Plaza at a beach
The route will start at probably the most visited place in Ljubljana - BTC or Blagovno trgovski center (shopping centre). Before BTC, there were public warehouses, but the intended purpose was altered long time ago and the emphasis nowadays is mainly on commerce. Nothing unusual if you take into account that there are 450 shops in the area of BTC. There is also Kolosej mega-cinema, Xpand cinema, night club, hotel, business premises, free parking garage, rich gastronomic offer, and, after all, a city beach in Atlantis Water Park. Regardless of the wide and tempting offer you will not stay long at BTC. It will serve as a starting point where you can also leave your car. Now you can really start. It is best to leave the shops behind, otherwise you won't get far. Avoid the shops as follows: between Kolosej and Atlantis proceed towards Tuš shopping centre where you turn left in the roundabout. The big black building on the left is Plaza BTC Hotel which opened in the spring of 2012 and is one of the biggest hotels in Ljubljana. The black façade is lighted by white diagonal stripes at night, making the hotel somewhat special. Soon after the next roundabout cross Bratislavska Road and drive on the cycle lane past Plaza Hotel to the next roundabout, cross Bratislavska Road once more, then continue along the two-way cycle lane (on the left) to the traffic lights at Šmartinska Road . Turn towards Šentjakob and Domžale. There is, curiously enough, no signpost for both of the settlements. This is not so unusual for Šentjakob since this name no longer denotes an independent settlement; namely, it has been a part of the city of Ljubljana for a long time. But there should be a signpost for Domžale at least. Nevertheless, apply some basic orientation skills. Take the northeast direction, i.e. straightforward over the northern bypass. Continue through Šmartno ob Savi and Sneberje until you get to the traffic lights where you turn left. Cross the Sava River somewhat further on and you'll reach the so called Šentjakob. Turn straight to Domžale at the traffic lights. Heavily traffic burdened part of the route is behind you, so the cycling was not as relaxed as it could be. This will soon change as the roads are not as busy from here on and the cycling is thus more pleasant, however, you still have to be careful.
Round and past Domžale
You can admire an interesting architecture of the new primary school on the right in Dragomelj (it is already outside the Municipality of Ljubljana). Even the 'hairstyle' of the school has been taken care of - it is a green one. This means that a vast patch of crew cut grass grows on its roof. Imagine it with long hair! Further towards Domžale is a big red-white antenna tower on the left. This is medium wave transmitter of Radio Slovenia . Do not watch it too long or you'll miss the right turn (which is marked) for Študa where you have to go. The local road through Študa leads across the motorway Ljubljana-Maribor and through a nice forest to Prelog pri Ihanu. Cycle to the main road there and then turn left towards Zaboršt pri Domžalah. Cross the motorway once more and continue to the crossroads with traffic lights at Krona Hotel where you turn right. Your bike is hopefully still functional, is it not? If you have any problems with it, you can take it to the bicycle shop and service in the vicinity. Such a luxury will not be at your disposal until the end of the trip. Proceed to the next traffic lights at the motorway junction, where you turn left. Paddle up a slightly steep slope to Podrečje and on to Vir. At the traffic lights in Vir, cross the main road towards Radomlje, then cycle through Količevo and Škerjančevo. The Helios factory is on the left and further is Količevo Karton Paper Mill .It is known for its past pollution of the Kamniška Bistrica River which was thus as white as milk, and for other emissions in the environment. It now owns a treatment plant so the river pollution has almost ceased. The noise and smell still remain, though.
Continue a little further, constantly between houses, until you reach the roundabout in Radomlje . Radomlje is quite known – for its famous inns and milling industry, once a much widespread trade. The milling was so popular that the locals arranged their own streams, so called millraces. There are supposedly eleven of them in the wider area. One of the longest is called the Radomeljska Mlinščica Stream . It is not a real stream, but a sustainable channel which acquires water from the Kamniška Bistrica River and returns it in the riverbed after it finishes its job. The water first flows to the Rača River from where it finally returns to the Kamniška Bistrica River. Only one mill, namely, the one at the roundabout in the middle of the settlement, still operates today. You should remember this if you need home-made flour, groats or grain, such as millet. Other mills are closed, but you can still see them on the outside. Two of them are almost on your way. You'll spend less than ten minutes if you visit them. Radomlje is also known for the famous Volčji Potok Arboretum.It is just next to your route, only a kilometre and a half from the roundabout towards Kamnik.
