and heading out onto that section. If they could do it, so could I.

I saw the father son pair again in the middle of that section. They were waiting to take a bus. Since the son was only 10 or 12, and the next part - the downhill after a long climb, meant high speeds - I was doing 20 to 30 mph on that part - in that heavy truck traffic, I think the father was right not to chance it.

507, with fortress ruin

507 near Bytca

Once I managed the left turn - actually aided by the heavy traffic because the traffic jammed up and I was able to get in the lane with the traffic and keep up as we approached the turn - riding was much better. 507 had no trucks on it and only a few cars. There were also no services on 507, until, as I rode through Bytca, I saw lots of people with ice cream cones. I spotted the place - which seemed to be selling a lot of ice cream, and go in line for mine. I|could even have had some espresso with it - that shop was next door, but I decided that five scoops of good ice cream would provide enough energy to get me to Zilna. It did, even though I had to deal with a lot of road construction between those two towns.

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