Ponikva, at about 1580 masl, endless views of surrounding fields, beautiful nature landscapes, and still fairly wild potential is a wonderful place for exploration of local paths.
I have been already a couple of times with my bicycle to Ponikva and the area around Kočani. So when I got an invitation for a ride to Ponikva, I gladly accepted it, because I carry wonderful memorries from there. I got my trusty companions from the XMKD crew: Marko and Slave, and we headed down for a one day mountain bicycle tour.
The planned route was: Kočani – Ponikva – Jastrebnik – Gradče – Kočani. Which for an outsider this means: painstaking 20 km of asphalt road that goes just up, from 367 till 1584 masl; a break for lunch at one of the restaurants in Ponikva followed by a long lying on the sun; a sound cross country style, wide, dirt road going just down the hill for some 15 km crossing 1100 m of descent; and finally another 6 km of asphalt road to get back to our starting point.
To explain. Ponikva is a location with an old ski resort, somewhere on the mountain Osogovo, in the East part of Macedonia. There is an asphalt road going up there only from Kočani, though dirt roads are plentiful. In the last few years new restaurants and hotels have been built and the tourism offer is slowly building. It is still an area that requires further development and building of tourism products, however it is also a nice area to have mountain bicycle tours. And in this sense I was invited by a local tourism promoter – Slavche, from Probishtip, to join them on a tour.
We were kinda slow in the morning, so we came too late in Kočani in order to join the main group going to Ponikva. But this turned out even better, since we had our own pace, full of attempts to find a nice place to have a nap along the road. The weather was perfect. Little bit chilly, but fairly warm when out on the sun. Something about the sky was incredibly beautiful, since wherever I would look to there were lines of clouds going into the distance of the horizon.
Since we were a bit late, we decided again to leave the group and go down on our own a bit later. This made a wonderful opportunity to play a bit on the dirt road going down. It turned out that potentially that could be a wonderful bicycle track with dirt jumps all over. Since we were running late on our way home, much due to the photo sessions, we could not really stop at one of the fish restaurants along the River Kočanska or the accumulation dam we passed.
But enough talking, enjoy a wonderful photo session of this tour bellow. It just might make you wanna be your next destination.