Tree-lined alley by the stream
It is more of a botanical garden with all possible woody and herbaceous plants (local and foreign) which grow in Slovenia than a tree-lined alley which is the actual meaning of arboretum. Beside the outdoor plants, arboretum also has indoor plants (which cannot spend the winter outside). Such plants are kept inside - in glasshouses. Volčji Potok Arboretum is worth a visit, but will take too much of your time and you'll hardly finish the tour if you visit it today. However, you can return next time for an afternoon trip.
Merchants (and others) with coins
Cycle past the golf course a little further on and along the lovely road to Šmarca. At first houses in Šmarca turn left to the parallel road which is marked as a cycle lane and continue to the new roundabout at a second large shopping centre on your way - Qlandia . Be very careful here. The cycle lane runs quite clumsily round the roundabout. If you are not resourceful it is best to pretend you're with a car and just cycle on the road. You certainly have to continue to the west to Komenda. This is the right way: at the end of the dead end street (at noise barriers at the roundabout) join the cycle lane which turns sharply back (180 degrees) and descend below Kamnik bypass via reverse routes , and continue along the reverse routes up on the other side to the roundabout, cross the junction from direction of Kamnik, cycle a quarter of circle on the lane at the roundabout and then turn towards Kranj, Moste and Komenda. Cross the Kamnik-Ljubljana railway line, cycle past the chicken farm (produces 'eggs from below the Kamnik mountains') and the Meso Kamnik meat industry (if you don't like eggs) to the next crossroads. You'll see the bicycle service board, but do not rejoice too early: the board indicates the service in the centre of Kamnik, some four kilometres from here and also in the wrong direction. You're headed to Moste and Komenda.
Križ - without any problems
Have you got a cycling meter? If yes, then remember the numbers at the roundabout's exit and exactly after three hundred metres turn right to Križ . A local road leads past Križe Pond or Gajšek Pond and below Križ Castle. Or at least it used to be a castle. Only a part of the walls and a watchtower have been preserved until today, but the main building has been demolished. Cycle through the settlement of Križ to the famous inn where a short break would indeed be suitable. A really short break as you're not even halfway through the today's route. Decide wisely so it will not cause you any further troubles beside Križ (križ also means grief in Slovenian). With or without a break, the route leads towards Komenda. If you want to keep up your speed, you can leave out this detour to Križ and drive all the way along the main road to Moste where you turn right to Komenda. Though, the more beautiful and less busy is the route described first.
Knights in shining armours...
Komenda is known for the hippodrome where horse races are regularly on the schedule. Even before you see it, you'll notice a large Equestrian Centre . The road soon turns towards north and then to a smaller roundabout. GPS would say: 'Take the next exit.' As it is usually right, listen to it and follow directions. At the first following crossroads do not change direction, but turn right at the next crossroads towards Podboršt and you'll arrive to Komenda Mountain Hut. The mountain hut in the lowland is one of the Komenda's peculiarities, besides Komenda itself, of course.
Namely, the settlement is worth seeing. If you would like to go there, turn left (not right) at the aforementioned crossroads, then cycle to the next crossroads where you turn right and up the slope. It is impossible to miss it. Take a run before you head to the steep slope to gain some speed. You won't have problems with parking at the top as there is a large and arranged parking area. Even if it's full, there'll always be a place for a bike. Although you'll see Komenda only briefly, it is still interesting. Near the chapel before the parking area is a mighty, more than 700 years old linden tree , the arrangement of the church square has a noticeable Plečnik's influence and Šmid Castle is behind the church, where the seat of the Maltese knights was until the end of the 18th century.
