Video: A Mountain Bike Road Trip Through Slovenia in 'Road to Trieste'

Feb 2, 2023 at 9:11
by Moritz Ablinger  


km 0 // Innsbruck
47° 15' 52'' N | 11° 23' 46'' E


Actually it should have been a backpacking trip. We start in the north of Slovenia, right at the Austrian border, combining the trails along the Italian border to a continuous route and work our way all the way south to the Adria and Trieste. Exactly like a classic Transalp. As romantic as this might sound, we quickly had to realize that our plan for Slovenia was more of a wish than reality. No matter how we turned our maps, how much we searched online-forums for trail suggestions or how many locals we asked, every potential route ended in an unrideable trail, in front of a vertical cliff or a strict driving ban. That’s why Paula, Moritz and me eventually had to admit that such a journey through Slovenia simply made no sense.

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Whether Moritz’s 35 year old Range Rover was the best alternative to hourlong stints of carrying our bikes is open to interpretation. All we knew was that we wanted to combine the individual appealing trails into a bike trip. In a region where massive limestone outcrops are permeated by paths built during the war, similar to the ones in the Italian Trentino & Alto Adige region, a road trip seemed to be a suitable mode of travel. So a canister of coolant instead of a handlebar-pack, a rooftop tent instead of a sleeping mat and a set of stock wrench nuts and a multitool it was.

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km 389 – Kranjska Gora
46° 28' 16'' N | 13° 43' 17'' E


Our day starts rather calmly. The ascend with the chairlift in the bike park of Kranjska Gora is admittedly somewhat meditative. It also shows parallels to the slow speed of travel in our car. All three of us have to focus on not falling asleep before we reach the summit station as the lift slowly sways us up the mountain. After this year’s reshape, Kranjska Gora has a lot more to offer than just its infamous bumpy fields of roots and rocks.

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km 442 – Sella Nevea
46° 23' 22'' N | 13° 28' 26'' E


After a gondola lift ride, an hour of bike-carrying and a bottle of water we stand on the Sella Prevala, right at the border ridge between Slovenia and Italy. The panorama is breathtaking. Approximately 100 years ago artillery was being hoisted up here; today there is supposed to be a challenging but continuously rideable trail all the way down to the valley.

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Moritz and Paula skillfully shift their rear wheels in every switchback, loudly expressing their excitement as they take on risky maneuvers. I on the other hand have to fully concentrate on finding my path on the rugged limestone! It is honestly quite challenging compared to the smooth and fast bike park tracks I am used to! Sometimes in wide, sometimes in narrow turns the path snakes down the slope before it turns into a zig-zag line on the map. Again and again small natural takeoffs on the side of the track entice small and big jumps, and despite the rugged terrain we keep the speed up.


km 452 // Basecamp
46° 25' 14'' N | 13° 33' 55'' E


Vanlife. Perfect sunrises at mountain lakes, immaculately clean vehicles with string lights, moka pots, with steam that rises in the early morning sun with lovely country-music in the background. That is what it looks like on Instagram. In reality the daily procedures of cleaning, cooking, doing dishes, repairing bikes and cleaning again are rather exhausting. And where is the spoke wrench again? But the promise of waking up every morning at a trail start in the middle of nowhere or with a breathtakingly beautiful panorama makes all the efforts worth it.

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km 496 // Robidisce
46° 12' 56'' N | 13° 24' 53'' E


Looking on the map, it is truly impressive what the locals built into this slope with just 350 meters of altitude. 5 tracks of different difficulties make their way through the not too steep terrain in long turns. They are bristled with small and big jumps, technically difficult passages and there is even a shuttle service.

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With the confidence of a French general we start into the dense woods and on “Napoleon” all three of us are thrown off of our high horses immediately. Steering at the end of the turns seems to do nothing. The only way on this soft clay soil seems to be fall line; even when the track leads you directly towards massive birch trees, which make no attempts to get out of our way either. The first rainy day in weeks has turned these tracks into slippery rollercoasters. Despite the soft ground “Fit Helga” is a fun trail but it is still too slippery to do any jumps. “We definitely have to come back here when it’s dry!” Paula states confidently. “And then we’re gonna jump the gap!” The shapers definitely understand their craft here! Robidisce, we will be back.


km 602 – Nanos
45° 49' 10'' N | 14° 1' 9'' E


The Nanos-Plateau was supposed to be the scenic highlight of our trip. However, after a calm start into our two hour climb there, a storm warning motivates us to new peak fitness performances. Dark storm clouds roll into the panorama from the west as we finally reach the start of the trail. The trail spectacularly follows the ridgeline and the almost fist sized lose rocks are something you first have to overcome to enjoy this trail. But with a certain base speed the path feels pretty smooth. Our short prayer at a small chapel was not heard. What seems like the daily downpour by now forces us to take a small break between statues of the virgin Mary and beeswax candles.

