Slovenia post issued a set of two postage stamps featuring postal vehicles as a part of Europa 2013 series. The stamps shows Krpan mail bicycle and Diligence mail coach.
Krpan Mail Bicycle
It is no mere coincidence that the Krpan mail bicycle, which you can encounter every day on the streets of Slovenian towns, bears the name of the hero of superhuman strength from the tale by Levstik. The bike was developed especially for mail delivery, and with a thought for safe and environmentally friendly postal transport.
The bicycle is developed and assembled in Slovenia. The Krpan bike as used by Pošta Slovenije is yellow, and along with its name on the frame, it also bears the traditional sign of Pošta Slovenije – the mail horn.
It has been in production since 2001, and the 11th series of the Krpan bike is now being produced for Pošta Slovenije requirements. The bicycle is being continuously developed and upgraded in line with user needs. The robust design of the frame allows easy mounting and dismounting.
The aluminium frame is reinforced, providing greater safety and durability, something lacking in ordinary bicycles. The rear luggage rack, which also serves as protection for the cyclist in a possible fall, can carry bags made of synthetics or PVC material, which is resistant to major temperature differences.
Its low centre of gravity makes the bike very stable and ideal for carrying large quantities of postal packages. The maximum permitted load of the bike, together with cargo, is 200 kg, with the bike itself weighing 24 to 25 kg. A trailer can also be attached. Krpan bicycles, which have become a big success, are also used by mail deliverers in six other countries.
Diligence Mail Coach
In the second half of the 18th century, diligence mail coaches started operating on the main postal roads in the Slovenian lands. At that time the postal service took on a leading role in passenger transport, with private coach services being increasingly limited in the transport of passengers.
The diligences were comfortable mail coaches with a sprung undercarriage and padded interior, in which it was quite comfortable to travel for that time. There were usually several horses harnessed to haul the coach, which would arrive at and depart postal stages each week at a specified time.
In the 18th century, travel by mail coach was rare and very expensive, with the price depending on the distance and number of horses in the team. Passengers also had to tip the postillion and pay a fee for wheel grease, various tolls, bridge tolls and customs duties. Passengers had to pay for their trip in advance, and en-route they were protected and supervised by the police.
The growth in transport in the 19th century brought with it numerous problems. Complaints about safety on the roads – mail coaches were frequently the target of highwaymen – led to the decision that all other road users had to give way to mail coaches. Fast mail diligences were introduced on the Vienna-Ljubljana-Trieste route.
The journey from Vienna to Trieste, with short stops to change horses, overnight rest, snack and lunch breaks along the way took a total of three days. The golden age of mail coaches came to an end with the arrival of the railways. Postal stages were gradually abandoned, and numerous postillions and other postal employees lost their livelihood.
Title: Europa 2013 – Slovenia
Date of Issue: 22 March 2013
Denominations: 0.64, 0.92