Slime Out Of Mind

The charming lane called Nový Svet, behind Prague Castle.

Father, it's been 24 days since my last ride.

I can't believe it.

I was on vacation for two weeks in Croatia. Then, when I returned on August 11, feeling the effects of two weeks of fine food and wine on my waistline, and eager to get back on my bike, I got sick. Again.

I've been sick three times this year. Each time, it was right after a trip I had taken. First, to the United States, then Germany, and now Croatia. It's put a serious crimp in my cycling, especially my goal of reaching a modest 3,000 kilometers this year.

Prague's majestic St. Vitus Cathedral looms over the city.

I was still feeling sick yesterday (Aug. 19), but a bit better, and it was a beautiful day in Prague, so I decided to go out for a very short ride. Very short. Just to get some air. To say that I'd ridden. To feel the saddle under my butt again.

I didn't take my backpack with my spare tube and tools and pump because I WAS ONLY GOING ON A VERY SHORT RIDE.

Guess what happened.

Yep. I got a flat rear tire. It was my fourth of the season. I don't know what did it. I was just riding very gently near the Prague Castle when, suddenly, PFFFFFT.

On my ride itself, I decided to ride from my flat through a bit of Letna park, and then up to Prague Castle, because it's not in the least bit challenging and because I wanted to remind myself where I live.

A classic view of the many bridges crossing the Vltava River, taken from a vantage point in Letna park.

I hadn't been through Letna in a while, and I was surprised to see a whole bunch of construction. I thought it was the start of work on the new, and controversial, National Library building. (An artist's rendering can be seen below.) It's going to be built on the edge of the park, near a vast flat field/parking lot, the site of many a massive concert (Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones) and communist-era assemblies.

It turns out that what I saw is not work on the library, one alert blog reader has informed me, but construction of a new highway through and around Prague, most of which will be underground, at least in this part.

The whole area is now one big construction site. Sad to see such large-scale work going on right beside such a beautiful park, filled with skaters and bikers and walkers.

But back to the National Library, since I brought it up (however erroneously).

I love interesting architecture. I love buildings that make you feel something. So many of the buildings being built today are just glass and steel cubes or concrete blocks.

The National Library building, designed by Czech-born architect Jan Kaplicky, definitely makes you feel something. It's making a lot of people feel sick. I think it's great.

Prague is already home to 1,000 years architecture. Why stop now?

Then I rode up to the castle and wove my way through the tiny streets behind St. Vitus Cathedral. No matter how many hundreds of tourists are clogging the main thoroughfares around the castle, it's easy to branch off onto charming, cobblestoned lanes that you have to yourself. The windy little street called Nový Svet is one of my favorites. I'm not alone in that opinion.

My Prague idyll was rudely interrupted, however, by that flat tire. The biking gods have a cruel sense of humor.

I walked my bike home in the fading light, Slime on my mind.

A flat tire is never welcome, but it did give me a chance to finally install my Slime Tube Protector-Liners. I'd ordered them back in April on the advice of a reader who'd noticed my propensity for getting flats. He swore by them.

The Slime Liner is a very tough, very long strip of slime green plastic that you place between the tire and the tube (above). It was easy to install (I think I got it in there correctly.)

Time will tell if it works as well as they say.

I'm feeling much better now and hope to get back to some serious cycling this week. I've got a lot of catching up to do.

I've got to ride 95 kilometers a week from here to the end of the year to reach my goal, vacations notwithstanding. That seems doable. I've just got to stay healthy and focused.

Length of ride: 7.5 kilometers
Average speed: 7.5 kph (!)
Maximum speed: 35 kph
Number of punctures in 2007: 4
Distance ridden so far in 2007: 1,195.5 kilometers

The setting sun casts interesting shadows around a window near Prague Castle.

Another picturesque street in the area behind Prague Castle.


Anonymous said…
Hi Grant,

the construction site on Letna plain is not for National Library, but for Prague City Ring (Městský Okruh). This is a dual carriage way connecting Malovanka junction (near Hotel Pyramida at Břevnov) with Pelc-Tyrolka (part of Trója). It will be mostly underground.

You can find out more on or .
Thanks! I knew about the road (I'm moving to Statenice-Cerny Vul soon, and the ring road will be passing through that area), but didn't realize it was going to be coming up right there, too. Wow. That's crazy. I just assumed it was the National Library.
I changed my blog entry, too, to reflect the new info. Once again, thanks.
My wife has been talking about wanting to holiday in the Czeck Republic for a couple of years. When I show her these photos, that may seal it for us.
Anonymous said…
Hi Grant,
well you are right with the ring near Statenice, but it is another ring.

There are two rings planned to be built /being built/ built in Prague.

There is an outer ring called "Pražský okruh" or Prague Ring (and that's the one planned to be built near Statenice). You can find out more on . And there is an inner ring called "Městský okruh" which is under construction on Letná.

The outer ring is financed by the Czech Government (or Highway Authority -, the inner ring is payed by the Prague Municipality.

Hope this makes it clear.


Dear Midnight Rider,

Prague truly is a magical place. The pictures actually don't do it justice!
Dear Petr,

You're a true lord of the rings. Thanks for clearing up the confusion over the two routes. I wondered if they were connected, or separate. Cheers.

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