Sunday 7 February 2010

First ride of 2010

I went out on my bike for the first time this year today. Yet I so nearly wimped out of it.

In my last blog entry I pledged to go riding this weekend whatever the weather. At that time, though, my enthusiasm was based - if I must be honest - on a forecast promising sunshine and temperatures above zero.

I’d originally pencilled in the ride for Saturday, but drizzly and gloomy conditions soon put the kibosh on that. On Sunday I arose to an overcast sky. Shortly afterwards it started snowing. The thermometer outside my window was reading minus four. Not a promising start. I was now on the brink of putting the whole plan on ice.

By late morning, however, the snow had stopped and the Prague sky was brightening. It’s now or never, I thought, so I pumped up my tyres and - wrapped in more layers than the average onion - hit the road.

Would you believe it, the sun came out just as I reached the river. With lifted spirits I headed south, passing under the ancient fortress of Vyšehrad. The marina at Podolí was frozen over and people were skating on the ice. Here the cycle path was more or less clear, but further on it was covered in compacted snow that crunched loudly and satisfyingly under my wheels. In places I was forced to dismount to negotiate icy patches, but I managed to avoid falling off.

After about 15 km my feet were starting to feel the cold and I considered turning back. But I was enjoying myself so much by now that I decided to keep going. At this point I realised I’d forgotten to pack my camera. Shame, as the mist hanging low over the water would have made for a great shot.

It’s a route I’ve done many times - down the River Vltava to the oddly named Závist (the Czech word for envy), over the bridge into Zbraslav, west to Radotín, back up the other side of the river to Barrandov Bridge, then backtrack home to Vinohrady. It’s about 40 km (25 miles) in all, although today I added a 3 km detour up the hill into Modřany to warm myself up a bit.

So yes, you could say it was just another Sunday afternoon spin. But it was so much more than that - my first ride in about two months and my first ride of 2010. The first of many, I hope.


Anonymous said...

very brave to go out in this.

Circuit Rider CZ said...

I've been out a few times since, and the worst is when it starts to thaw. Wet ice is much more dangerous than dry snow! Still, it's all melted now, thank goodness.

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