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First come, first served: why is it good to book a tour in Slovenia as soon as possible?

When choosing accommodation on both guided and self-guided tours, our first choice is smaller, family-owned hotels and B&Bs. The kind in which we feel good, too. Whenever possible, we also test this. At the end of the 2023 season, we spent the night in one of these places with our team and felt firsthand why guests often praise the Odlična hiša Štanjel as their favorite accommodation.

The owners Bojan and Iva took care of us as their family members or friends. After our teams’ internal meeting and dinner, they chatted with us long into the night. And yet, delicious smells came from the kitchen early in the morning. We really value people who make hosting a mission, not just a job. They also said that our guests – cyclists – are all great guests, friendly, grateful, unproblematic.

Keep in mind that many of the destinations we visit on our tours are small, with very limited accomodation capacities. Therefore, those of you who hurry up with bookings have a better chance of being taken care of by friendly people – like Bojan and Iva.

 

11 tips for Cycling in the rain: advice from experienced Slovenian cyclists

Will it rain on our bicycle tours? Maybe. Are we going to cycle anyway? Most probably we will. Whether you’ll enjoy it, or the rain will spoil the experience, it is up to you 🙂

Proper preparation transforms rainy rides into exhilarating adventures, elevating your cycling skills and confidence. Skipping the outdoor ride during a downpour might disrupt your training rhythm. Instead, gear up for the challenge and enhance your rainy-day rides. Adopt these essential tips for a safe and successful bike trip, ensuring both you and your bike are rain-ready.

Dive into our tips for cycling in the rain curated by expert tour guides and let the drizzles redefine your cycling experience.

 

 

#01 Follow the weather forecast

 

Like if mountain climbing or sailing, it is wise to monitor the weather forecast not only for a few hours but two or three days ahead. It is very likely that each of you has a weather app installed on your smartphone that will also cover Slovenia, while all our guests also get an app with links to the general weather forecast in each of the destinations on the cycling route.

In the event of possible extreme weather forecasts, we also provide real-time warnings to all guests on the bike tour via the same mobile app. For everyone on a self-guided tour, following the forecast is very important, while on guided tours weather monitoring (and possibly ordering a honey schnapps at the destination) will be taken care of by our experienced local guide.

 

Here’s a very useful website – the rainfall radar animation is useful to observe where the rain is spreading from. Similar, even better rainfall animations are also offered by the Windy application (recommended).

 

#02 Look up! And listen to the locals

 

Clouds after the rain in Slovenia.

 

In the era of smart pocket weather forecasts, people sometimes overlook very clear hints that something is happening with the weather: mountain peaks in clouds, a sudden change in wind strength, darker clouds (in the western part of Slovenia, rain clouds usually, but not necessarily, come from western directions). We will not write about the clouds on the top of which mountain almost certainly mean rain and what kind of wind the locals call the ‘peeing wind’. But yes, a local person, for example, the caretaker of a mountain hut, CAN be smarter than your smartphone.

 

#03 Take advantage of the ‘dry window’ opportunity

 

A group of cyclists in the rain in Slovenia.

 

Based on the information from the previous two points, find the time of day when there will be no rain, or it will be more moderate. It is very rare that it rains continuously all day, so take advantage of this ‘dry window’ and during this time cycle as long as possible without stopping at tourist attractions, lunches, etc. You can use the time when you are waiting for departure or after arriving at your destination early to visit the WWI museum in Kobarid, go wine-tasting in Goriška Brda, relax in the pool or sauna in Thermana Laško, or simply rest.

 

#04 Stay dry (and warm!)

 

A cyclists wearing rain jacket in Slovenia.

 

You know what they say: There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment. That’s why mandatory equipment on the bike throughout the whole cycling tour is a waterproof jacket that covers the upper body. YES, even on a hot summer day, and NO, it’s not useful in the suitcase at the hotel!

The hood, if you have one, will probably need to be placed under the helmet or the water will run down your neck. In practice, it turns out that affordable jackets from some sports equipment supermarkets (like Decathlon) are just fine. In case of prolonged rain and lower temperatures, you will also appreciate waterproof trousers and/or gloves. Some also use outer socks, which are put over the shoes. Be aware that when cycling, water can also come from the underside (if the bikes do not have mudguards – e.g. mountain bikes). Sometimes it is possible to improvise: if you make holes for the head and hands in the garbage bag, the thing can be quite effective. It’s important that you stay warm, therefore, an additional layer of warm clothing under the rain gear will also come in handy.

Important: In our agency, we rent bicycles, helmets, some bags, navigation equipment, and more, but you will have to take care of rain jackets yourself. Don’t expect the guide to lend it to you because he/she needs it for him/herself 🙂

 

#05 Keep your equipment dry

 

A very cheap solution: wrap things that should not get wet (phone, wallet, spare clothes, food) in an additional bag, in case of emergency the one for fruit. Even waterproof bags/backpacks are not miraculous.

 

#06 Pay attention to what’s under the tires

 

A cyclist in Slovenia looking the Soča river from a bridge.

