Slovenian West Loop Bikepacking}
260 miles around the mountains of western Slovenia
August 15 - 23, 2021 -- compiled by Jeff DePree
Day 1: Atlas Obscura Sights
This route from https://bikepacking.com/routes/bikepacking-slovenia/ was quite spectacular. Since I was working every night and needed some assurance that I would make it to wifi on time and not sleep outside sans gear, I subbed out many of the offroad portions to make timing more predictable.
I couldn’t find any cheap flights in Ljubljana. But I had 72k miles from opening a United credit card, and this is sufficient to buy two one-way tickets connecting any city in the US with any city in Europe. United does not offer free bike transport (Delta and American do).
I had trouble finding used bikes in Ljubljana, even though the biking scene is huge. Everyone recommended Bolha, the Slovenian Craigslist, but it’s all in Slovenian and hard to use. One shop that sells them is at Bezenškova ulica 23. There, I got a 90s hardtail (Scott Blackstone) for 85 euros and had a rack installed for 25 more. It was extremely well-tuned and hasn’t had any issues thus far.
Because of a Slovenian tourism stimulus, 99% of rooms were booked every night, and the remaining ones cost about 300 euros. On Saturday night, there wasn’t a single available bed listed within a hundred miles of the capital. While I had planned to avoid hostels, I ended up using them most nights and typically paid about 25 euros for one bed in an 8-bed dorm. The public work areas were surprisingly good. Sleep was unsurprisingly variable.
Like with other bikepacking routes, many of the offroad portions were incredibly technical and involved dragging my bike through rock gardens for hours at a time. Some were quite pleasant. I spent most of my time on pavement.
Bakeries are way less ubiquitous than in points west. Many mountain huts offer basic soups and supermarkets are plentiful. I ate a lot of muesli.
Potable water is everywhere.
The weather was rather perfect -- until the last day when it poured. Unable to navigate with my touchscreen and unwilling to take dirt paths, I bailed to the Kranj train station. My Android’s screen will likely never work again.
Every airport checked my vaccination card. Most service workers wear masks but many customers do not; no one wears them outside.
Day 2: Working from The Skyscraper
Day 3: Leaving Ljubljana
Day 4: Predjama castle and Points North
Day 5: Onward to Bovec
Day 6: To Bled
Day 7: Failed Attempt to Finish the Loop