Cycling In Prague -- The View From Outside

I'm rather proud of this picture, taken by Pauline, of my muddy bike at the end of our ride. I was almost as dirty.

The coal smoke hangs heavy in the air in Černý Vůl and stings the eyes and the nostrils. The sun is seldom seen, the temperature hovers around 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit), and thick morning frost covers grass and car windows. The cats spend their days asleep atop the radiators, and it's pitch black dark by 4:30 p.m.

I didn't get a chance to ride this past weekend. I was just too busy. Granted, conditions weren't ideal, but that wasn't the reason. Honestly.

I am still trying to reach 2,000 kilometers for the year (rather pitiful compared with Rob's 6,000), so every missed day means something at this stage. I hope to break the magic mark around the holidays, when I have a few days off from work. Here's hoping the weather's not too miserable.

In the meantime, I wanted to direct your attention to the cycling blog of Pauline Lim and Ulandt Kim. Specifically, to their posting about pedaling in Prague.

As you may remember, Pauline and Ulandt are from Boston. Before embarking on their recent cycling vacation in Prague, they contacted me for some cycling advice, having come across my blog in their research.

We even managed to get out together for a group ride while they were here. It was great fun to show them one of my favorite rides -- to the castle ruins at Okoř, about 20 kilometers outside of Prague. (You can find our entire route on Google Earth here.)

Pauline and Grant and the castle's cat at the ruins in Okoř.

You can read my account of our ride by clicking here or get Pauline and Ulandt's "director's cut" by clicking here.

You can read Pauline and Ulandt's account of their entire adventure cycling around Prague by clicking here. Their blog is full of wonderful details and photos (they've let me share a few of them for this post). I always find it interesting to read or hear what others think of Prague after their first visit. I've lived here so long -- since 1995 -- that some of the luster has inevitably worn off, although I'm still a big fan.

I've driven, ridden, cycled and walked past the Charles Bridge with its view up to St. Vitus Cathedral and the conglomeration of government buildings known as the "castle" at least 1,000 times. And it's still impossible for me not to gawk as if I was seeing it for the first time. And at nighttime, wow. It's simply breathtaking. Take a walk across the 650-year-old Charles Bridge after dark and name me a city view that can compare.

In fact, Pauline and Ulandt have some great pictures of that very view. Check out their blog and enjoy.

One of the crumbling towers of castle Okoř rises above the treeline on the picturesque road leading into the village.

I love this picture. Outside Okoř, Ulandt tries to outrun the rain clouds. The weather would soon turn ugly. (I'm still trying to figure out what he keeps in that huge backpack, though!)


Pauline Lim said…
Merry Christmas, Grant!!! The piles of snow in Boston have shrunk because of 40o weather and pouring rains. I finally rode my mountain bike yesterday after what seemed like a long time. My quads had shriveled up, but I had great fun. It's so much faster/easier than walking!!! And the sun was out! I hope your mileage quest is successful. I'm going to take a little spin today through the city, because I'll bet there will be very little traffic. Have a great Xmas!
Grant said…
Happy New Year to you, too! We had a great Christmas, and I even went riding on the 24th (though I didn't enjoy it). It's 27 degrees Fahrenheit this morning (about minus 5 Celsius), and I just can't bring myself to go out! Ugh.
Ulandt's house said…
Backpack makes it easier to park bike and walk away. Contains: 2 bike locks, raincoat, "castle pants" (nylon dress pants in case we enter a civilized establishment), Samsung Q1 tiny computer, snacks, and of course big heavy camera that rarely makes it out of bag

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