 

The most dangerous is the first rain after a long dry period. That’s when there’s the most dirt on the road, including oil, and that’s when it really gets slippery. Pay attention when riding over old cobblestones (for example when descending from Vršič mountain pass or in the city centers), painted parts of roads (crosswalks), low curbs (between the bike path and the sidewalk), wet wood (MTB riders, you’ve learned that, right).

On a bike, especially a road bike, the rear tire loses grip faster, while it will be more difficult to solve the skid of the first tire in the rain. In short: adapt the speed of cycling and performing other maneuvers to the conditions. Better late in the hotel than fast in the hospital.

 

#07 Stay visible

 

A cyclist in a yellow jacket waiting for the rain to stop.

 

The rain jacket should be of a visible color (yellow, fluorescent, white) and never black. Also, turn on your front and rear lights so that you can be seen by other drivers.

 

#08 Wait for the worst under the roof

 

A group of cyclists in Slovenia waiting for the rain to stop.

 

While cycling can be quite pleasant in light rain, in a storm it pays to wait somewhere dry; maybe under the roof of the bus station, even better in a restaurant while slurping hot homemade mushroom soup.

Summer storms or heavy downpours in Slovenia usually last no longer than half an hour, an hour at the most. Also, keep in mind that road problems can happen after extreme weather. For guests on our guided and self-guided tours, we check this as quickly as possible and inform all cyclists along the way. If needed, see next tip No. 9.

 

#09 Explore alternatives

 

Depending on the weather forecast, choose a shorter/faster route already in the morning. That’s why our tours have different route options (usually CLASSIC and HARD, or CLASSIC and EASIER). This is especially important for our MTB tours because you don’t want to wait out the storm somewhere high in the mountains and then go down on a muddy track.

If the forecast is very bad or there is someone in the group who is afraid of rain or does not have suitable equipment, they should put their bike on the train or bus, in the worst case the locals will help you with transportation.

 

#10 Dry wet equipment

 

Ask for a dryer at the hotel at the destination. Believe us, they’d rather help you than let you run a hair dryer for hours while drying your socks in your room. This is dangerous and wastes energy.

 

#11 Keep your spirits up

 

Two Slovenian cyclists smiling in their rain gear.

 

You simply cannot learn this from articles like this. People are different and sensitive to natural phenomena in different ways. Basically, if you follow the rest of the tips in this article, cycling in the rain isn’t that bad. Keep in mind the dinner that awaits you at your destination, perhaps a shot of homemade schnapps might help to prevent the cold. Different situations (not only rain but also heat, wind, flat tires, …) make up a colorful mosaic of a cycling adventure.

We can provide well-maintained bikes and excellent guides, but unfortunately, we have no influence on the weather.

 

When we at the Visit GoodPlace agency plan guided and self-guided cycling tours in Slovenia and the surrounding countries, we try to find dates that would spare guests numb fingers from the cold (when crossing the Julian Alps on the Trans Slovenia 01 MTB tour in April, for example) or the worst heat (if riding the Istria Gourmet Cycling Route in the middle of the summer).

Pets as tourists in Slovenia: Can I join your tour with my dog?

We’ve been getting more and more questions about whether you can bring your pet on our cycling or hiking tours – so far you’ve only asked about dogs. Let’s briefly explain what experience we have with this.

Three members of the Visit GoodPlace team have dogs. One of them, a calm border collie named Blue, is even in our office regularly. That’s why we understand very well when you ask if you can take a dog on one of our cycling or hiking tours. As far as we are concerned for all self-guided or tailor-made tours, the answer is clear: of course you can! But it doesn’t end here.

First: it’s YOU who must make sure that your furry friend is able to do the tour, and that neither the animal nor you will have problems on the tour. What does that mean? It’s very clear in the case of hiking tours: the dog must be able to walk the entire day’s stages – which should not be a problem for most animals – or you must provide a suitable backpack (no, we don’t have one for rent). We think it’s pretty clear that dogs are not welcome on wildlife-watching tours. We doubt that the dog will be quietly waiting at the lookout when a bear is walking down below.

For cycling, it is a bit more complex – you need to make sure you have a suitable trailer or trunk, depending on the size of the animal. Nope, we don’t have that in our offer yet – for now.

But there is another factor that we cannot influence: accommodation. Dogs are welcome in some places, in some places they are strictly not, and in other places they were welcome in past, but because of bad experiences, they just don’t want to hear about dogs anymore. Sometimes, when making a reservation, we are asked “How big is this dog?” or “It won’t sleep in bed, right?”. In short, we cannot give you a clear answer until we make a detailed inquiry for a specific tour at a specific time. Also, because we don’t always sleep in the same hotels/B&Bs/homestays – it depends on the time of year and availability.

At this particular moment (spring 2023) we can tell you that we have a confirmed furry member for one Bike Slovenia Green: Alps to Adriatic. So, the answer to the question in the article’s title is: YES, you can, BUT … Read the whole article again 🙂

Thank you for your understanding,

Matevž from Visit GoodPlace

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