The World's Stupidest Bike Lanes -- Prague Edition



Back in April, I posted some videos from a series highlighting some of the world's stupidest bike lanes.

I wrote about what I thought should be Prague's entry -- a bike lane on Štefánikův Bridge -- and posted some photos.

Now I've finally recorded a video to show you just how silly this bike lane really is.

My friend Rob points out that many of the storm gratings right next to the bike line are set parallel to the path, making lovely death traps for bike tires.

I took the video on my bike ride into and back from work in central Prague on a warm, spring Saturday.

On that ride, I realized how much the Vltava River defines my ride from home, in Černý Vůl, a village northwest of Prague, to downtown Prague. I pick up the river in Roztoky, following it to Sedlec and all the way to Stromovka park. I leave the river for a bit, only to pick it back up near Štefánikův Bridge, with its sweeping views of Prague Castle.


The Vltava River near Sedlec.

I often see cruise ships heading north toward Dresden, or dropping families off at Prague Zoo, which hugs the river near Stromovka.

And lonely fisherman hiding in the brush along the banks, fishing for carp in the early morning. The occasional barge drifts by, hauling gravel from a quarry upriver.

And there are always the cute little ferries, with their stripe-shirted captains, taking passengers from one bank to the other, part of Prague's public transportation system, and invaluable to us cyclists.


The Vltava River near Podbaba, with St. Vitus Cathedral visible in the middle distance.


Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral from Štefánikův Bridge, in central Prague.

On the way home, I stopped at my new favorite pub in Roztoky, Hospůdka Zvířátka (Little Animals), which serves something like six different types of Černá Hora beer, one of my favorites.

This time, I ordered a half-liter of the 15° brew -- a rare offering in these parts. (For more about what that means, read what my friend the Beer Philosopher has to say on the subject.) I knew it would be strong, but man, did it knock me for a loop. It tasted like a shot and a beer, and smelled strongly -- but not unpleasantly -- of fermenting apples. It set me back 36 CZK, or about $2.30.

It reminded me of a strong Belgian Trappist ale I once had, Chimay Grand Reserve, I think it was, served in a wine bottle, cork and all.

Instead of feeling refreshed, as I usually do after a beer while cycling, I felt incapacitated, and limped home.

It's a delicious beer, but probably best left for drinking with a hearty meal. I'll stick to a 10° or 12° pilsener next time.

I was proud of my average speed for the ride. I broke 20 kph for the ride in, and almost broke 20 kph for the overall ride. That's not bad for a mountain bike with fat, sticky tires!

RIDE STATS
Length of ride: 38 kilometers
Average speed: 19.7 kph
Maximum speed: 38 kph
Pivo Index: 1
Time on the bike: 1.55.48
Distance ridden so far in 2008: 777 kilometers



I ran into this funky three-wheeled motorcycle parked outside Hospůdka Zvířátka.


These are roses from a bush in my own backyard, aglow in the setting sun as I returned home.

Comments

gebriele said…
I thought it was only us british who did thing like that. Mine you i have a favorite one in sheffield where you have to ride by the side of a tram track until the platform forces you in front of the tram.

Im riding to praha in a week (from the uk) so il let you know if i find any worse ons along the way
I watched the match against Turkey yesterday. Things must be gloomy in Prague today. For us neutrals it was a feast.
Grant Podelco said…
Hi, Gebriele,

Riding to Prague from the U.K.??!! Wow. Keep me posted. I'd love to hear all about it, and not just about the bad bike lanes. You should keep a blog, or at least a diary. Stay in touch, and all the best.

Grant
Grant Podelco said…
Hey, Midnight Rider,

I was actually in Dublin for the game, but couldn't believe my ears when I heard the score. I'm sure the Czechs were quite depressed, but they're not the most upbeat folks to begin with.

All the best,

Grant
Pivní Filosof said…
Černá Hora 1530, a very nice beer indeed, but definetively not the kind you want to drink after a long bicycle ride, speciall a pint of it. Though if had a bottle at home, could be really nice to drink when you get there, while sitting on the terrace and resting your muscles.
That Zviřatka pubs looks really good. I like the beers frm Černá Hora. Do they have the unfiltered 10°? That is a great summer beer.
James said…
Mr.Filosof, as a Roztoky local and a regular at the Zviratka pub, I can asure, yes, they do serve the Cerna Hora Moravske Sklep 10 degree unfiltered, unpasteurised yeast beer fresh from the tap. To date it is my favourite beer. As Grant mentioned, the pub has 6 different CH beers on tap, with the Sklep being a constant.

Grant, you are a brave man to try CH 1530 several km from home. I imagine you had a new perspective of Tiche udoli, if not respect.

Concerning the main theme of your latest post, that video should be sent to the Ministry of Traffic (if there is such a thing). Another crazy bike lane is along the serpentine-esque hill road between Malostranka and Hradcanska. Again the lane abruptly ends leaving you fighting trams and cars for space... lovely!

Now, to tie it all in together, both Cerna Hora and biking, check out this bike route: http://www.pivovarch.cz/Article.asp?nDepartmentID=55&nArticleID=162&nLanguageID=1

Perhaps one day.

Regards,

James z Roztok
Grant Podelco said…
I've seen that crazy bike lane on the serpentine road near the castle. Crazy, indeed. I'm going to have to go up there and make another video for sure.
Mirek Prokes said…
Hi Grant, I fully agree but zou should know that we have been trying hard for over 20 years to get some bike lanes in Prague, especially in the city centre. In the last November, we won finally and got the first three lanes (the third one in Karlín, new Pobřežní Street, all of them from nowhere to nowhere (to be continued). Nevertheless, it was the first victory for bikers since before that, they had only been allowed to ride on sidewalks or among cars.
If you want to see the real stupidest "bike path" then go across the Cechuv bridge and try to climb Letná on the main "bike path" with steps.
Grant Podelco said…
Hi, Mirek,

I'm not sure the bike lane on Stefanikuv most can be considered a victory, frankly. Yes, it's a bike lane, but I think it is safer, in that instance, for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk, which is quite wide.

Sometimes, cyclists have to break the law to stay safe (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7478823.stm)

Thanks for writing!

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