Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Day 2: Downhill riding on good bicycles, good backing

We started the day’s ride in Postojna with Professor Ushka Stangar and her family, husband Rajko and daughters Anya, 14, and Marussa, 12. The young girls seemed ready to go and immediately started setting as strong a pace as the day before. We had a long downhill ride into a karst landscape like we have in northeast Iowa; a river we rode by actually disappears into the ground and arises several miles beyond, with a different name at different locations. The downhill ride through several switchbacks almost made up for the steep climb of the day before.

We visited CULT, a bicycle manufacturer that has loaned us the bikes for our tour. Green Bike participant Mladen Franko owns two of the company’s bikes (his new one cost $6,000). Our bikes were not such top-of-the-line bikes but they are beautiful machines.

Another important donor to our Green Bike Tour is Gary Port of Lisbon, Iowa. We have purchased 70 T-shirts here in Slovenia for those who ride with us. Gary runs Barnyard Screen Printing and designed our team logo back in 2002. He updated a previous design, added a map of Slovenia and sent it to us for printing locally.

Mladen’s wife, Rada, and two of her friends joined us about 10 miles from Ljubljana, so 11 riders entered the capital city. It is always best to see a great city by bicycle. We spent the day as tourists and relaxing after our first 100 kilometers. Tomorrow we start meetings with in Ljubljana.

(Also, read blog posts by David Osterberg for The Des Moines Register, and by Joe Bolkcom)

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The Green Bike Tour is sponsored by The University of Iowa's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, The Iowa Policy Project, and The Fred & Charlotte Hubbell Foundation, and Kelly Webworks.