Last weekend I posted an article about cycling in Slovenia (Cycling Slovenia: It Was “Blinking Marvellous” (…And Probably Still Is)). I have only visited the country very briefly myself – back in 2013 en route from Greece to Portugal – and most of my comments were based upon an online event that I had attended a few days earlier. However, in response to that post, local resident and keen cyclist Miha Pavšič has been in touch with some interesting comments and some beautiful images. Here’s what he had to say:
“Greetings from Slovenia! As a regular reader of your blog (great content, thanks a lot!) I’ve also noticed your recent post about my home country, so I thought I’m in a good position to comment a bit.
“Your 30 kms of cycling across the south-western part are really just a tiny portion of the hundreds of kms on your way along the Mediterranean coast… there is more to see and explore—although Slovenia is among the smaller of countries, the landscape diversity is rather astounding.
“I live in the central area just next to the capital Ljubljana, so the primary area for afternoon rides is the flat Ljubljana marshes and the hilly surroundings. But luckily, it is not far to the mountainous north-west with clean lakes and rivers (swimming, hurray!), or to the Adriatic coast at south-west, or to rolling hills [in the east]. In fact, the Bohinj lake, which is at the centre of the Julian Alps Bike Trail, is just a 100 km ride from my home, so a nice day/weekend trip (train for return). I must say that I didn’t know about the Julian Alps Bike Trail before, but parts of it look as if they overlap with [the] Slovenian Mountainbike Trail (English version of the website not complete). I’ve ridden part of it from Lake Bohinj (high on my favourites list, but crowded in the summer) over Pokljuka plateau, down to Kranjska Gora and over Vršič pass through Soča valley (also, my beloved part) to Tolmin and Most na Soči. As you noted it is in fact a bit more appropriate for mountain bikes than touring ones, especially if fully loaded, but it is definitely doable even with those with a bit more effort. The route mostly follows side roads with (very) little traffic and few dedicated cycling sections, however sometimes it just follows the main road. During the working part of the week it should be mostly OK.
“As for the Drava Cycling Route I’ve cycled it with friends starting in Toblach/Dobbiaco on the Italian side at the Drava source. We followed it all the way through Austria to Maribor. Here, we took a train back to Ljubljana so we skipped the part to the merging point with Mura river in Croatia. It is on the to-do list now 🙂 We all liked it very much, the first part is descending nicely (but a bit crowded) while the part after Lienz is much more calm. Nice cycling on dedicated paths or local/field roads with very little traffic. I could easily do it again, and since it is just for a few days of cycling I might as well repeat it soon.
“Now, maybe a few more thoughts on cycling in Slovenia in general. It is not Netherlands, it is not Denmark, but in recent years there was considerable progress. One can’t expect to ride long distances on dedicated bike paths, however there are plenty of side roads where a cyclist can find peace. Some are now even marked so it is mostly easy to follow the main routes. There are projects to connect the cities and towns as part of a national, regional and local cycling network, and while a lot of this is currently just a plan the course is set and every year new dedicated cycling paths are completed. What I’m worried about is increasing car traffic, partly as a consequence of a far-from-perfect public transport. I do hope government as well as people will have a strong will and hand for pushing the things on a sustainable path…“
If you have something to say about cycling in your corner of Europe, please get in touch! All the contact details can be found on this page of CyclingEurope.org.