What Made Ljubljana the Perfect Host of The Velo-city Summit 2022?

By Adam Marsal

Some cities have been experiencing unparalleled development of cycling culture which, apart from other assets, makes them a perfect choice for hosting international cycling events. After cities like Copenhagen, Berlin or Amsterdam, we’d like to introduce Ljubljana – the green, clean and safe capital of Slovenia with 290,000 inhabitants.

The city received plenty of international awards like the European Green Capital Award in 2016. The Copenhagenize Bicycle Friendly Cities Index has been rating Ljubljana among the most bike-friendly cities in the world. This year, Ljubljana hosts the world cycling summit Velo City where advocates, city officials, scientists, researchers and industry leaders will meet to shape the image of cycling. The four-day event will take place in Ljubljana from 14 to 17 June 2022.

Bicycles in Ljubljana
Ljubljana is one of Europe’s friendliest cities for cyclists. © Profimedia

Velo-city represents a significant part in promoting cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transport. The event has been arranged annually in different cities since 1980. Every time, Velo-city attracts more than 1,400 participants from over 60 countries to discuss the future of cycling in the urban environment. Let’s explain what brought Ljubljana to the attention of international cycling communities.

In addition to many infrastructural refinements and other measures, the accessible bicycle-rental system called BicikeLJ has remarkably contributed to the growth of cycling in the city. After its introduction in 2011, the system became extremely popular mainly because the first hour of use is free. According to the operator’s statistics, up to 98 per cent of all rides are completed within an hour, which means that most people use the public bikes for free. From the original number of 300 bikes located at 30 stations, the public service doubled to over 600 bikes available at 61 stations. In the past 11 years, the number of bicycle rentals exceeded 7 million. An average bike trip by a shared bike takes 16 minutes.

Riding the bike is comfortable as Ljubljana stretches over a mostly flat surface, providing visiting cyclists with plenty of easy-to-reach attractions. Tourists are encouraged to take any of the four thematic cycle paths that were designed and marked to connect the most beautiful parts of the city such as the Fužine Castle on the embankment of the Ljubljanica River, the Kodeljevo district, the city centre or the masterpieces by famous architect Josip Plecnik.

Ljubljana currently offers over 300 km of well-maintained cycling paths. In compliance with healthy transport policies, cycling is allowed in the opposite direction on many one-way roads, as well as in the pedestrian zones in the city centre. The network of bike lanes is continually growing, followed by many MTB single trails around the city. If any European city deserves our attention, it’s definitively Ljubljana, Slovenia, which is eager to prove its qualities no later than this summer.