Boršt, woodlands and grove
Komenda behind, the route continues through Podboršt past Komenda Mountain Hut (time for a break?) and through a real forest which offers pleasant shade. You can also take a look at Dr Tone Zajc's partisan hospital which is only three hundred metres away from the road, but you'll have to go there on foot. When the trees get scarce in the forest, cycle over the woodland which means an undulating flat landscape, partially grown with trees. The current surroundings could indeed not be described better. An old border between the settlements obviously runs somewhere in the middle, because there are two dobravas (woodlands - at least by their names): Komendska and Cerkljanska Dobrava. First in your direction is Komendska Dobrava and after 600 metres Cerkljanska follows. It did not suffice in the past to say only 'at Dobrava', it had to be specified which one was referred to in order to specify the right location. After Dobravas, forest and grove follow again and last, but not least, Zalog (Za-log meaning behind grove) with its pleasant inn. When there are no more houses in view, turn perpendicularly right at the crossroads to Glinje. A nice road first takes you to Šmartno, then to Poženik where another rectangular right turn follows. Do not flounder through the settlement, but rather use the village west bypass instead, and turn left when the road ends as this is the only logical direction. A long flat road runs across the fields, where storks have been recently appearing more and more often , and leads you to Cerklje na Gorenjskem. Turn left at the municipal building. Cerklje is not really a city, but definitely more than just a village which you've seen on your way. It is obvious from the surroundings that the inhabitants take care of their environment. You can also visit a museum in the building of TIC (Tourist Information Centre) , a memorial park of the honorary citizens, Hribar House , monument to the famous composer and conductor Davorin Jenko and the Church of the Assumption of Mary. It is clear that gastronomic offer is also in abundance. You would also get to Cerklje if you hadn't turn towards Glinje in Zalog, but would cycle straightforward and stick to the main road. Although it would have been faster but it would also be less exciting.
Restlessness in the air
Your next stop is Brnik, moreover Zgornji and Spodnji Brnik. The first one has a luxury Dvor Jezeršek Hotel , but you're not headed there, and the second one has a roundabout which is important for the continuation of the route. The roundabout is fascinating, because a model of a passenger aircraft – the same as the ones that land at the nearby airport – is situated in the middle island. The rocks that encompass the model probably symbolise the position of the airport between the Karavanke and the Julian Alps, although most of people would not expect that the aircrafts would be landing so close to dangerous rocks.
Turn to Vodice in the roundabout. This road is a little more busy, flat and clear, so the motorists like to drive fast. Fields to the left, fields to the right, again to the left, forest to the right and meadow on the left, airport on the right – such is the sequence of the views on the way. If it occurs so, you can witness the over-flight of an aircraft low above your head. The road turns to the forest and after some more turnings you arrive to Vodice. Slope downhill follows and a sharp turn to the left, then a plain to the traffic lights at the main crossroads where you turn left. You'll be drawn to the large Church of St. Margaret in Vodice, which cannot be overlooked. The town was once famous for its pretzels which can be nowadays bought only at one or two of their producers.
Across the field to Polje (field)
In Vodice find the turning for Bukovica. Behind the primary school at the end of the settlement, a wonderful flat and properly wide road awaits, which will take you straight to Bukovica pri Vodicah. Find a first right turn (200 m after the bump at the entrance of the settlement) where you turn slightly to the right to the narrow village road. There is almost no traffic; however, there are many hikers and cyclists. Exactly a kilometre is to the next crossroads where the road joins a larger road which connects Utik with Polje. This road will take you to Polje pri Vodicah where, after passing the inn on the right and continuing on the short flat section, you arrive to the regional road Ljubljana-Brnik which you've left in Vodice. You made a smaller detour, but have thus avoided a more busy road and got to know some pleasant settlements on the way. At the crossroads turn left to the regional road.
You're heading back to Ljubljana now. The route runs through Skaručna to Šmartno pod Šmarno goro where you turn left to Gameljne. Cross the motorway, turn left again and cycle to Zgornje Gameljne which is known for the only Russian dača (holiday house) in Slovenia. Srednje and Spodnje Gameljne follow next, then you have to cycle through the forest to Črnuče. Now you're really in Ljubljana. You just have to return to the starting point. To do so, proceed as follows: at the crossroads with the main road in Črnuče turn right to the bridge over the Sava River and continue to the centre of the city to the crossroads with northern bypass where you turn left (at Rotonda). A nicely arranged cycle lane runs from here onward, past Stožice Sports Park and to Šmartinska Road. Cross it, cycle to the roundabout in front of Plaza Hotel (you already know it) and turn right to BTC. Turn left at the first crossroads, and your car should be waiting for you at the car park.
This was a nice and smooth tour. Just enough (or maybe too much) for your body and soul. When you'll repeat it, stop at Volčji Potok and leave out a turn or two through the villages and thus save a few kilometres.