Rog's Pony Bicycles more than a year ago
You don't have to look far in Ljubljana to find inspiration to write about Rog, the old socialist bike manufacturer. Rog was formerly based in a big factory by the Ljubljanica river, now a budding cultural centre and host to many an underground party, concert and dance production.
Rog factory's vital statistics:
- Produced bikes from 1951-1991
- The 'Rog' brand name sold in 2004 for €210,732.77
- Opened as cultural centre in 2006
Relics of old Yugoslavia, Rog bikes are still all over the place in LJ (local slang for the Slovenian capital). You can hear varying degrees of metallic rattling emanating from these hunks of stainless steel, and of course the unmistakable trill of their antique - and more or less obligatory - bells. The point is, there are actually still loads of the older models trundling around Ljubljana's cobbled back-streets and major thoroughfares, which, 18 years and counting since the factory closed, only confirms the communist engineering ethic: 'build it like a tank' - build it to last.
Perhaps Rog's most cherished model, the Pony, with its dinky frame and comically undersized wheels, is definitely the cutest. You see everyone, from petite female students to lanky businessmen in three-piece suits to centenarian grandmothers, perched on their springy seats. You see these prancing Ponies in every colour, sometimes having been painted over numerous times. Ljubljana’s somewhat endemic bike theft is also the reason why little Ponies can be spotted with enormous chunky-steel chain locks. This goes to show their rising cult status - it's only a matter of time before they are reproduced in a less authentic, and of course less cool, form. Back in the day there was even a motorised, 'ekspres' model!