I had a chat with someone (he was cycling to Hackney for Dunwich Dynamo) on here who had travelled to Slovenia by train and then gone bike touring returning by rail. Really interested in hearing logistics of it as multiple rail services suggest it could be a PITA but also keen to avoid taking planes where i can
Here is Seat 61s recommendation on journeys but no info on bike carriage https://www.seat61.com/Slovenia.htm
@yakut and I did this last summer to ride the Slovenian Western Loop mtb / bikepacking route.
Don’t have the train itinerary to hand right now but will post later. It took around 24h London to Ljubljana. Our bikes were in evoc bags which we left in the railway luggage storage whilst we were touring.
The bad part was the sleeper train, final leg of the journey out. The evoc bags were way too big to fit in the compartments, and there’s no room outside for large bags. First time round I put my bike bag on the bunk and slept on the floor - not recommended. On the way back the guard was a bit more lenient and let us put the bike bags in the carriage hallway.
Would I do it again? Yes but without the sleeper component for above reasons. Slovenia is beautiful and the riding was great.
Yes I remember chatting to you about past travels and future plans! Glad to hear you're considering this - Slovenia is lovely.
We followed Seat61 itinerary: 05:40 London - Paris, 15:55 Paris - Munich, 23:20 Munich - Ljubljana (arr 6am).
Eurostar - take the bikes (in bags) to EuroDespatch in St. Pancras 24hr before.
France - you will be boarding an empty train, take them to upstairs to the fairly generous luggage storage area - there are places where 2 Evocs fit perfectly
Night train from Munich - Ljubljana is operated by Austrian ÖBB (oebb.at) so best booked through their website (as opposed to Bahn.de). Yeah, total PITA as platypus described. I would call them up (very helpful and perfect English) and explore other timing options to avoid the sleeper train. The website does have a filter for "traveling with bikes" and I want to trust it, but maybe talking to someone experienced could be of value.
Let me know what other details you need and I will dig up my notes!
That sounds neither cheaper nor easier than flying, why would you do that?
EDIT: Slovenia is definitely an amazing country to cycle, would go back anytime!
Because the environment, you monster.
Also flying with a bike fucking sucks.
Don't get me started on the environment side of things, you monster.
I know it sucks, but 24h hauling a bike box across 3 trains and train stations doesn't sound that pleasant either. I'd understand it more if it would save you taking the bike apart.
For me it's primarily the environmental concerns that will see me taking the train to Italy next time, rather than flying, but I think the amount of uncomfortable bike lugging might actually be less, as the distance you cover in an airport is pretty ridiculous, plus less meticulous packing and worrying about damage, and the ability to take another suitcase rather than having to jam everything into the bag, which will make it much easier to haul. Plus I like train journeys
Yeah it's a lot to do with the mindset I think. The perceived inconvenience of taking 3 trains and paying more, for me, are outweighed by faaaar lower emissions per person for the entire journey when compared to flying, and, honestly, the slightly masochistic fun factor. I just like trains too.
It's definetely not objectively easier to travel by trains with bikes in bags accross Europe. But I'd rather leave part of my rational persona at home, try to relax, not give a fuck, and put up with sometimes shit but overall fun experience of train travel with a 30kg+ bag.
Well, by that logic cycling there would tick all the boxes ;)
Thanks for your feedback...for me I'm trying to live life to the fullest without flying (which I've done my share of in the past).
Presume this is the route you did @yakut and @platypus? https://bikepacking.com/routes/bikepacking-slovenia/
Interested to hear what bike you rode on and how spot on the timings were?
We rode hardtails, no regrets imo. All the info on the site is pretty spot on.
Timing: if you're on a holiday then don't rush, siestas are almost a must during the summer as the valleys get really hot.
Bike: ride what you have if you don't have a choice. If choosing between gravel and MTB then consider that there are plenty of tarmac sections, but also some rocky climbs/descents. We never had to hike, apart from an ambitious detour which is not on the official route (basically don't try to one up the official route:)).
Sleeping: as always, stay out of sight and you will be ok.
Many thanks for @platypus and @yakut for advice.
Approach Ive taken is taking an evening train to Paris, overnighting there and then catching trains through to Ljubljana. As @Giofox suggests, this is all a bit of a PITA and more expensive than taking a direct flight but Im trying to cut down flights so this is where Ive landed
Trip for me has seen bookings on three platforms, Eurostar for the London - Paris leg, SNCF for the Paris - Karlsruhe leg and OBB for the Karlsruhe Ljubljana leg. Theres also the booking of bike on the Eurostar via Eurodespatch
The OBB booking platform suggests you can take bikes on the night train but an email sent t0 the Slovenian rail service suggests that you cant so i went with the safe option.
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