About two months ago, I have finally bought myself a bike and started riding semi-regularly to work – the round trip amounts to about 17km daily, which is a decent workout already. (When it will start feeling too easy, I will just ride faster. ;-)
I was not very keen on this for a long time since Prague is not an overly bike-friendly city and the only time I can really give the bike-riding is riding to work (in the city center), since so many things already chew on my free time. You don’t really see many bike corridors and bike lanes in Prague.
However, I have given this some more serious thought at the beginning of Spring, and it turned out that things aren’t nearly as bad as it seemed and it is in fact possible to find very decent routes.
My priorities were:
- No long/steep climbs. My stamina is not up to it so far.
- Absolutely no riding with many / fast going cars. I value my life.
…and I live in Letnany and work at Mala Strana. Hmm?
It turned out that it is possible to ride this route while avoiding _any_ busy roads! The indispensable resource here is the prahounakole.cz map – it is not an official resource but a community map showing not only official bike roads, but also good routes over normal roads, etc. with a very good organization so it is really easy to plan a route between any two points in Prague.
One good rule of thumb is “get to Vltava” – along most of the river, there are fine bike roads and you may spend the most of your trip there; the only problematic point is the historic center. Other than that, it turns out that where there is busy road, that frequently also means that the sidewalk is completely deserted and can be easily used. (If the sidewalk does not tend to be deserted, it is of course not a good practice at all to use it.) Putting these two together, it’s almost painless to go from Letnany to Mala Strana and back.
(I use the cunning A262 to get from Letnany to Vysocany extremely fast, then join the bike route A26 to get to Vltava and go by A2 all the way to Palachovo namesti. The only part of the way where I have to go with many cars is over the bridge then.) (An alternate route is over Strizkov, but right at the beginning there is an annoying killer climb to get over the highway, and the extremely busy A27->A2 crossroad is basically impossible to cross safely. A262 is *much* better even though it involves one slightly annoying road crossing too.)
(To get back, I don’t use the same route as my stamina is not yet up to climbing all the way back to Letnany. ;-) So I go along the other side of Vltava, on Nabrezi kapitana Jarose. There is no bike route there, but except a tourist bus stop at one point, the sidewalks are completely deserted, and then A1 moves to the sidewalks as well anyway; at Holesovicka trznice, it’s best to turn to A151 (on sidewalks too), suffer two road crossings, and then get quickly to Nadrazi Holesovice – the subway will get me back to Letnany then.)
Hope this helps someone. :)