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How and above all WHY I cycle to work

A real-world take on the perks and pitfalls of cycling to work, from faster travel times to the occasional rain-soaked ride.
by Matevž Hribar
November 30, 2023 · 5 min read

Let me start by clarifying that I am aware that I am very lucky: firstly, because the office in Ljubljana is relatively close, second there are no mountains between Medvode and Ljubljana (the road is quite flat), third, I can take my children to kindergarten (it’s walking distance) before I go to work, forth, I don’t have to wear a tie at my workplace and, hallelujah, I don’t have to be in the office more than once a week. I understand all this as a great privilege, but I still believe that there are many more of you (who could trade a car for a bike) than I currently meet on the bike path.

What are you more interested in – why and how I cycle to work or how I came to the ideal tool for this type of transport? I will write in two points, read what interests you.



1. Medvode – Ljubljana, 14 kilometers. A car, train or bus has no chance against a bicycle.

The bike ride takes me somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes. It’s faster by car, google says 23 minutes (IF there are no traffic jams), but you have to park about five minutes’ walk away and still pay somewhere around a euro for every hour when the car alone steals space for a children’s playground or new apartments. Sometimes, but very rarely, I also use the train and bus, but in any case, the total journey (i.e., transport + walking to/from the station + possible waiting for bus) is much longer than in the case of a bicycle or a car.

In short, when you add up time and costs (fuel and parking, not to mention insurance and clutch and tires), it’s clear that a bicycle is the best choice. I park it exactly two meters away from the entrance. Yes, sometimes it’s a little cold (it’s also cold when skiing), sometimes it’s hot, a few times, even today, when this text is being written, I’ve already been soaked by the rain (we’re not made of sugar, old mother would say) … But anyway, if possible, I choose a bicycle for the trip. It may seem strange/stupid/dangerous to you, but other daily migrants should also appreciate it (because I take up less space on the road and in parking lots) as well as Ljubljana citizens, because I don’t pollute the air and steal their space.



2. Electric, trekking, road, or gravel bike?

I started my cycling-to-work career with an electric bike (Scott sub cross e-ride). Because that way I should get to the office faster and with less effort (especially less sweaty). Then I realized that those 25 kilometers per hour, as far as the electric motor helps, get on my nerves quite a bit, especially when I’m late for a weekly meeting and I’d rather be approaching the center of Slovenia at a speed closer to 30 km/h. Maintaining such a speed on an e-bike is more difficult than on a regular bike; due to higher weight, greater air resistance (sitting position) and because the electric motor itself has its own resistance. Also, I find it almost humiliating that as a healthy, young (well) person I need the help of electricity while my peers are winning the Tour and the Giro and the Vuelta. However, I would like to add that I think e-bikes are an excellent vehicle in the case when a person chooses them instead of a car (even if it is electric). Consider: in a car, our 80 kilos are transported by a ton or two of heavy machine, while with an e-bike, the vehicle itself weighs only about 25 kilos. You don’t need to be a PhD in physics to understand what I’m trying to say.

I also tried a trekking bike (a second hand Focus, 350 EUR). Nice bike to go to the market, but after a long ride my ass and lower back hurt. Then I tried to ride my ‘racing’ special race bike (aluminum Cannondale, which I bought secondhand about 10 years ago for 700 euros, so that we could go to the seaside with friends). I was ‘especially’ fast (we’re talking about saving maybe three minutes), but I also had a very special crash when I hit a low curb in the rain on slick tires. In addition, the surface from Medvode to Ljubljana is not perfect; you quickly have enough holes, curbs, channels, and cracks in the racing position on a rigid road bike. Also, inserting spds into the pedals after stopping at traffic lights is not really practical.

Well, then I came to a gravel bike. The Breezer Radar, my first-ever NEW bike, in the autumn sale, cost about the same as a used electric Scott, 1.500 euros. Hey, it’s great. It is not among the lightest (the frame is steel), but it is still fast enough and above all (at least for me) very comfortable. I screwed the trunk in the back, hung some ugly old bags up (for the laptop, spare clothes and maybe for a little shopping on the way back home) and… I don’t think I’ll change for a while. Maybe tires, which are still a bit too balloony for Ljubljana’s offroad.


Along with that, a few more thoughts appeared under my helmet while pedaling towards Ljubljana.

  • You fall in love with tree avenues in the summer heat. When the July sun burns into the gray asphalt, sections such as the avenue along Celovška street from Šentvid to Šiška feels like heaven. The temperature drops by about 10 degrees Celsius. Dear mayors, city planners or whoever-is-already-responsible-for-this, please try it yourself sometime.
  • Cars with internal combustion engines smell bad. The old diesels a little more, the newer gasoline ones a little less, but it smells bad even behind the shiny cars with various ‘bluemotion’ and ‘greenline’ badges. I have to say that from this point of view I believe in electric cars (yes, they pollute air or water somewhere else – but not in the city).
  • I am convinced that riding a bicycle (instead of a car) can greatly contribute to a better quality of life (in the city) and less harmful impact (of humans, of whom) on nature. 


Thank you if I managed to convince you and you will at least try to cycle yourself to work (or store or market).

#kolesarjenje #kolumna #ljubljana #slovenija #trajnostno potovanje

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