E Bike over Nanos
Wow, what a day.. We finally did it! That big lump of rock that dominates the skyline at the back of Lipizzaner Lodge.. well we only went and cycled over it all the way to the Vipava valley on the other side.. and we did it on E Bikes!
We had thought E Bikes were for doddery old people in Switzerland until a couple of years ago when we actually had a go on one with our friend Alex at Rockvelo in the amazing Vipava valley.. this is a place where even the fittest cyclists would struggle to bike around on a regular mountain bike as it is like much of the rest of Green Slovenia.. covered in beautiful wiggly hills.
An E bike is such a better alternative to a car as it is more eco friendly and allows you to see more when touring around and it can triple your possible range over a regular mountain bike. All an E bike does is give you an extra push for going up hills and that is essential in Green Slovenia!
So now we are absolutely convinced that E Bikes are a key element for guests to properly explore certain parts of Green Slovenia and really discovering some of the amazing secret places here. We already know a lot of great routes that could be done by Ebike from the Lodge..
So we are pleased to say that Lipizzaner Lodge is a Rockvelo HUB with access to Rockvelo's top of the range E Bikes, route technology AND support infrastructure to offer Lodge guests and customers an unbeatable package to rent your own EBike for the day, fully tanked up on electricity made from our own solar panels, so you can go explore some really secret tracks DIRECTLY from Lipizzaner Lodge!
OK, let's calm down a bit and check out how we did the first great E BIKE adventure that we will offer directly from the Lodge..
"Over Nanos to the Vipava valley"..
Nanos mountain is a natural green skyscraper in our Green Karst mini region, but we always fancied the idea of jumping on some Rockvelo E Bikes with Alex and seeing if it was possible to go from the Lodge up & over the top and down to the Mediterranean Vipava wine valley on the other side for a day of incredible contrasting scenery and nature, excitement, biking with a little boost and of course, ice cream!
The logistics.. almost 6 hours in the saddle and 60 km biked.. only possible with an E Bike..
Lipizzaner Lodge / Predjama Castle / forest, mountain, green nature TO the top of Nanos / quick drink at a mountain top tourist farm / forest, mountain, green nature ON the top of Nanos / lunch and a rest in fab Eco restaurant on the top / forest, mountain, amazing church, green nature DOWN Nanos / best ice cream in Slovenia in town of Vipava / Vipava valley / vineyards, river, terracotta roofed villages, green nature / Kriz medieval hill top village for final drinks and mucho congratulations!
That's it.. how difficult could that be!!
We started the day in good cheer with a nice cuppa at the Lodge.. after a final glance up at Nanos we jumped onto our top quality Rockvelo E Bikes to start our unexpected adventure.
Alex is a biking tour guide with all the tech gadgets and local knowledge at his disposal, so we left the route up to him, apart from firstly showing him the amazing secret route to the most unique castle in the world, Predjama.. we are very lucky to have this secret forest path right outside Lipizzaner Lodge's doorstep!
Visiting the castle was not part of this trip, but could be part of yours of course.. but seriously, when a place is just so beautiful as this, we couldn't resist using the extra power in our legs to whizz up to the castle gates and enjoy the spectacular view, all just 10 mins into the cycle!
It was then up into the foothills of Nanos to cruise slowly up shady forest stone roads and actually skirt around the side of the mountain along the old Roman road from Ljubljana to Rome for a little bit before turning off at a picturesque little village and back onto ALL forest and mountain tracks!
These E bikes are so great.. you can choose from several modes to help you, depending on how tough the hill or terrain is. You have gears and chunky tyres, it is just a very comfy mountain bike ride, but the pedalling can be as light or heavy as you like!
We really enjoyed the amazing ups and downs of the Nanos hinterland here and with an E Bike it became more about enjoying the views and the ride, than worrying about the steepness of the hills.. you actually look forward to the hills! But don't think for a second that these are mopeds on wheels, absolutely not.. you do a lot of pedalling like a normal bike ride, but at your pace regardless of the terrain!
Alex ensured we drank water at every opportunity, with his biking & guiding experience he knows that on such a long cycle on a sunny day it is easy to forget to drink and then get easily dehydrated.
We decided to do a small detour down a side track to go see a little river called Bela, "white" and there was this absolutely amazing gradual downhill along a stone road through a beech forest, where the shadows were dancing and the sunflakes were bouncing and the green leaves were fluttering.. wow it was just amazing, the freewheel seemed to last for 10 mins, we just kept going and going.
But what goes down must go up, so we then had a time ascending to our first stop at a tourist farm near the top of the mountain where we had a drink and some nuts and then continued up across the forest plateau until we reached a new ECO restaurant where the young owner cooks only local dishes from locally sourced suppliers. We had a delicious local meal and chilled out on deckchairs for a while.
This restaurant is on the top of Nanos with views over the Vipava valley side.. we had some time to explore the massive cliff top and found an old soldiers road that had snaked up the mountain and along the top ridge. The views from up here, well over 1,000m up, are a little like being in an airplane, but it is a biking day and fully refuelled, we were eager to hop back on the bikes..
Our next part of the adventure was quite spectacular and something you would imagine just superfit tour de France cyclists would be doing.. but it was little old us!! Yep, we biked down a set of hairpin bends on the tarmac road that leads up to this restaurant and the views from each successive hairpin out over the lower end of the Vipava valley were just absolutely amazing!
We could have stayed on the road all the way down to the base of the valley, but Alex also knew a secret track half way down that sliced along the side of the mountain, like a green stone and rocky forest avenue.. all downhill! So you could choose to stay on the hairpins for a helter skelter ride down or do what we did next..
There are a few bits along here where you need to dismount and walk for a bit, (unless you are a very experienced mountain bike rider.. or a nutter), but there are no sheer drops or anything like that, just some steep little mini sections, maybe with a few big rocks in the path that are better to walk over.. now knowing all this, we would choose this secret path every time!
On this path we quite unexpectedley came out to a small clearing about halfway along the track by a fantastic church.. literally in the middle of nowhere and nestled under some pretty high rocky cliffs spilling off the top of the mountain. There were so many highlights in this day, but we would never have found this particular track and it provided some really fab biking and side views of the mountain.
We were starting to feel a little tired now as we hit tarmac again and descended the near vertical road into the very pretty town of Vipava, (one of our favourite towns in all Green Slovenia), where 7 different mini rivers spill out from the side of the mountain and flow off into the Vipava river. But more importantly on a day like today, the old town centre has a cafe that makes the best ice cream in all Green Slovenia and we absolutely devoured ours like manna from heaven!
We took a few pretty side roads Alex knew to get out of town and into the vineyards along the base of the Vipava Valley. It is very different here in this valley, just 10 mins as the crow flies from the Lodge, over Nanos to a wine growing green mediterranean world!
The really great thing for tired legs about the Vipava valley is you can cycle the lowest point along the river and it is relatively flat.. so this what we did. We cycled next to bushy vines, through villages with bright terracotta roofs until we made our final short ascent to the medieval hill top village of Kriz, (another big favourite of ours) and our final destination on this magical E bike adventure.
We had a well deserved beer and sat under the cafe umbrellas admiring this picturesque little village with a castle and ancient stone buildings. It was a fitting end to an amazing day. We were shocked to learn we had covered almost 60km and don't forget over a third of this was uphill.. but most of all we had such amazing memories of a day spent in good company in a beautiful part of the world on great bikes and we had also proved that you can get deep into the Vipava valley in just a day on an E bike from the Lodge!
Huge thanks to Alex at Rockvelo for such a memorable adventure!