Tuesday 20 September 2011

Countdown to Stage 6

It’s raining here in the Czech Republic and has been almost continuously for the last two days. However, we’ve been enjoying some fine weather for most of this month, and according to the forecast the Indian summer is set to return today.

This is good news for Stage 6 of my circuit ride, which is due to start on Saturday. I’ll be travelling for five days from Horní Dvořiště in the south-west of the Czech Republic to Břeclav in southern Moravia (click here for more details). Preparations are in full swing. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been refining my route (using, among other things, the excellent Cykloatlas online cycling atlas of the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and learning as much as I can about the interesting places I’ll be passing through. I also have a full set of maps printed out and installed in my map holder.

Three useful trip-planning websites: Cykloatlas,...

The next step is to reserve accommodation at each of my overnight stops - in Nové Hrady, Slavonice, Znojmo and Mikulov. Booking in advance is probably not really necessary at this time of year, but it does mean I’ll have one less thing to worry about on the road. I’ve drawn up a shortlist of interesting-looking guesthouses (partly with the aid of the Cyclists Welcome website) and I’ll be contacting them over the next couple of days.

...Cyclists Welcome...

The other thing I need to do is book myself and my bike onto the relevant trains. Thanks to the Czech public transport timetable website I know which services carry bicycles and which of them have mandatory or optional bicycle reservation. Unfortunately I can’t buy bike tickets online, so I’ll have to go down to the main station in Prague later in the week to do that.

 ...and the public transport timetable
(all three available in English)

The day before I leave I’ll print out my packing list, gather all my stuff together and load up my bike ready for departure. On Saturday I’ll get up early, head down to the station and catch the 9.16 am express to České Budějovice. If all goes to plan, I’ll reach the official start point shortly after 1 pm and immediately set off into the Nové Hrady mountains.

Hopefully I’ll have both the autumn sun and the prevailing westerly wind on my back.

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