An Old Route & A New Friend
James and Fiona and a couple of beers and a couple of bowls of soup.
It's always nice to ride with a new face, so when my good friend James Gogarty of Roztoky suggested bringing along a friend -- the wonderfully named Fiona Gaze, also a Roztokian -- for a short afternoon jaunt, I happily agreed.
We met at the crossroads in the village of Velké Přílepy, just up from Černý Vůl, where I live.
After what's been a very cold and very snowy winter, the temperature had finally moderated a bit, but the skies were still cloudy all day. A little sun would have been nice, but around these parts, that's wishful thinking at this time of year.
From Velké Přílepy, we made a beeline for the castule-ruined village of Okoř and the Family Hotel Okoř. A ride just wouldn't be a ride without a stop at our favorite inn.
We came across this strange tableau on a country road between Okoř and Tuchoměřice -- a toy police car perched atop some roadside brush, as if someone had delicately placed it just so.
We enjoyed a few half-liters of beer and some delicious cream of salmon soup while sitting outside at the picnic tables. It was a chance for me to get to know Fiona, a copy editor at "The Prague Post." And vice versa, I suppose.
I'm pretty sure I impressed her by revealing my deep, dark secret. That is, I'm one of the few expats in Prague who actually has a subscription to the "Prague Post."
Everybody likes to slag off the "Prague Post" around these parts. You can't be a true Prague expat without ripping into the "PP" on a regular basis.
Sure, as an old newspaperman, I'm always going to see things in the "PP" that I would have done differently. But the "PP" improves my life as an expat, and I'm glad it's managed to stick around when so many other English-language newspapers and magazines have fallen by the wayside.
So, in an effort to support my local newspaper, I signed up for a subscription to the "PP" a few years ago. Funnily enough, I've yet to meet another expat with a subscription. I'm not sure why. Everybody reads it, but no one wants to admit it, I guess.
After lunch, we headed onto a favorite path between Okoř and Tuchoměřice, but discovered it was way too muddy to ride.
It was just too damn muddy to go any farther.
We backtracked and took a smaller country road instead, to Tuchoměřice (where we showed Fiona our other favorite country restaurant, La Auberge de Provence), and from there to Statenice and back to Černý Vůl.
I had some errands to run that afternoon, so I parted ways with James and Fiona, who continued down the forest path, heading back to Roztoky and a few more beers, no doubt.
We didn't break any distance or speed records, but it was great to get out with those guys. I hope we've got a summer full of such rides.
Length of ride: 21 kilometers
Average speed: 13.1 kph
Maximum speed: 44.1 kph
Pivo Index: 1
Time on the bike: 1.34.45
Distance ridden so far in 2009: 131 kilometers
A huge swarm of pigeons in the village of Noutonice.