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km 525 // On the Road
46° 10' 58'' N | 13° 43' 58'' E


Admittedly, none of us had thought that the old Diesel would make it this far without any incidents. The fact that Moritz has saved the phone number of a local towing company under “Favorites” gives you a glimpse into the trustworthiness of this British diva. This might be why it was to the surprise of no one when combined with a sudden squeak of the engine the power steering stopped working almost completely. After 35 years the pully on the power pump fell off the shaft which made steering honestly quite the arm workout.

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km 691 – Trieste
45° 38' 58'' N | 13° 46' 38'' E


Finalemente - Trieste! When looking at Trailforks one could almost think to be in Squamish. A tight net of trails surrounds the city and the local scene is supposed to be ginormous. This might be the reason why the harbor city is sometimes called the “second Finale Ligure”. Despite the rain the earthy ground on Toboga and Pivo has enough grip and we ascend again immediately. We definitely should have planned for more time here! In comparison to the rocky trails of the last few days, these trails are way smoother to ride. As a little treat we decide to have some pizza and an espresso at the harbor promenade. A worthy conclusion to our trip!


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km 1051 – Way back home
47° 15' 52'' N | 11° 23' 46'' E


“Oh, that doesn’t look too good…!” says Paula as she points under the hood of our car. The water is not coming from the sky this time but from the cooler. “At least you have return insurance!” I mock Moritz as this time he pours a bottle of Sanpellegrino into the almost empty expansion tank. Let’s see how many more unforeseen stops we have to make on our way back. “It would be boring with a new car.” Moritz comments. Paula and I look at each other in a way that says it all and we both can’t contain our laughter any longer. After four attempts to start the car we finally roll back towards home with the speed of a Slovenian chairlift.


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Photos & Layout // Moritz Ablinger


Thanks for the Support

Special thanks to
Dennis Rankl, Friedi Bauer- Specialized Germany
Dirk Janz - Yakima Europe
Dejan Kavs - DK Sport Bovec
Boris Johnson - for Brexit, which makes it incredibly
hard to get spares for classic British cars in the EU now!





Author Info:
mauricephoto avatar

Member since Jun 15, 2015
2 articles

53 Comments
  • 16 0
 RideSlovenia.com do a week long ‘Alps to Sea Tour’ during May and September. Starting in the north near the Austrian border and finishing in Isola on the Adriatic coast, near Trieste. Well worth doing if you fancy visiting somewhere different to the usual Alps hotspots.
Day 4 was shorter, as we visited Ljubljana bike park for a few hours, before exploring the city, then staying in the cells of the former political prison, that’s now a hostel. An enjoyable and memorable trip.
  • 5 0
 Sounds great!
  • 5 0
 Would fully recommend this trip also. Nanos is on the trip we did and is one of the best rides I’ve ever done.
  • 4 0
 Thanks for posting this. Was looking exactly for something like it
  • 2 2
 Pinkbike refused to post this on the front page for some reason so here it is:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvDC-wJkEtM&t=679s
  • 2 0
 @Nickybgoesdownhill: I've booked myself a place on this trip later this year. Thank you all for the recommendations.
  • 9 0
 Nice write up The west side of the country is a little inhospitable to finding nice routes for the MTB. Very rocky and gnarly terrain over there. In our experience the kamnik Savinja Alps or Karavanke Alps have more potential. We start our Alps to Sea tour from the former. Similar concept to your trip. Slovenia has so many amazing trails and some local knowledge helps to find them.
  • 3 0
 Thanks a lot. That sounds great too ... would love to see that part of Slovenia as well! I only hope you guys have a more reliable shuttle vehicle than we did! Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @mauricephoto: Nissan 4x4's. Not let us down yet
  • 7 0
 As someone local to this area, they have left out a ton of fantastic trails along the way! And everyone in this country hates that Kranjska Gora lift, luckily it will be soon replaced with something worthy of present time!
  • 2 0
 Oh yeah, sure we left out some good ones! But the first rain after 5w or drought forced us to change our plans a bit, haha
  • 3 0
 It did the job for me in 2004! Loved the country. I bet the riding is insane there now. So much potential.
  • 9 0
 Give us back Cerkno and Javornik Smile
  • 3 0
 Slowest chair in all of europe!!! Also everyone in carinthia hates it. Good th hear that there is something new coming soon.
  • 1 0
 @blacktea: Javornik is unfortunately 99% gone, the lift is already in pieces and will probably never run again... Whole situation about Cerkno is also stupid and was avoidable but I dont think bikepark will be back anytime soon Frown
  • 1 0
 @winko: that is really sad! They were good bikeparks
  • 7 0
 Trieste is an amazing city.
  • 2 0
 Definitely one of the nicest in northern Italy
  • 6 1
 Slovenia is incredible! The mountain biking looks amazing. I’ve only hiked hut to hut there, maybe someday I can make it back to bike!
  • 2 1
 10/10 recommendation. It's honestly not too easy to find the good trails there ... you can't really tell by just looking on a map whether a path is rideable or not. But there's a bunch of great trails on Trailforks!
  • 1 0
 @mauricephoto: speaking of @trailforks can you guys update the full GPX track on the platform? Or even better each day route independently. If you need help PM me. Would be nice to have all those details on TF so anyone can repeat this amazing trip or part of it.
  • 7 0
 Proper epic road trip and nice videography!
  • 4 0
 Looks like some epic adventure type riding there. The video needed to highlight Slovenia's greatest export though Wink

