How could I ever spend a day without riding a bike? Inconceivable. The MTB holiday in southern Italy earlier this year left no wishes open. But what about Slovenia?
It’s easy to travel the country by bike. Or so I am told. However, I failed to do the proper preparations. Meaning I am going to do a bike tour tomorrow which has nothing in common with my actual craving for adventurous, mountainbikey downhill gravel roads. It’s more a city tour for people who like the awkward, off the beaten path sides of a city.
Thankfully, Ljubljana is a modern city that supports a leisurely and sporty lifestyle for its people. There are numerous bike stations strewn over the car-free inner city. Everybody seems to be either jumping on or off a bike and I thought: I want that too!! 🙂
Having downloaded the necessary app, I approached the nearest bike station. It works like the rent-a-bike system in Munich and probably many other European cities (as a Bonner I wouldn’t know): you subscribe somewhere, log in to some system and enter the retrieved code into some machine and – pop – you can take a bike from the loading station. So far, so good. I was confident to have grasped the system.
First approach: unsuccessful. Why? Subscription online had failed. How did I find out? Not until two cappucinos and some political talks with Gregorij later.
Gregorij passed me on my rattling try to free a bike and was so good as to explain to me what I had done wrong (actually I still don’t know it, but now that it works, who cares?). He knew because he had done the same mistake. Great, it was hot and we got talking over a couple of cappucinos and an hour later we stood at the very same station again. This time I was equipped with a card that had to be purchased for two euros and whose purpose still eludes me. But somehow we got the machine working – probably due to pure persistance in hacking in our customer numbers and pins in seemingly random order.
Oh the fun to swing my leg over the saddle and to sink into a cushion-soft seat… Urghs.
The bike is heavy like a beer-horse. Nothing like my sweet and slender 13 kg bike at home. The funny part is: once it got going, it was fun.
Until you need the brakes. Try the brakes. Nothing. – Wait! Only one handbrake?? Oh, maybe Rücktritt … no Rücktritt??! How does this antique work? I had passed into the car-friendly zone of Ljubljana and panicky headed for the next bloody bike station.
Guess, I can do some bike relief days for once? Maybe the bikes in Trieste will be worth another blog entry.
Until then I further indulge in the slightly makeshift, close-to-hipster-but-more-artsy-edgy charm of Ljubljana and join in the all-embracing chilliness.