Czech Republic Bike Trails
-From Olomouc to Kromerizsko, Czech Republic
Now I was up and away from the hostel in Olomouc and ready to ride on out into a land unknown. Greg, the hostel owner, told me about the bike trails and routes that criss-cross through the Czech Republic, as he treated me to a bistro coffee before I departed from Olomouc.
“Yeah, the trails pretty much follow little used country roads or are real bike paths through the woods,” he said. “Use the trails and stay away from the highways.”
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Hodonin, Czech Republic- June 29, 2008
Travelogue — Travel Photos
This sounded like a serenade of gentle music to me, as it takes a nerve of iron will and fortitude to bike for long distances on the car strewn highways of the modern world. Cars are the biggest downfall of world-wide cycling. But the bicycle routes that Greg pointed out on the map looked like they were artfully made to keep away from all traffic, and they looked like real good paths.
“I think route 47 leads straight to Slovakia,” Greg added. I looked at the map and found bicycle route 47, and it seemed to ride the Morava River down through the south of the Czech Republic and into the great medieval triangle of the borderlands with Austria and Slovakia. This seemed to be the best route that I could ever imagine, as the Morava River meets up with the Danube in Bratislava and will carry me right down to Gyor, Hungary – my first planned stop off.
This all sounded good to me, so I took off out of Olomouc and caught up with bike route 47 just south of the city with only a minor amount of difficulty. Now I was on the Road and flying. 13km outside of town I stopped in a little suburban village next to a bean field and made myself a couple cheese sandwiches.
Bicycle route signs.
As I sat on my bicycle in the shade and woofed them down, I noticed a young guy on the far side of the bean field who seemed to just be walking around and enjoying the day. It made me smile slightly in the midst of my rush to polish off the thick bread sandwiches and keep moving on. He then rode his little old lady bicycle by me and rang its funny sounding bell as he gave me a hello smile. I helloed him right back, and then went back to eating my cheese sandwiches. But he soon returned and pulled out a bent up plastic bottle full of beer.
“Pivo?” he asked as he offered me some.
“No, no, no,” I answered politely. I could not say that the re-poured contents of the old plastic bottle looked very appealing to me.
He then spoke in good English as he said, “I offer because I recognize in you an extra ordinary person.” He then said a few parting words and departed from my presence.
Extraordinary perhaps; extraordinarily silliy for thinking that I can peddle a $50 bicycle from the Czech Republic to Turkey. But I took these words with a smile, and pointed my bicycle headlong towards the long Road to the Middle East.
Bicycling the good routes of the Czech Republic.
I road on without difficulty for around an hour more. I passed orchard, field, and village all tucked up under a deep blue sky. I was going well, until I tried to ascend a small hill and my back tire became lost on his hinges and cramped up. I then pulled into the small front lot of a small church in a small village, unloaded the contents of the bike, and flipped her upside down. I then tried and tried again to fix the back tire.
I eventually managed to rig it up so that it moved freely without rubbing on the fender or the read of the frame. I then noticed how bent up and shabby my back wheel was. I did not know how far it could take me, as it was pretty far gone. I hoped for the next town, and each peddle brought little waves of traveler prayers from my lips as I rode back out on bike route 47 and south to the Morava River.
In Europe, towns and villages are confidently demarcated with big entry and exit signs that stand at all roads in and out, so it is not difficult to find out where you are. The sign that I just passed said , so I found it on the map. I was on the eastern flank of the Morava and just needed to cross back over it and take a left to go south again. I did not yet know that I was going the wrong way.
I soon found a bridge over the river and took off to travel back down it when I saw the little yellow 47 bike sign. I happily rejoiced in this finding, and it was a moment or two before I had realized that I had come this way a few hours before.
“Didn’t I already ride on this trail?”
I had. Hours before.
I found a small lake at sunset and went for a swim as the great globe of daytime gentle went to rest behind a comforting blanket of clouds. I floated in the water and smiled at the world around me. I then dressed and rode off to find a place to sleep.
I found what would have been a decent camping place in a little fallow garden right by the lake, but my legs were in the motion of travel and did not want to stop riding. So I rode into the twilight, successfully breaking one of my rules of travel:
Never give up a good sleeping place at dusk to make a few extra miles.
I soon found myself riding by a forest with a little trail that lead into it. I had to take it. I had to find a place to camp. So I entered into an open forest with high trees and soft vines covering the ground. This would be a good sleeping place, I thought, as I quickly laid down my poncho and sleeping bag.
Camp was now made, and I walked over to the river to smoke a twilight pipe and take a few notes about the day’s travels. The scene before me was surreal – clouds came down from the sky and up off of the river. There was nobody else around, I felt good.
Then, all of a sudden, I heard a rustling through the underbrush behind me that sounded startlingly like a human walking. I turned and looked, but could not make anything out in the dark of the dying day. I momentarily wrote the sound off as coming from an animal. Then I heard it again, and knew that it was unmistakable the “swish, swish” of a human walking through the soft forest under duff. It was close and I became frightened. I tried to make myself look fearsome. A dog then barked from the direction of the sounds, and I ran back to my camp, swooped up my tarp and sleeping bag in a single motion, and then stuffed it quickly under the bungee cords that go over the gear basket on the back of my bike.
I then ran away.
It was now nighttime and I was riding on a highway and I still had nowhere to sleep. I did not my like my situation very much. I crossed a bridge over the river and on the other side, in what I thought was empty forest, was a haphazard camp full of tractor trailer backs, caravans, and live in trailers. It looked very much like a Gypsy camp, and I became real glad that I abandoned my little forested campsite.
I did not want to be sleeping in the forest with lurking Gypsies.
It was time to ride; ride on to the next town.