Iv'e had a pretty good summer of cycling here in CZ! I managed to do a few Enduro races and have checked out a few different trail centres with my buddies Adrian, Laurie and Pavel. Towards the end of the season we took a trip to Klinovec Trail Park, located in the north west of CZ, pretty much hugging the border with Germany. We were pretty impressed with the facilities and even more so the quality of trails. We decided that it would be cool to have another day out riding there with friends of the shop who wanted to get a taste for mountain biking!
A couple of weeks later, an early start, and two vans full of excited riders and we were en route to Klinovec once again! With some of the party nursing some pretty brutal hangovers it was a pretty quiet journey there and we hoped that the riding would wake us up. It did just that!! We were a group of 9 and there was a wide range of riding abilities. Some that ride week in / week out and others that were on a mountain bike for the very first time! That's why we thought Klinovec would be the perfect destination as there is a little bit something for every level of ability.
Adrian and Laurie got stuck straight into the technical stuff and Sam (beginner) bravely decided to tag along with them (much to my worry!). The rest of the group consisted of Francesco, Nick, Darko, Sam T, Stephen, Pavel and myself and we got to grips with the bikes, the trails and curbing our enthusiasm! Francesco was on a lovely new Trek Fuel EX 8 and it was his first time on a MTB, although I wouldn’t have thought it after following the maniac down the hill at break neck speed! Franceco’s smile was ear to ear and he was very vocal in his new found love of mountain biking, "James, I can’t believe I have never done this before, so much fun!!!”. Of course all in a cool Italian accent! The rest of the guys were also getting faster and faster with each run and it didn’t take long before there were a few inevitable crashes due to riders pushing their limits. Riders were coming down the hill looking like they had been attacked by zombie badgers! Cut knees, elbows, backs and arms - and we were only half way through the day! We decided to clean ourselves up, stop for lunch and talk about the riding!
On the chairlift to the top of the hill where the restaurant was we spotted Adrien, Laurie and much to my dismay….Sam…..riding on the DOWNHILL track! I shouted at Sam to take it easy but he disappeared into the distance in a cloud of dust. I needed a beer to calm my nerves! We had our lunch in a nice old and cozy Czech restaurant, enjoying various traditional Czech meals and beer at fantastic prices. We talked a bit of bikes and trails and headed out to enjoy the rest of the chilly and now slightly wet afternoon.
A few more thrills and spills and it was nearly the end of the day. Some of us swapped bikes to try different models and we each trail a couple of more times. The blue trail is smooth and long, perfect for beginners but still fun for riders with more experience. The red trail is a little bit rougher and more technical but still okay for beginners. A rider with more experience can really fly down this trail and make use of the rollers to hit a few gaps. I didn’t time us down any of the trails but they are really, really long! The trails have got to be hitting 10 - 14 mins, which is fantastic value considering the uplifts only cost 550czk for the whole day!
We all met up at the bottom of the hill and celebrated an awesome day with a nice cool beer (or two)! Unsurprisingly, Sam C won the worst zombie badger attack award with plenty of cuts and grazes all over his body. That’s what happens when you follow maniacs Laurie and Adrien down the hill. They were seriously impressed with how quickly Sam got the hang of MTBing and I am sure the injuries won’t have put him off. Everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves and it was really cool to see complete beginners build up their confidence throughout the day, and by the end completely taming the trails. We headed back to Prague tired and content, talking of the days adventures and life in CZ. It's not bad is it?!
The season has come to an end but what a way to finish it off and next year we shall be organising plenty more trips, so please keep an eye out for the next one!
Pavel - Trek Slash 9.8 2017
Adrien - Trek Remedy 8 2016
Laurie - Trek Superfly FS
Nick - Cube Attitude
Darko - Trek X-Caliber
Sam H - Specialized Hardrock??
Sam C - Trek Fuel EX 8 2018
Francesco - Trek Fuel EX 8 2017
Stephen - Trek Fuel EX 9 2016
James - Trek Slash 9.9 2018
It's a thing of beauty, ain't it?!
This is Greg's custom Trek Project One Madone, which he picked up at the start of the summer from Richmond Cycles.
Project One is a platform which Trek have created to allow you to build your very own custom Trek bike! It allows you to choose your frame-set, its colour, the component specification, and also offers a tonne of personalisation options for you to create a truly unique ride! Check out www. projectone.trekbikes.com to have a play about at constructing your own dream machine.
Greg first came into the shop early spring and already had a pretty strong idea of what he wanted his bike to look like. He owned a Domane which he loved (and still loves), however felt it was time to go for something a little more aggressive...cue the Madone. Together, in the shop we utilised the Project One interface to piece his bike together. Greg was after a 'stealth' look, with a touch of flamboyance. I think he achieved exactly that by going with the matte finish and the blue/white paint fade. The bike was built using the H2 geometry and Greg eventually swayed to going with the Ultegra Di2 group-set. The bike rolls with the Aurora 5 carbon wheel-set (complete with the gloss black bontrager logo), and bontrager R2 clincher tyres.
