Map 12 — Brown route
Gradec – Cugovec – Nova Kapela – Sv. Ivan Žabno – Buzadovac – Gradec
This exciting bicycle route begins in the centre of Gradec 1 at the parking lot in front of the municipal building, shop and two cafes, which are good spots for planning the ride and freshening up. Gradec has an idyllic position on the ridge of a hill, which gently descends to the east into the broad valley of the Glogovnica River. The river and the dense forests are the best known features of this area. Gradec, like the Dubrava municipality, was a safe bishop’s fortress throughout history. It was mentioned already in 1552, when the bishop transferred his seat here from Dubrava, which had been conquered by the Turks in that year. Gradec was transformed from a fortress into a bishop’s court as the central Gradec estate and in 1821, Bishop Maksimilijan Vrhovac had a new court built here to better suit his more refined taste (present day school building). In 1870, the railway was extended to pass through Gradec. The formerly small Church of St. Peter was replaced by a new and larger late Baroque church, constructed from 1768 to 1824. Today, its tall, thin spire dominates the municipal centre and surrounding area. The new church is consecrated to the Wounded Christ. The church interior is dominated by the Historicist altar, which is the work of famous Croatian architect of German origin Herman Bollé (1845 – 1926). Today, the Gradec municipality has about 4.000 residents in some 20 settlements.
From Gradec, take the road northwards towards Podjales and Repinec. At the 3.1 km mark of the route, at the y intersection with a chapel, turn right and ride the gentle downhill section through Repinec all the way to the t intersection 2 , at the 4.9 km mark. After the sawmill (pilana), on the right hand side of the road, next to the concrete fence of the house with two pine trees, turn right towards the Repinec railway station. Carefully cross the railroad tracks and continue to the right along the gravel road. Take caution, for immediately after coming onto the meadow 3, you will begin the most interesting and somewhat adventurous part of the route – riding along the so-called “sidewalk” (a narrow trail of concrete slabs) through the fields and woods, for about 2 km, all the way to Buzadovac. The sidewalk is used by the local population as a shortcut to the railway station in Repinec. Be sure to take care, as the sidewalk is little slippery in places. You will cross over two small bridges across the Koruška and Glogovnica Rivers. At the 7.2 km mark, you will again come onto a road, and you will have chance to ride along the sidewalk on the return trip, unless you decide for the alternate return route via turnoff c . Turn right onto the paved road in Buzadovac 4 , in the direction of Cugovec. The route continues along the quiet paved road through the villages of Tučenik, Salajci and Lubena. At the 11.2 km mark, take caution as you will come to the busy intersection 5 in Cugovec. Cross the busy road and continue riding straight along. At the intersection is the Phoenix cafe and shop, a suitable place for some rest and refreshment. Continue the route, riding up a gentle climb to the y intersection, here turn left in the direction of the artificial lake – fishpond Fuka and the village of Fuka. At the 13.6 mark, you will reach the Fuka fishpond and have a lovely view of the lake. After the lake, the road climbs uphill and passes by the District Forestry branch office and a quaint, little chapel. At the 15.8 km mark, at the y intersection 6 turn left onto the narrow but very scenic road through the Brezik forest, in the direction of Habjanovac. On the way you will pass a hunting lodge and the well known Zrno Eco Estate in the idyllic village of Habjanovac (at number 45 on the left hand side). Zrno (meaning a grain) is well known for organic farming and its production of organic food which the owner, Mrs. Zlata Nanić and associates have been doing on these 12 hectares for the past 20 years, since 1988. This is an interesting place to stop for a break and some refreshment, and to learn something new, announcements are recommended. At the 19.7 km mark, the route comes to an intersection 7 in the Bukovac forest. At the intersection, the brown route leads you to the left, while heading straight will take you on the green route towards Gornji Vukšinac. Continue riding along the paved road next to the fenced hunting ground. If it is very calm and quiet, you might even catch a glimpse of some wild boar. You will soon enter into Nova Kapela, the birthplace of the late Croatian motorcyclists Vilko Sever (1928 – 2003). The Sever Moto Museum you will pass by was erected as a private initiative and in honour of this many-time Yugoslav motorcycle champion and constructor and manufacturer of the 80 cc motorcycle class. At the main intersection, turn right towards Stara Kapela, while the road straight ahead continues towards Haganj. At the 23.6 km mark, you will reach a t intersection 8 , and be very cautious while turning left into Stara Kapela as the turn has poor visibility. Upon entering Stara Kapela, continue to the left at the t intersection 9 next to the Chapel of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the monument to Dr. Vlatko Maček (1879 – 1964, Croatian politician, leader of Croatian Peasant’s Party). In the middle of the village, you will pass between rows of family homes and the Paracelzius Health Clinic. The road leads you through the pleasant shade of the Lješćak forest. At the 26 km mark of the route, a well maintained dirt road begins and will lead you 1.4 km through the field (could be muddy and ooded on rainy days), all the way to the t intersection with the road Haganj – Žabnica; here turn right in the direction of Žabnica. Soon afterwards you will come to the next t intersection 10 , where you will turn left in the direction of Sveti Ivan Žabno. There is a football field next to the intersection. Continue riding along the narrow and quiet paved road, which will soon turn into a gravel road that takes you across the railway tracks and, after a short climb, will bring you to the centre of the Sveti Ivan Žabno municipality. After 31.8 km, the centre of Sveti Ivan Žabno 11 is a good spot for a break, some rest and refreshment. The lovely parish Church of St. John the Baptist and the ethnography collection are worth viewing. After the break, continue westwards along the main road. After 300 m is a y intersection with the Sax pizzeria; turn right here. You will soon enter into Predavec Križevački. At the t intersection 12, turn right in the direction of Brezovljani. In Brezovljani, pass by the Chapel of Our Lady of Fatima and at the 36.2 km mark, carefully cross the railway tracks and continue in the direction of Poljana Križevačka. Soon afterwards, a gravel road begins, leading you to a y intersection 13, at the 38.4 km mark, where you will turn left towards Buzadovac. To the right is a paved road towards Poljana Križevačka and turnoff c (5 km in length), which will take you back to Repinec through fields and dirt roads, which are muddy and ooded on rainy days. Just perfect for a little adventure! (Description of turnoff c : Continue straight along the road towards Poljana Križevačka, turn left through the village to it’s end and the last houses where the dirt road begins and leads you through the meadows, across the bridge over the Glogovnica River and through the forest, then to the right to the railway underpass and again onto a paved road parallel to the railway tracks, where you will continue to the left for Festinec and Repinec). If instead of taking turnoff c , you’ve turned left at the y intersection, continue along the paved road to the ridge of the hill, which offers fantastic views. You will soon enter into Buzadovac and pass the Chapel of St. Nicholas from 1928, built on the foundations of an old chapel from 1678. In Buzadovac, look for what the locals call the sidewalk (caution it is narrow and slippery), which will lead you back to Repinec. The entrance onto the sidewalk is at the very exit out of Buzadovac next to house number 1 4 . After the exciting ride to Repinec 2 , follow the route that you started the ride on all the way back to Gradec, where this interesting route ends.