That's my camouflaged front tire.
I know mud.
There was the my 2008 New Year's Day mudbath.
There was the 2009 post called "Fog, Nuts, Puppies, And Beer."
There was the mud that looked like brownie batter in 2010.
There was "Here's Mud In Your Eye (And Everywhere Else)" from 2011.
And, of course, 2008's infamous "Rendezvous With A Gorilla," in which I lost my patience, my temper, and any ability to rotate the wheels on my bike.
But until my most recent ride, with my usual mud-loving companion, Stewart Moore, I'd always been able to use a stick or my fingers or something to dislodge enough mud to get my bike moving again.
A few weeks ago, though, on a dirt road through a farmer's field above Okoř, a road we'd cycled many times before (meaning we should have known better), sticks and fingers just would not work.
I had to actually remove my front tire to dislodge the paralyzing clay/mud that had jammed itself between the tire and my fender. Actually, I had to remove my front tire twice in the space of about 10 minutes. My tires simply wouldn't budge. I couldn't roll forward. I was stuck, grounded, frozen, paralyzed.
This time, rather that cursing my predicament, or cursing Stewart (as I'd done in the "Gorilla" post), I found myself laughing out loud. I'd suggested the route this time. It was my fault. Stewart, whose bike has no fenders, had an easier time of it and was way ahead, waiting for me.
My bike was too heavy with mud to carry, and I could go neither backwards nor forwards. I was stuck, and all I could do was take my tires off and hope.
Well, once I managed to remove my front tire, I was able to scrape enough mud off to get me rolling again. My back tire was just as bad, really, but it finally yielded to the gravity of me riding downhill with a clean front tire.
I can safely say that that was the worst mud (more like clay, really) that I've ever cycled through.
Stewart and I had decided to meet at the late, great, burned-to-the-ground Koliba (whose ruins are still hard to look at after all these years), and cycle to Okoř. It used to be our go-to bike run, when we both lived in Prague 6. A good length, a good beer or two waiting in Okoř, with its picturesque castle ruin, some country roads with little traffic, mixed with a few trails.
Koliba now ...
... and the paradise it used to be.
I'm now back to living in Prague 6 after venturing out of the city for a few years, and Stewart's in Roztoky, but I have a feeling we'll be revisiting this run again in future.
At U Lasiku
The homemade quiches and tarts at U Lasiku
We stopped in Únětice, at the always charming U Lasiku, for a few half-liters of the locally brewed Únětice pivo and some German Weizenbier and some of the most delicious savory and sweet homemade quiches and tarts you will ever shove into your mouth hole. We sat outside in the sun on beat-up old furniture as dozens of other cyclists and walkers also stopped in to hydrate and we felt like there was no reason to ever really leave our cozy spot.
But we did.
We headed to Statenice and then to Tuchoměřice, and then on the farmer's road that proved to be our downfall. Once we extricated ourselves from that quagmire, it was on to the Family Hotel Okoř for a few more half-liters.
It was fantastic to be riding in February. Fantastic to be out on the trails again with Stewart, the mud notwithstanding.
Now I've got to figure out how to clean the dried brownie batter off my bike now that I live in an apartment in the city.
* Stewart's brilliant idea for a blog post title
Length of ride: 41 kilometers
Pivo Index: 4
Distance ridden so far in 2014: 41 kilometers
At U Lasiku
It's very difficult to leave U Lasiku once you've sat down.
I thought it was a good time, in the middle of our mud bath, to break out a flask of medovina, aka mead, that I'd squirreled away in my backpack.