Short, But Not Short-Changed

Stewart and I cycled out as close as we could to the beginning of the runway, planes landing overhead.

I've had pretty good luck with punctures this year. In fact, I think my last flat tire was in April 2007, if memory serves.

I've got a Slime Liner on my back tire -- installed while repairing my last flat -- and that's seemed to help.

Stewart was supposed to come over the other night to meet up for an after-work evening ride. It's about six or seven clicks from his house to mine, but it seemed like he was taking his good old time getting here.

A portrait of the trail, taken mid-ascent.

Turns out, he had a rear puncture not far from my house, and had to walk and carry his bike the rest of the way. He wasn't carrying a spare tube.

I had a few in my backpack, and he set to work replacing the tube. The hardest part of a puncture on your rear tire is not replacing the tube but getting the tire back on and the chain properly threaded through the derailer. We had a devil of a time, but -- four grease-covered hands later -- finally managed to get it set.

We were running out of time by the time we hit the road, so we settled on a short ride in the direction of Přední Kopanina, a cute little village with the unfortunate distinction of being in the direct landing path of planes heading into Prague's international airport. Unfortunate if you live in the village, but pretty cool if you're riding your bike and a 737 is screaming loud and low over your head.

From my home in Cerny Vul, we headed through Statenice (where we stopped to pay our respects at a sad roadside memorial to a young man who'd been killed at the spot in the late 1990s; how he was killed it did not say) and turned off the main road onto a dirt path that leads up and up and up to a forest on the outskirts of Přední Kopanina. The path is a great way to warm up. It's moderately steep, but seems to go on forever, twisting and turning through the woods.

At the top, it's another kilometer or so through the woods before hitting the village, which has the fortunate distinction of being the home of the 12th-century Romanesque rotunda of St. Mary Magdalene. I've never been inside, but the rotunda was a gorgeous sight, bathed in the golden glow of the setting sun.

The 12th-century Romanesque rotunda of St. Mary Magdalene in Přední Kopanina.

From there, we headed back toward Tuchomerice, which took us past a favorite place for plane-spotters, near the top of a runway. From here, you get a clear view of planes landing right over you. I think Rob and I were able to get a little closer to the planes on our recent Airport Loop, but this angle is pretty cool, too.

And in the twilight, the intensely bright lights illuminating the runway resembled less a modern airport than some sort of set for a science-fiction movie being filmed in Prague. Cool and spooky.

It was a short ride, but -- as always -- crammed full of interesting sights -- in this case, spanning 900 years of history.

Length of ride: 15 kilometers
Average speed: 15,8 kph
Maximum speed: 46.3 kph
Time on the bike: 00.55.51
Pivo Index: 0 :-(
Distance ridden so far in 2008: 845 kilometers

On the way home.


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