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOffk1G6OX8
  • 2 0
 I love Slovenia. Went there 2 years ago. The bike park in Krajnska Gora is so OG with the slowest lift ever. Was there almost by myself and this one is one of the more memorable trips I’ve taken. Can only recommend going there if you have the chance.
  • 2 0
 I guess this film had to be released for Specialized to release the last checks to these ambassadors. Really well made and beautiful countries that see little tourism. Such a shame that adventurers will no longer receive help to bring great content. I hope the best for all the Specialized ambassadors that were recently let go.
  • 1 0
 As a racer at heart I’m personally ready for the “ambassador” sponsorship trend to be over.
  • 2 0
 S-LOVE-enia Nice video, respect to cinematography & photography. Those clouds above Nanos and the valley underneath!! Happy to see videos of our home country on PB. Good natural trails can be found in our area (Koroska region), where EWS races took place in 2018 and 2022, despite this not a crowded place. On top of that, you can ride your bike inside the mountain; Black Hole trail is a unique adventure and a bucket list material
  • 1 0
 Thank you so much!
  • 6 0
 How great would that be!
  • 1 0
 It can be! Welcome
  • 4 0
 I love the look of those photos. What postprocessing is that. In any case great light!
  • 2 0
 Thanks mate
  • 4 0
 I love those mk1 Range Rovers, and i admire the courage to pick one for a road trip Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Thanks mate! If you're looking for a reliable vehicle, I can't really recommend buying one, haha
  • 4 0
 My second favourite country on earth, lucky enough to visit 9 times on various trips. It has everything.
  • 2 0
 *everything except the crowds on the trails we have in Austria or Italy haha
  • 4 0
 Head line says video. I was hoping for pictures, maybe some words . Thanks for well written story and great photography.
  • 2 0
 Thanks mate, really appreciate that! Big Grin
  • 3 1
 Wait, didn't Specialized eliminate all of their Ambassadors due to economic headwinds or the need to increase profit margin?
  • 2 0
 Probably just sacked people on their payroll, these things fall under marketing expenses more likely.
  • 3 0
 Looks a stunning place to ride
  • 4 1
 2 chicks and 1 dude, I like this guys style.
  • 2 0
 Sehr schönes Video! Musste mehrmals an unseren alten T4 denken, irgendwie kommt man immer an.
  • 2 0
 Alles eine Frage der Geduld Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Hey, we use our old T4 for our local tours and mtb holidays, works great
  • 2 0
 @ridgelinetrails: it does! I love this car and we're heading on a 2-3 month road trip soon :-) but there have been some road-side repairs to remember (including complete rear brake dismount to fix a blocked wheel... :-)
I Love it.
  • 2 0
 @betobi: At least you guys can get spares for your cars without waiting for months. Thanks Boris for Brexit, hahaha Big Grin
  • 1 0
 how do they stay so clean?
  • 2 0
 Sweet
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