So here I am in Prague, Czech Republic and like a good unicyclist, I brought my unicycle with me. I thought that I might write about unicycling in Prague to inform any prospective unicyclists intending to conquer these lands on one wheel.
Well first thing you should know is that Prague has cobblestone roads. Lots of them. In fact, you can’t go out without tripping over them and breaking your mother’s back.
So when one discovers that like in New York, Prague has a riverside bike path, along the Vltava river, all should be strawberries and cream right?
So at first, it’s all ooh’s and ah’s when starting out, because the road is nicely paved and you have attractive joggers and happy-faced cyclists whizzing past you.
Also, you don’t really mind that it’s maybe about 8 degrees celsius because you’ve got music in your eyes and fluff for brains, and hypothermia is a silent killer so you can’t really feel your toes drop off.
And then the further you ride, the further away from built-up environment are. At some point, it almost looks like one of Singapore’s manicured parks except for the fact that your body forgets to sweat in a weather that slowly gnaws away at your toes.
But it’s all very pretty, you know, so most of the time is spent looking around at the pretty sights while being much pretty oblivious to other people gawping at the passing unicyclist.
Very scenic, very peaceful. You start to forget that there were ever such things as cobblestones in Prague and you’re like “Pfft I could ride on these FOREVER.”
[BACKTRACK] As I kept cycling further south and south, I realized, “OK I think I’m running out of energy to keep riding. Imma turn around and ride back.” But noo I can’t ride back the same way I came because bad things will happen if I do! Things like… the crops will fail and global warming will happen. So I had to ford the river like a steely cowboy does. The problem is, cowboys ford rivers that don’t attempt to drown or freeze them. Well maybe they do but they don’t have unicycles to keep dry. Also, the Vltava river is deep. Like boat-depth deep.
If you can see where Modřany is, that’s where I began to have doubts that I could keep ‘going forever’. Just before I reached Zavist, I began to despair. Luckily, a bridge! A bridge! I am saved! Hallelujah! I can finally turn around and…. start to cycle back.
It’s like someone gave you a water bag in the desert just as you’re about to collapse and then he tells you you’ll have to unicycle about 11 km more to fill it up at the nearest oasis.
So I started to cycle northwards and then we get to enjoy this lovely picture again.
Did I mention I was riding a 20″ unicycle with indoor freestyle tires, 100mm cranks and a crotch-busting cheapo saddle that has no handle? Besides rocks, there were muds, gravels, bushes, fishermens, expressways and the cold, cold Communist weather. Nelíbí se mi to počasí.
The buses on this side of river went places I didn’t know, so I didn’t want to risk it. I think there were buses going to Smíchovské nádraží which I do know where it is, but it lulled me into a false sense of security that said “ONLY TEN MINUTES AWAY BY BUS!!” so I thought “Ok, I can probably last till that train station and take the metro back.
But I was waylaid because I had to avoid the expressways (why the hell do I always end up on them??) by returning to the mud path. Then I lost sight of the route to Smíchovské nádraží. Apparently I overshot it upon checking the GPS.
(Edit: I didn’t overshoot it, it seems. I didn’t even reach it. Hunger does funny things to your map reading skills)
Yes I had a GPS unit with me. But why didn’t I consult it to get me out of this fix? 1) The map of Prague and Greater Prague is loaded inside it. If I so much as try to scroll more than a few mm away from my current location, it takes three minutes to reload itself and all of Greater Prague. 2) It’s too cold to do anything other than gawp at the GPS unit telling me I’m getting closer back to Prague.
Anyway, I found the expressway bridge with a pedestrian footpath, and so I rode across it, across the Vltava river like a BOSS and many pigeons flew around in formation celebrating my new bosshood and then I took a tramvaj and then the end.