Here ecstasy meets deceleration: every year in June the infamous Goni Pony takes place in Slovenia - a bicycle race up to the Vršič Pass. The only requirement to participate: you have to ride the legendary Balkan folding bike Pony. And that on a 20 inch frame and with only one gear. The photographers Jure Gasparic and Clemens Dittrich did not want to miss this and set off in the new HYMER Grand Canyon S.
The Red Bulletin (Magazine)
Sure, the two had already been to neighboring countries. For skiing in Austria, swimming in Italy and Croatia and partying in the Hungarian capital Budapest. But in Slovenia? With its two million inhabitants and the size of Hesse, the Balkan Republic is not necessarily a location that promises a lot of variety. Until - yes, until the two bike enthusiasts first heard of the Goni Pony.
And so the two started their almost 700 km long road trip to the sporty and young-at-heart country. Three locations particularly impressed them and they tell us about them in this travel interview.
"1,300 crazy people who ride a folding bike to the highest peak in the country - you just have to experience it!"
Those who want to experience the country and its people should take two things with them to Slovenia: a camper van and bikes. The friendliness of the people can be experienced at every intersection through the side window and there is hardly a place where you don't want to take your mountain bike off your bike rack. Especially if - like us - you have Filip Flisar as a travel guide.
The world champion in ski cross is not only extremely personable, but almost as talented on two wheels as on his skis. And so we naturally explore his home town of Maribor by bike: from the pump track to the old town café to the bike park just outside the city.
The next stop is also a tip from Filip: Further west and also directly on the border with Austria, Anej Strucl, his friend from skiing squad times, built a trail in the middle of a disused mine - the Black Hole Trail. Steep, dark and extraordinary.
Those who are afraid for their bones are better off on the alternative path through the tunnel, which is accessible to everyone. In contrast to the road that should lead us up to the Koros bike base. It runs for kilometers through lonely forests and over gravel roads. Tiring for the moment, but all the better for the evening view. This outdoor parking space really has it all!
Our real goal is also in the mountains: Kranjska Gora, the annual venue of the Red Bull Goni Pony. What started as a small event five years ago in the tranquil place has now become one of the most notorious events in the country and has also made it onto our radar. The special feature: Whoever competes in this race has to ride the pony - an entrance folding bike from the former Yugoslavia. And so that the same difficult conditions prevail for everyone, tuning is of course strictly prohibited.
Optical changes, on the other hand, are expressly desired. And so some riders decorate their bikes with inflatable watermelons and unicorns in XXL format. In the end, over 1,300 costumed cyclists ride, push and carry their pony up to the pass, which is at 1,611 meters above sea level. Who won? All of us because we were allowed to be part of this extraordinary fun.
The story of Jure and Clemens shows once again that we often encounter the most beautiful and craziest adventures where we least expect them. Hence our appeal: Just let yourself go on your next vacation. And if you prefer someone to tell you where to go - all our models are of course available with a navigation system.