Friday 20 November 2009

But first... Why?

A pointless exercise? Well maybe, but...

Each year I set myself some cycling "tasks" for the coming season. Past examples have included Prague-Vienna, Prague-Munich and Prague-Berlin. Planning and executing such adventures gives me something to work towards. It gives me an outlet for my escapist tendencies. And it gives some structure to my cycling year. In short, it makes me happy.

Each "task" has to meet three criteria: it should be challenging, yet manageable and enjoyable.

The Czech perimeter meets all three.

It's challenging partly because it's a long way (well over 1,000 miles according to my back-of-the-envelope calculations) and partly because of the terrain. Take a look at the terrain view of my Lap Chart at the top of the blog. You'll see that the Czech Republic rises, bowl-like, at the edges. Its border is demarcated largely by upland areas. That means hills. Big hills.

It's manageable because it's close to home (Prague) and can be tailored to fit my everyday life. I can't afford to disappear for weeks at a time, so I'll be tackling the route in stages as and when time allows. Even the furthest point from my home takes just a few hours to reach by train.

And I've no doubt it will be fun. First off, I'll be cycling, and I love cycling. Second, I'll be travelling mostly through national parks and other areas of outstanding natural beauty. The route contains some of the best cycling this country has to offer. And third, there'll also be opportunities to explore less familar territory as I weave in and out of the four countries neighbouring the Czech Republic - Slovakia, Poland, Germany and Austria.

But more on the route and logistics in future posts...

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