Once we finalised the Madone's spec and colours we placed the order with Trek CZ. Fast forward 25 days and the bike arrived in the Czech Republic. It was then built up by the Czech Republic Road Racing Team mechanic, using Greg's measurements to ensure the perfect fit. Once the build was complete Greg picked up his Madone from the shop(along with a bottle of bubbly to keep his wife happy!). He took it out for a ride the next day and started his preparation for his charity cycle, which covered select stages of the Tour De France route. Greg was riding with ex- England rugby union international, Austin Healy who was apparently slightly envious of Greg's Madone!!
Greg has now clocked a huge amount of miles on his Madone, and it is has carried him up and down some of the most famous European mountains. We feel that Project One is a fantastic tool for getting the most out of a high-end build. If you are interested in building a project one bike then please call or email and I will be more than happy to help you out with the process. Check out the project one video below and enjoy more pictures of Greg's build.
Hello and welcome to my 'What Bike For Prague' article. This is the 1st installment of 4 articles which aims to help you choose the right bike for riding in Prague. There are just a couple things that I wish to make clear from the very start regarding the article. Firstly, this article is probably most suited for the novice cyclist or cyclists who are looking for a new steed but aren't quite sure on what style of bike to use in Prague. If you have experience cycling in Prague you probably already know what's best for you (which I would love to hear about!) Secondly, yes I do own a bike shop which sells bikes, however, these articles are not intended as marketing devices or to push you towards buying certain brands/models of bikes. These articles intend to help the cyclist find the right bike for city cycling without focussing on brands and particular models. All the big bike brands produce bikes under the different categories that I will be reviewing, so please don't get caught up in the models. It's the categories that are key! I hope you enjoy the article and can take something from it.
Prague is a city steeped in beauty. The stunning bridges that cross the river Vltava and the beautifully designed buildings which line its banks make this cosy city a true visual wonder. The cities winding cobbled streets can somehow trick you into thinking you are in a small quiet fairytale town, only to lead and open you out to a breathtaking skyline of spirals and warm red roofs. Hundreds of thousands of tourists pass through Prague's cute streets, discovering the cities various beauty spots. But how do they get around? Prague has a fantastically well thought out public transport infrastructure. The trams, trains, buses and metros run like clockwork and can take you virtually anywhere in Prague - at ridiculously good value. Indeed, it is not just the tourists that rely so heavily on the transport system here. The vast majority of working warriors have their lives intertwined with the public transport system, with many of them not having a secondary mode of transport. But what about the people who wish to use pedal power instead? This is Europe after all, its cycling infrastructure will be just as good as its public transport system, right? Err, wrong!
When I knew I was moving to Prague I was so excited by the prospect of cycling there. I had visited many other European cities and had marvelled at their cycling infrastructures, cycle cafe cultures and volume of bikes. Perhaps out of ignorance I visualised that cycling utopia here in Prague. I imagined myself gliding along cycle paths in harmony with other enthusiasts and admiring the various sights of Prague from the comfort of my saddle. Unfortunately, upon my arrival it didn't take me long to discover that my cycling utopia dream was not quite to be realised.
Now don't get me wrong, of course you can cycle in Prague and I don't want to get too negative on the cities cycling network. There are some good routes in the city and when you travel outside of Prague there are never-ending cycling possibilities. However, for the purposes of this article I think it's important to discuss the real cycling obstacles within the city and how to work around them to make the most of riding your bike here. We cannot escape the fact that Prague is somewhat behind other cities in Europe for its cycling prowess so let's look at some of the reasons. Firstly, the cycle infrastructure just simply isn't here on the same level as many other cities, although I hear things are going to be changing - but lets stick with the now. Yes, there are some cycle-only lanes in the city, but they are few and far in-between and sometimes only span for 50 metres before merging back into traffic. This can really put off the novice cyclist as cars are extremely intimidating and sometimes the vulnerability is just not worth the risk for some people. Secondly, Prague is not typical of European cities in its landform. The city elevates from the river, which results in large parts of Prague sitting on the side of a hill. You'd be amazed at how such little inclines can put people off using 2 wheels. Lastly, TRAM LINES and COBBLES! The one down side to having an excellent tram network is that you have tram lines scattered everywhere, like spaghetti. I have had two altercations with them since I have lived here and I know plenty of other riders who have cycled into trouble thanks to them. The cobbles, although less likely to make you fall, just make for a generally unpleasant ride for certain types of bikes and with each shudder of the bike another strand of enthusiasm can slip off.
Solutions! Well unfortunately there are things that we can't control such as tram lines, cobbles, hills and a lack of cycle infrastructure. However, there are things that we can do to minimise these obstacles so we can get as much enjoyment from cycling in Prague as possible. The most effective thing you can do is choose the most suitable style of bike for the type of riding that you are doing and this article is of course focussing on City riding. Over the next 3 articles I am going to test and review 3 different styles of bike that are most likely to be suitable for Prague. I will take into account all that has been discussed above and give my honest opinion about what style of bike I feel is the most suited to this beautiful, yet slightly cycling awkward City!
I would love to hear your cycling tips and experiences regarding cycling in Prague. Please comment below.
Thanks for reading.