Here's a list of posts explaining the background to, and preparations for, my trip.

It's 1980 and I'm at school in the UK. Once a week, we have to do a cross-country run. And more often than not it involves "Two laps of the perimeter today, lads". Off we all go, trying to finish two circuits of the school grounds and get showered and dressed before the bell goes for the next lesson.

Fast-forward 30 years. Now a bit of a cycling nut, I'm living in the Czech capital, Prague, working as a translator, and looking for a new challenge for 2010 and beyond. For some time now, I've been thinking of cycling around the perimeter of the Czech Republic.

Not two laps, as that would be silly. Just one.

But how and when?

But first... Why?
A pointless exercise? Well maybe, but...

How and when
No rules, no timetable, no agenda. Kind of.

My bikes
Here's the lowdown on the bikes I'll be riding on my trip. I say bikes because I'll be using two very different machines depending on the terrain (and because I can't afford to buy a specialised touring bicycle).

Gearing up
Santa kindly brought some new cycling gear for me to take on my travels. The arctic conditions in Prague at the moment mean I haven't been able to road test any of it yet, but I plan to do so as soon as possible.

Spinning out the winter
I’m suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Cycling withdrawal symptoms.

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.

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?”

Full dress rehearsal
I realised the other day that I’d yet to try out my Giant Defy road bike in credit-card touring configuration. As this is the bike I’m intending to use to tackle stages 1 and 3 of my cycling lap of the Czech Republic, I decided a test run around Prague would be a good idea.

Circuit Rider's packing list
It’s a much-discussed topic among touring cyclists - what (and perhaps more importantly, what not) to take with you. There’s a trade-off between comfort on the bike and comfort off it. On the one hand, low weight makes the bike easier to propel and easier to handle. On the other hand, every traveller has things they can’t bear to be without, even if they don’t absolutely need them.