Thursday 21 April 2011

Warming up

Stage 4, day 1 (Saturday, 9 April 2011)
Aš to Cheb (79 km)

I’m on the shuttle train from Cheb to Aš, the same train that I took in the opposite direction more than six months earlier at the end of Stage 3. I should be raring to go after such a long winter break, but I’m not. I might be physically prepared, but I’m not feeling mentally ready to resume my circuit ride of the Czech Republic. On top of that, my unease about spending three days alone on the Iron Curtain Trail is resurging. Still, at least the sun is shining.

Aš on a warm sunny afternoon in autumn 2010, and on a cold sunny morning in spring 2011

Thursday 14 April 2011

Stage 4 slideshow

Here's the slideshow for Stage 4 of my trip. Click on the photos to enlarge them and view the accompanying captions. I'll be posting full write-ups of the stage just as soon as time allows.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Stage 4 completed

Made it to my destination Nýrsko in double quick time this morning thanks to a strong tailwind. A couple of heavy showers dampened my mood along the way, but I'm dry again now and waiting in Plzeň for my train back to Prague.

Monday 11 April 2011

Summit of Čerchov

Highest point on Stage 4 (1042 m)

Babylon beckons

Left Přimda (above) this morning and headed straight down into the depths of the deserted frontier forest. This area is littered with sparse remains of old villages, their ethnic German inhabitants having been thrown out of the country after WWII. Ahead of me now is a 1600 ft climb to the top of Mt Cherchov and an equally long descent to Babylon.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Halfway home

Today was tougher than I'd expected. I left Cheb (above) at 10 am and didn't arrive in Přimda until 6.30 this evening. 90 km along the switchback Iron Curtain Trail was more than enough for one day. However, I've now passed the halfway point of my circuit ride of the Czech Republic, so I'm feeling suitably pleased with myself.

Saturday 9 April 2011

On the road again!

Left the official start in the town of Aš today and made for the northwest tip of the country - the tripoint where the Czech Rep meets Saxony and Bavaria (pictured). Now heading south towards Cheb with the wind at my back.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Stage 4 this weekend!

After a six-month hiatus, Circuit Rider CZ is hitting the road again. On Friday evening I’ll take the train to Cheb, and on Saturday morning I’ll make for the town of Aš to start Stage 4 of my trip around the Czech border. From there I’ll head for the north-westerly tip of the country and turn south along the Iron Curtain Trail through the Bohemian Forest. If all goes to plan, I’ll reach the stage finish in Nýrsko by Tuesday lunchtime.

Aš here I come!

I’m back on my own for this stage, but my feelings of unease about it have ebbed and I’m itching to get going again. The weather forecast is good and the trails should be pretty dry. I’m now busy refreshing my memory as regards what to take, how to blog from my mobile phone and generally how to be a touring cyclist again.

View Stage 4 in a larger map

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll sign off now and get on with booking accommodation, sorting out trains, packing my bags, finalising my route plan...

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Renting a bicycle in the Czech Republic

Quite a few people have contacted me asking for advice on where to hire bicycles in the Czech Republic.

I’ve never rented a bike here, so I can’t vouch for any particular bike rental company. However, the following firms have information in English on their websites:

Biko Adventures
City Bike
Praha Bike

(Topbicycle specialises in bicycle touring and claims to deliver rental bikes all over Central Europe)

Týnec nad Sázavou

Rent Bike Brno
("Rent a bike and explore Brno")

You can also hire bicycles from numerous railway stations in the Czech Republic. There’s more information in English on the Czech Railways website.

Many hotels, guesthouses and campsites also provide bike rentals for their guests.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you know of any other Czech bike rental companies, or have any experience with the ones listed above, feel free to leave a comment below.