History of Bicycling in Zadar
Bicycling was one of the most popular sports in Zadar from the very beginning, so it remains today. The popularity of cycling is constantly growing, amongst professional athletes and amateurs, young people or the elderly. On the streets of Zadar you will often meet seniors who use bicycles as the basic means of transportation.
Nicolo Luxardo brought the first bicycle to Zadar in 1877. He was the owner of a distillery that used to produce a famous maraschino liqueur. The first person to sit on the bicycle and ride it was Šime Bajlo.
The first bicycle race was held in Zadar in 1882. and this is considered the official beginning of bicycling in Croatia. The first club, the “Veloce Club Zaratino”, was founded in 1893.
Women also contributed to the promotion of the new sport. The first women’s race was held back in 1926. The best driver from that time was Giovanna Cadel, and in 1952 Marija Kalmeta became Yugoslavia’s first seniors’ champion.
In 1987. Leonora Stipčević won the Croatian Championship and in 2017. Maja Perinović becomes Croatia’s junior champion. Maja Perinović is the best Croatian cyclist with nine gold, five silver and two bronze medals from the Croatian Championship. Her sporting successes with Cycling Team Zadar were achieved with the help of her coach Ante Radić, a member of the Croatian Olympic team and Zzuum’s dear associate and friend.
Men also have something to be proud of. Since its foundation, the cycling club has been progressing constantly, so that in 1930 as many as seven bicycle races were held in Zadar.
The Zadar Bicycle Club was founded after World War II in 1947. His most trophic member and most successful cyclist in Zadar is Šime Bajlo-Šojin. In 1954, when he was only 15 years old, he became a junior and senior road champion , from 1955 to 1958 he was the junior champion three times, and in 1968 he became the champion of Yugoslavia in the seniors’ competition.
In the 1980s, club members achieved many top results. Anthony Pavić, Branko Bošković, Nevio Jelenković, Remigio Kotlar are just some of the successful bicyclists at the time. Nevio Stipčević (brother of the aforementioned Leonora), who was junior national champion in 1990, certainly stands out.
The Zadar bicycle Club successfully promotes this sport by participating in and organising various competitions.
Since 2001. The Sveti Donat bicycle Club also operates in Zadar, and in 2009 the Macaklin bicycle Club was founded, dealing with mountain biking.
There are more and more cyclists on our roads every day, so it would be great if local authorities finally switched from words to deeds and devoted themselves to planning and building road infrastructure suitable for cyclists. We would all profit from this!