The Slovenia Times

Records and retro at quirky bike race


An altitude gain of 801 metres over 13.5 kilometres is a challenge for any cyclist. But every year in Slovenia hundreds do just that with old-school single-gear bicycles that were definitely not designed for the mountains.

The ninth annual Red Bull Goni Pony race attracted a record 1,600 competitors this year whose rides had to adhere to strict rules: only 20-inch wheels, no gears, no motors and no carbon parts - and at least the rear brake must work.

The race is a tribute to the Pony, a legendary city bike made by the now defunct bicycle maker Rog that can still be found in their thousands in every city in the country. In fact, competitors get special kudos if they come to the race with an original Pony bike produced between 1965 and 1985.

While the race is more about taking part than wining, and racers get special points for the craziest looks, the organisers nevertheless keep a close eye on time.

The absolute record time remains unbeaten at 39 minutes and 39 seconds, but Laura Šimenc beat her own 2020 women's record by finishing in 44 minutes and 55 seconds. This is the fifth time she has won the race.


More from Society