Coming To My Senses
A lone poppy stands out in a field of ripening rapeseed between Tuchoměřice and Cernovicky.
I'm catching up on two rides with this one post.
Both rides were pretty typical. Nothing particularly exciting happened, but that's not necessarily the point. When you're on the bike, the pleasures are to be found in just being, in seeing and smelling and hearing, in being exposed.
I saw ducks and coots and swans and magpies and hawks and countless unseen songbirds. I heard the trickle of water over the rocks in the creek in Divoka Šárka. I saw poppies and roses and fields full of the green shoots of new wheat. I felt the hush of a country cemetery. I felt the sun hot on my neck.
My first ride, yesterday, was from Prague 6, down to the Vltava, to Podbaba, up the road called V Šáreckém údolí, where I met a work colleague of mine, Rob Coalson, an avid cyclist (he's nearing 1,500 km for the season already), who'd already been out. We cycled up and down V Šáreckém údolí and then parted ways. He tackled the Hill of Doom, while I cycled through Divoka Šárka all the way to Evropska, and then down Evropska to home.
Length of ride: 27 kilometers
Average speed: 18.5 kph
Maximum speed: 36.3 kph
Time on bike: 1.27.15
My second ride, today, was the usual route out to the village of Okoř -- from Prague 6 to Roztoky, then hooking up with the 0082, 0079, and 0081 trails to Unetice, Statenice, Tuchoměřice, and then to Okoř. With one slight deviation, thanks to Stewart. And that's taking the 0081 out of Tuchoměřice, but then veering off down a road/path to Cernovicky and Čičovice and into Okoř the back way.
It's a great path, almost all downhill and through some lovely country.
I savored a cold, crisp Pilsner Urquell at the Family Hotel Okor & Restaurant before heading back, this time through Lichoceves and Statenice, and then on to Unetice, etc.
Length of ride: 47.5 kilometers
Average speed: 19.2 kph
Maximum speed: 47.8 kph
Time on bike: 2.27.38
Distance ridden in 2007: 758.5 kilometers
I took quite a few photographs along the way. I'm going to print many of them along with this post. I think they'll give you a very good idea of how interesting it is to ride in and around Prague.
Even if nothing exciting happens, it's still a hell of a lot of fun.
This is the view looking down the Vltava from Sedlec toward Roztoky. The road snaking its way through the middle is picturesque, but dangerous, since there's no shoulder for cyclists. Me no like. Stewart really no like.
It'll be a hard slog for the next person who tries to take this rowboat out on a small, overgrown pond in Unetice.
A small, quiet country church and graveyard in Cernovicky.
Many of the gravestones in the Czech Republic feature compartments that contain little tableaus, including pictures of the deceased. It's nice but also kind of spooky.
A field of wildflowers in Okoř.
A fading sign for a kavarna, or coffee shop, recalls times gone by on a barn in the middle of Divoka Šárka park.
The swimming pool in the middle of Divoka Šárka park on the outskirts of Prague. The pools are spring-fed and icy cold, even in the middle of summer. On weekends, it's hard to find a spare patch of grass for all the swimmers and sunbathers (many of them topless).
An old man orders a couple of cold ones at the little občerstvení, or snack bar, at the Divoka Šárka pool. As you can see from the sign, a .5 liter glass of Krušovice beer is 20 Czech crowns, or about 95 cents. And I just love how you can go back to your towel and sit down with a big glass of cold beer. Who needs plastic cups!?
Cycling isn't just seeing and smelling and hearing. It's also tasting.