60km on a cross bike… Because why not? Aka ‘day trip to Lhota lake’.

What do you do on a sunny Saturday when it’s 35 Celsius out there? Right: you plan a 60km ride on cross bikes! Granted that last time I rode a bike at all was several years ago, and last time before that was a few years before that, it was surely a sane idea to go that far without any proper training. I owned a bike when I was a teen though and seemed to be able to ride it all day long without a problem, so what could possibly go wrong, right?

Originally the plan was to visit Karlstein castle. However, the evening before the trip we made a wise decision (basically, I insisted on it after some of the original crew gave up the idea due to heat…) to change our destination to the Lhota lake – roughly the same distance, but a much better idea on a boiling hot day.

We began getting to the bike rental at 9am and were finally set and ready to go around 10. Another thing I’m happy I insisted on was the 9am meetup – because had we set the meeting time to 10, we’d leave the city in the absolute heat peak! It was rather warm, to say the least, either way :).

First thing that caught our attention on the way to the rental…

Looks like an alien creature riding a quadricycle of some sorts!

So here we were, 6 adults and one little passenger, and the very first thing we hit right inside the city limits was a pretty decent up-slope… Although after managing that one, the rest of the way seemed pretty easy, albeit not very smooth – Czechs have a very strange idea about what to consider an appropriate bicycle path. I suspect that basically any small path that isn’t a car road is automatically regarded as one, whether or not it even has an appropriate surface. It was a bit of an adventure to get to the lake – some of the paths were only nominatively such and most were rough terrain with many a-stone, ensuring a pretty bumpy ride. But we all made it in one piece, although we stopped quite a bit on the way :).

Picture time

The views!

Lovely terrain

As we rode through the fields, there was a piece of the road that turned into tire tracks in the field instead of a road (it’s right where there is an unfinished chunk of a highway). We carried on following the tire tracks into the field and ran into machines that were harvesting the grain. A lot of residue was fluffed out into the air and some of our ‘team’ got a hay ‘shower’ :). Alex and I were riding ahead, so we just narrowly missed both the death by the harvesting machine that was making a u-turn and the hay-spray :).

Something – nad Labem (I think). What looks like a castle in one of the towns we passed.

I wonder what and where it was πŸ˜€

When we finally reached our destination, we realized how intelligent our strategy was to take the bikes: the line to the parking lot of the lake was enormous! No wonder – it was, after all, a weekend and a hot one! We rode right to the entrance, payed the 50Kc to get in and settled in the shade because even for the heat-loving animal like myself it was a challenge to stay in the sunshine. It was so freaking hot and stuffy that I even went for a swim – that with my rather non-existent affinity for colder water! Granted, it was 26 degrees, but I still prefer warmer :).

Chillaxing in the shade: Alec, Vladimir, Elena, Igor, yours truly, Julien and Kerry

Philosophy in action

 

We had a nice lunch (tortilla wraps, some pastry and a load of fizzy drinks from the nearby kiosks)

 

And some well-deserved rest :). Although Kerry managed to also swim across the lake and back in the meantime – as if a bike ride in the damned heat wasn’t quite enough exercise! πŸ˜€

It’s a challenge to pose on a spinning tire!

And, obviously, I couldn’t leave without attempting a Zouk-inspired pose πŸ™‚

About 6pm we set off back. At one point we thought we might catch a train to get closer to the city, then ride the remaining segment, but it turned out the trains weren’t helping much time or distance-wise, so we rode all the way back. This time we decided to screw the bike paths and go on the highways – it was definitely a much quicker and smoother ride!

Pretty sunset we caught on the way back

It was infinitely more pleasant to ride at sundown – it was just the right temperature, not too cold and no longer boiling hot either!

Find the missing link… πŸ˜‰

The survivors! Meta-heroes of the consequences of that silly idea :D. Technically, only Kerry and Julien were properly ‘trained’ for such an epic trip by bikes, so we’re all really proud of ourselves for having made it :). Not without a few bruises here and there, of course, but I was pleasantly surprised at an absolute lack of any muscle pain the next day!

On Sunday we all met again at the rental to return the bikes and that was the end of this epic undertaking :). Since I’m nothing of an experienced bike rider, here are a few layman things I picked up from this experiment:

1) On a warm day, 1,5L of water for one way of such a trip is a minimal requirement. A regular 1,5L water bottle will fit under the bigger frame, but will be slightly sticking out from under a smaller frame (16′), although it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have one in there.

2) If it’s sunny, unless you want a version of a farmer’s tan, best is to wear something thin that covers the whole body.

3) Sunscreen is a non-negotiable requirement for every exposed piece of skin (face, earlobes, hands etc) – you burn/tan quicker on the road than on a beach.

4) Shades. Not even as much for the sun as for keeping all the dust and flies and stuff out of the eyes. Priceless.

5) A handkie to tie around the neck. Comes handy on dusty roads or while riding behind stinky cars – you can quickly and easily pull it over your nose :). Definitely not a legit bike gear, but who cares? It does the job without the investment into anything ‘real’ πŸ™‚

6) It may be a good idea to wear gloves. I took my leather fingerless ones and it was a very smart decision – in the heat on the dusty roads I would have otherwise very quickly blistered my palms.

7) Helmets are awesome. They keep the sun away :). Although it’s actually even better to wear a bandana under the helmet.

8) Bandaids and disinfectant – someone should have those with them.

9) Backpacks. Obviously. Unless you boast proper bike bags. Which I presume a layman won’t :). So – backpacks πŸ™‚

10) Seems like the local selection of bikes features very hard, narrow seats with ‘sharp’ edges… Note to self for the next trip, if any, would be to figure out a way to cushion the seat to avoid bruising, as this was the only real problem during (and after πŸ˜€ ) this trip.

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About in shade

A cocktail of personality traits hard to digest for some but ultimately soothing for those who can. I observe, enjoy, travel, interact, photograph, dance, contemplate, write and love my way through this life's countless occurrences. This blog is a way to share with the world and its people some of the treasures they give me every day.
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