Saturday 24 April 2010

The booming bicycle business

The BBC World Service has just broadcast episode 1 of an interesting two-part Global Business report on the bicycle business. It's called Life Cycle and you can listen to it here.
"Britain is experiencing a two-wheeled revolution. Folding bikes, e-bikes, tricycles, recumbents, fixies, cargo bikes, bamboo bikes – the bicycle is being reinvented and demand is so great that many manufacturers are struggling to keep up. Amid burgeoning sales of bicycles and accessories, are we witnessing a genuine cultural shift towards two wheels or will this turn out to be just another fad? Peter Day meets some of the businesses and innovators hoping pedal power is here to stay."

Friday 23 April 2010

Long-distance cycle routes in the Czech Republic

Here’s my guide to the principal named long-distance cycle routes in the Czech Republic (with links to more information in English where available).

Lucie Hniková’s Czech-language guide is a mine of useful information on this subject.

Almost all these trails are marked on the Cykloserver on-line cycle atlas. Zoom into the relevant location and the routes will appear as purple lines on the map. For more information on how to use the Cykloserver atlas, click here.

Click here for a guide to cycling maps of the Czech Republic and here for information on cycle route signposting.

International routes

Three major international cycle routes pass through the Czech Republic.

Prague-Vienna Greenways (Greenways Praha-Vídeň)
Prague – Týnec n. Sázavou – Tábor – Jindřichův Hradec – Slavonice – Vranov n. Dyjí – Znojmo – Mikulov – Vídeň
Distance: 470 km (292 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 11, 32 and 48 in the Czech Republic
Probably the best-known long-distance route in this part of the world, connecting the Czech and Austrian capitals. The section along the Czech-Austrian border is particularly beautiful.
Krakow-Moravia-Vienna Greenways (Krakov-Morava-Vídeň Greenways)
Krakow – Bukovec – Hukvaldy – Nový Jičín – Olomouc – Prostějov – Brno – Mikulov – Hevlín – Vídeň
Distance: 780 km (485 miles)
Cycle route numbers: various
Connects nature reserves, historical sites and local communities in Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria.

Iron Curtain Trail (ICG)
Distance: 6,800 km (4,200 miles)
Cycle route numbers: various
Runs from the Barents Sea down to the Black Sea along the entire length of the former Iron Curtain. The Czech section starts near Hranice in the north-western tip of the country then follows the border all the way to South Moravia.

Border routes

These routes run along the Czech frontier, so I’ll be making considerable use of them on my cycling circumnavigation of the country. Here they are in clockwise order, starting in the north.

Sandstone Landscape Trail (Krajem pískovcových skal)
Děčín – Česká Kamenice – Hrádek nad Nisou
Distance: 100 km (62 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 2, 21, 22
Passes through a region known for its rock formations, mostly notably those in Bohemian Switzerland National Park.

Jizera-Krkonoše Trail (Jizersko-krkonošská magistrála)
Hrádek nad Nisou – Trutnov – Náchod
Distance: 185 km (115 miles)
Route number: 22
A route through the Jizera Mountains and Krkonoše (Giant) Mountains (the highest range in the Czech Republic).

Jeseníky-Orlické Mountains Trail (Jesenicko-orlická magistrála)
Náchod – Králíky – Jeseník
Distance: 130 km (80 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 22, 52, 53
Another upland route, this time linking the Orlické (Eagle) and Jeseníky mountain ranges in the northeast of the country.

Silesian Trail (Slezská magistrála)
Jeseník– Opava – Bohumín
Distance: 100 km (62 miles)
Cycle route numbers: mostly on route 55
Explore the quiet charms of Silesia on the Czech-Polish frontier.

Cieszyn Silesia Euroregion Cycle Circuit (Cyklistický okruh Euroregionem Těšínské Slezsko)
Bohumín – Havířov – Jablunkov
Distance: 85 km (53 miles)
Cycle route number: 56
A loop through the Czech and Polish parts of this “Euroregion”.

Beskydy-Carpathian Mountain Trail/Czech-Slovakian Border Trail (Beskydsko-karpatská magistrála/Česko-slovenská příhraniční trasa)
Český Těšín – Vsetín – Hodonín – Břeclav
Distance: 276 km (172 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 46/47, 45, 43/44
A tough route along the Czech border with Slovakia.

Czech-Austrian Border Trail (Česko-rakouská příhraniční trasa)
Břeclav – Znojmo – Nová Bystřice – Nové Hrady – Horní Dvořiště
Distance: 270 km (171 miles)
Cycle route numbers: various
A charming route along the border with Austria.

Šumava Trail (Šumavská magistrála)
Horní Dvořiště – Železná Ruda – Domažlice
Distance: 240 km (149 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 34, 33, 36
A very popular cycling trail through Šumava National Park.

Upper Palatinate Forest Trail (Magistrála Český les)
Domažlice – Tachov – Cheb
Distance: 140 km (87 miles)
Cycle route number: 36
A less-frequented route in the far west of the Czech Republic, along the border with Germany.

