Prague, south to Cesky Krumlov, back north through the Sumava "mountains," a bit into Germany, then back to Prague via Plzen. 3 weeks in country, 406 miles and 24,000' climbing in 12 days cycling. No other form of transportation used, except the Metro for fun in Prague.
David, 67, and Nancy, 63. Team weight about 305 lbs.
2003 uncoupled Co-Motion Speedster steel tandem, Wound-Up carbon fork. Avid V-brakes with Arai drum on rear wheel. It's a fabulous machine.
9 speed, 52-39-26 X 12-34. We only had to walk one steep 1/2 km. section with "gravel" the size of cobblestones.
Wheels and tires:
Velocity Deep-V 36H rims, 14-15 spokes. Front hub Chris King, rear hub White Industries. Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech 28c tires at 120 lbs. Performance 28-32 tubes. No flats. Wheels stayed true. We never had to touch them. Total all-up bike weight was about 390 lbs.
Self-prepared cue sheets
Garmin Edge 800 with courses loaded on a series of MicroSD cards.
Click on "view as slide show" at the top of the photobucket page.
236 photo version: http://s878.photobucket.com/albums/a...20bike%20tour/
65 photo version: http://s878.photobucket.com/albums/a...ort%20version/
The gear list, about 40 lbs:
We decided not to carry a stove. In our experience traveling is about the people. We knew we would be more likely to interact with the locals if that were the only way to get food. That's the main reason. It also made flying easier and getting fuel a non-issue.
Marvelous tour. There's nothing we'd do differently. No mechanicals, no flats, no problems of any sort. The Czech Republic has beer available almost everywhere and a 0.00 blood alcohol tolerance policy. We never saw anyone drive after drinking, though they do ride bikes. There is no glass on the roads: They don't carry alcohol in a car, they don't drink out of bottles, and they know how to drive. Though they do drive fast, we saw no evidence of accidents, either on the road or on the cars.
Neither of us had ever been to the Czech Republic before, although I speak a little Czech, a relic of my US Army service. The Czechs are wonderful people, kind, helpful, and easy-going. Perhaps speaking a little Czech improved our experience. Speaking German is contraindicated. They still hate them, though they need their Euros. They welcomed us as Americans everywhere we went. All Czech popular music is in American English, though they can't understand a word. Almost no one outside of Prague speaks English. One Czech said, "If the Germans had won the war, we'd all be listening to German songs. But you Americans won, so we're happy to listen to English."
We stuck to tertiary roads almost exclusively. They are hilly. We chose routes which did not involve gravel, only riding about 2km of unpaved road. We did ride a fair bit of cobblestones. The great thing about this routing is that we were totally out of the usual tourist path, and in the rural Czech Republic. Only a few cars passed us each day. Stoker navigated, leaving Captain to watch the road, which needed a lot of watching.
We camped and stayed in hotels/pensions about equally. We would hesitate to rely on either as a sole method of overnighting. We had battery packs to recharge the Garmin if camping or to use in a lamp if we had to ride after dark. That worked well. We did not have a dyno hub.
We plotted our routes and created cue sheets using bikely.com. We used an OSM on-line bike map of the Czech Republic as a source to locate appropriate bike routes and roads. We also used Google Earth a good bit to resolve questions and locate accommodations.
This was a complicated route, the cue sheets showing approximately 600 turns. We ran the bikely GPX files through BikeRouteToaster, creating TCX files with course points at turns for each segment of the route. We used OSM maps, and loaded the OSM map and one course segment onto a series of 8MB MicroSD cards, which the Garmin takes. We then set the Garmin to follow the course. It's important to have only one course on each card. We had quite a bit of experience with using the Garmin in this way, so it all worked very well. We never used a paper map, though we had one for reference, just in case. We would hesitate to try this with only a paper map, only a cue sheet, or only a Garmin. We had to ask for directions maybe 4 times, when all our methods of navigation gave uncertain or conflicting results.
We saw only a few bike tourists, none American as far as I could tell. All Czechs, I think. We saw a lot of Germans on guided tours with unladen MTBs.
We had a great time! Their beer really is the best in the world. Delicious! We drank it at every lunch and dinner. Good source of hydration and calories. Didn't seem to affect our performance.