Day 1 – Prague to Melnik on The Elbe river trail.

I arrived in Prague at 9.30am on a gorgeous sunny morning. Fully refreshed after over 8 hours sleep on the train. Fitbit said I was restless for 32mins and awake for 4mins of that time :-) Biking is good for sleeping!

1-IMG_3356Prague was glorious although totally rammed with tourists, think Kings Parade. I really loved how the Central Station has been renovated with the old domed entrance fully restored with the huge modern concourse buried in the basement. Its a pity that it’s stranded behind a high speed dual carriageway :-( but eh ho I descended again and popped up further across in the square.

The route worked fine using the Gaia app on my iPhone and I soon left the city via the delightful Stromovka park, hitting my first diversion of the day outside the zoo. The path alongside the river is MAGNIFICENT filled with roller blading kids at summer camp & lots of cyclists of every description. Such a great use of EU infrastructure money

The bridge I should be crossingI stopped for lunch by a lock and treated myself to a beer and cheese sandwich, what a shock the total price was £1.63. I had to leave the riverside and do some climbing at Husinec finally hitting the river again just after  Maslovice after another diversion for sewer works. At Nelahozeves the railway bridge couldn’t be crossed :-( so with Open Street Map and some help from locals I worked out my own diversion to Veltrusy where in the woods I managed to get a thorn in the front tyre giving me a slow puncture.

At the ferry near Luzec I met up with two cyclist guys from Hamburg whilst chatting to Ren & Steve on Facetime. Great amusement ensued at the nearby pub with Ren chatting to the regulars in Czech :-)  After another pint of Pivo  (A whole 60p) I continued onto the delightful hilltop, fully restored, city of Melnik where I parked myself in the Hotel Jaro for 840 Koruna (£24) a night including breakfast, fastish internet and a bedroom with a whole 3 piece suite in it :-) A delight to fix the puncture in such comfort :-)

An excellent first day biking on The Elbe biketrail with 43 miles covered and 1,338 feet of ascent! The Strava is here and pictures here.

By the way more photographs can be found on geoffjones.net also you can sign up for these missives via email, see top right hand side at geoffjones.com 

 

 

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Getting to the start in Prague..

1-IMG_3331Once I’d decided to bike The Elbe (thanks Sandra for the idea) I needed to get the bike & me to Prague. I didn’t fancy the aeroplane way so with a bit of research I discovered from The Man in Seat 61 that there was a overnight sleeper train from Amsterdam to Prague coupled with the Harwich – Hook of Holland & Esbjerg ferries it seemed a good idea of starting the trip :-)

The awful UK weather cleared a bit so that on Tuesday afternoon I set of to bike the 68 miles to Harwich it was still wild & windy but with only a couple of light showers. However, the road was flooded in a couple of places, which nearly meant a bent front wheel when I descended into a pothole :-( this coupled with a swipe across the face from a very long plant shoot meant I was non to happy. Also I must remember when plotting routes that the most direct & shortest is not necessarily the quickest (think crossing valleys). I made it to Harwich in plenty of time only to have to stand in the freezing cold for 2 hours to get on the ship. Thank goodness the boat has the most magnificent shower in the cabin so I could thaw out. Biking there did the trick and I slept solidly till arrival in the Hook.

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Bike lane on the up!

Disembarkation was very speedy and I had a lovely surprise to meet Emiel (One of the Les Gets renters) for a quick coffee before the 67 mile ride to Amsterdam down the amazing cycle ways in Holland. Although beware if you happen to get on a road/bridge the drivers will soon put you back in your place. I stopped for some breakfast in Den Haag and then pedalled on to Sassenheim where I stopped for lunch, Total shock horror. I had left my wallet in The Haag :-( :-( With the Moves app I could show the lady where I had been , she called them up & minutes later I was on a train going back, fortunately my spare hidden credit card was with me so I could get a few Euros for the train etc. All was retrieved and I continued, but much later than I liked so it was a huge rush to make the train. Only to find out that it has no restaurant car and had only a few pringles & beer.

I slept solidly through the night only waking up briefly in Hannover, so at least it’s comfortable, although with 3 in the cabin it would be totally dire :-(

The various Stravas (with gpx files) are:

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Cycling the Elbe & Vitava rivers

Over 4 months later and I’m back here :-) Although I notice over 40 folks a day still visit the site to check out my Scarpa boots posts etc.

D-Route10_gpxMy next little bike trip is now planned and I leave next Tuesday to get the overnight ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland it’s 70 miles to the ferry but I might just let the train take the strain for that stretch.

After the ferry it’s a four hour or so bike ride to the main station in Amsterdam to catch the overnight sleeper to Prague. Arriving in Prague early Thursday morning ready to cycle the Vitava & Elbe rivers to the North Sea at (probably) Brunsbüttel after this I will probably do the additional  216km to Esbjerg in Denmark to catch the ferry to Harwich. This has to be before September 29th as the ferry ceases to operate afterwards :-(

According to my Bikeline books it’s 500km from Prague to Magdeburg and then 500km more from Magdeburg to Cuxhaven (on the left bank) and pretty well downhill or the way so somewhat easier than the Sportivs that Sally has me doing here in the UK :-)

I must give a special shout out to Øivind Langeland and his bluacciaio.com blog for all his positive remarks about my biking the Danube posts. It was great to follow him following some of my route :-) maybe next year we can do some of the Iron Curtain Trail. together.

 

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Statistical end to my SE Asia bike trip

Geoff at the Merlion in Singapore

Geoff at the Merlion in Singapore

Now my little Hanoi to Singapore bike ride is finished. Here is a first glimpse of my stats

I biked 2,558 miles (4093km) with  55,000 feet (16,764m) of ascent. Pedalled  it in 218 hours with 40 days on the road.  My total time away from Cambridge (on this trip) was 68 days from 2nd Feb to 7 April.

Geoff's SE Asia Tour

Geoff’s SE Asia Tour

I dropped down 20 degrees of Latitude from Hanoi at 21 degrees North to Singapore at 1 degree North. Biked through 5 countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore.

I spent £1245 on accommodation in the 68 days, Apart from the stupendous hospitality of Daniela & Andre in Singapore the cheapest night was Ratanak in Borkeo for £4.83 most expensive was the White Sand Hotel in Hua Hin at £42.59 per night.

Longest daily distance was 97 miles from Phu Phong to Khong Dao. Highest average speed speed was 14.32mph for the 64.7 miles from Cho Ngoi to Dien Chau. Overall average speed was  11.75mph

No major bike repairs only a new rear bike tyre in Thailand. I think 5 punctures all in the rear tyre.

I will probably add to this as time goes on…

 

 

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