Ore Mountains Trail (Krušnohorská magistrála)
Cheb – Děčín
Distance: 255 km (158 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 36, 23
Follows the border with Germany in the northwest of the Czech Republic.

Riverside routes

The Czech Republic boasts some great riverside bike-riding.

Elbe Trail (Labská trasa)
Špindlerův Mlýn – Hradec Králové – Pardubice – Kolín – Nymburk – Mělník – Litoměřice – Ústí nad Labem – Děčín
Distance: 294 km (183 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 24, 2
A U-shaped route running from ski resort Špindlerův Mlýn to Děčín. From there you can continue along the river into Germany.

Sázava Trail (Posázavská trasa)
Lísek – Žďár nad Sázavou – Havlíčkův Brod – Zruč nad Sázavou – Sázava – Týnec nad Vltavou – Davle
Distance: 243 km (151 miles)
Cycle route number: 19
Some steep climbs on this route, but they are rewarded with great views.

Amber Trail (Jantarová stezka)
Ostrava – Olomouc – Brno – Hevlín
Distance: 303 km (188 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 5, 4
Follows an old amber trading route running from the Baltic Sea to southern Europe.

Moravian Trail (Moravská stezka)
Jeseník – Olomouc – Břeclav
Distance: 293 km (182 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 51, 47, 45, 43
Passes north to south through the heart of Moravia along the River Morava.

Some other routes

Prague Trail (Pražská trasa)
Prague – Kutná Hora – Hlinsko – Brno
Distance: 250 km (155 miles)
Cycle route number: 1
Links the two biggest cities in the Czech Republic.

Bohemia-Moravia Trail (Českomoravská trasa)
(Mikulovice) – Jeseník – Hlinsko – Jihlava – Telč – Slavonice – Třeboň – České Budějovice
Distance: 365 km (227 miles)
Cycle route numbers: 53, 52, 18, 16, 32
Runs north to south, winding in and out of the ancient lands of Bohemia and Moravia.

Jeseník-Znojmo Trail (Trasa Jeseník-Znojmo)
Jeseník – Litovel – Nové Město na Moravě – Třebíč – Znojmo
Distance: 320 km (227 miles)
Cycle route numbers: various
A meandering north-south route passing through various interesting locations.

Hradec Králové-Břeclav Trail (Trasa Hradec Králové-Břeclav)
Hradec Králové – Litomyšl – Hodonín – Břeclav
Distance: 281 km (175 miles)
Cycle route numbers: various
A diverse trail that takes in Litomyšl, a UNESCO heritage site.

Jihlava-Český Těšín Trail (Trasa Jihlava-Český Těšín)
Jihlava – Třebíč – Brno – Zlín – Vsetín – Nový Jičín – Frýdek Místek – Český Těšín
Distance: 349 km (217 miles)
Cycle route numbers: various
A west-east route through Moravia.

Moravia Wine Trails (Moravské vinařské stezky)
Almost 1250 km (780 miles) of popular cycling and hiking trails through the orchards, vineyards and wine cellars of South Moravia.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Prague spring: Ten more views from my bike

A cloud has descended on Prague - a volcanic ash cloud to be precise. But that hasn't stopped me from getting out on my bike, heading up the steepest hills and taking some more photos of the city. My last set - Prague spring: Ten views (from my bike) - was quite a hit by the modest standards of this blog. I hope this collection proves just as popular.

Friday 16 April 2010

We would like to apologise for the delay...

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that I was originally planning to ride stage 1 of my circumnavigation of the Czech Republic in April 2010, i.e. this month. Unfortunately, work, weather and other issues have conspired against me, so I'm postponing the start to next month. However, I'll still be blogging in the meantime. Coming up soon there'll be more views of Prague from my bike, as well as posts on my final preparations for departure. Stay tuned!

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Empty Nest Expat

Fellow blogger Karen has very kindly given my blog a "shout out" on her site Empty Nest Expat ("A Man With a Biking Plan"), so I thought I'd return the favour and recommend her blog to anyone interested in expat life in the Czech Republic.

Thanks, Karen!

Sunday 11 April 2010

Bicycle hire from Czech Railways

In my recent post on cycling trip tips I mentioned that Czech Railways operate a bicycle hire service. The scheme runs from 1 April to 31 October every year. Read on for more details about how it works.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Learning to love hills (but not headwinds)

When I tell people of my plan to ride around the Czech border, the first question I’m often asked is, “Aren’t there a lot of hills?”

Sunday 4 April 2010

Follow me!

If you like my blog and want to follow my progress in my bid to cycle around the Czech border, you can become an official follower by using the widget at the bottom of the page. Your support is very welcome.



I am @

I was contacted a while ago by fellow blogger Darryl from, who said some very nice things about my blog and kindly asked me to contribute a cycling memory to his regular monthly feature Look Who’s Loving the Bike. You can read my piece here. Darryl’s blog will be of interest to anyone who, like me, has a passion for cycling.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Greetings from Karlstejn...

... a well-known tacky tourist trap outside Prague overlooked by a lovely castle. This is an experiment - my first attempt at blogging from my mobile.