My bicycle trailer
Cycling is the most energy efficient way of transportation: cycling requires the least amount of energy to transport one person from point A to B, then comes walking, then traveling by train, plane and bus, whereas traveling by car involves the largest energy consumption per person.
A few cycling links
There seem to be a huge number of cycling related pages on the Web. A large majority of them could have been reached through the Internet Bicycling Hub that used to be at

Bicycling road reports

Cycle racing results and news

Diary of an English couple from their Prague to Budapest bicycle ride

My cycling (and some memories)
The first bicycle I got still as a preschooler was an adult-size women's bike (single speed, of course) that I inherited from a much older cousin. It was probably still of the pre-WW2 origin, with the wide "balloon" tires, of sturdy construction that could take a lot of abuse, and could be operated for decades with minimum maintenance (my 84-year-old mother is still now almost daily using the very same bike to get around). In North America, in recent years one has been able to buy rather expensive replicas of similar bikes.

On this bike I learned how to cycle in spite of that for the first year or two I was still too small to reach on its seat, and so I had to stand all the time while pedaling. Later on, in mid 1950's I was using it to get to the elementary school in Choltice which was about 4 km (2.5 miles) away from Ledec where I lived. And whenever the route of the most popular amateur cycling race of Eastern Europe, the so called Peace Race, led within reasonable cycling distance from Choltice (which was on many of those years), one day in May all our school decorated their bikes mostly with stripes of colored paper (mainly woven into the spokes of both wheels) and we cycled to the main road along which the racers went, and there we stood for up to a few hours until everybody (first perhaps a few fastest riders, then the main peleton and then over a much longer period of time all the trailing slower groups and accompanying vehicles) went by, and we waved to everybody - and so it is quite possible that I may also have been waving to Jim whom I met two years ago as a fellow rider of a Winnipeg-to-Atlanta bicycle ride, who used to take part in the Peace Race as a young member of the Scottish team ...

But although that old bike of mine was good enough for commuting to school, it was nothing to show off in front of my classmates, and also it was so slow after a while ... So by the time I was about 12 or so, I managed to earn enough money for a brand new 8-speed Favorit road bike. I earned the money in about two years by picking cherries in the orchards of the nearby collective farms. The cherry picking season lasts not more than three weeks and usually starts in the last days of June. I was working from dawn to dusk, from about 6-7 am to 9 pm, seven days a week for those two or three weeks. I like cherries very much, but after a few days of picking I was seeing only cherries in my dreams - a huge sea of cherry-tree branches heavy with the ripening berries. It's like after a few days into a bicycle ride when I can see in my dreams all the time only the infinite pavement running underneath a bike.

On my new bike I could go much further. I was riding it after school several times a week along one of my several circular routes (ranging from about 15 to 70 km) through the foothills of the very low Iron Mountains (north-westernmost part of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands) that were beginning just south of us. And doing some longer rides through Bohemia during the summer break.

Then I went on to a university and later had the family, and had too little time to do much cycling. I returned to it only in the end of 1970's when I started to get about Prague on my bike on a daily basis. In the end of 1983 I came to Canada, and started to cycle again a lot in Vancouver. It was at a time when there were not yet many cyclists in the streets, the drivers were not used to them, and I had two close encounters with cars that failed to yield me the right of way. Fortunately, in both cases I always managed to stop (land on pavement) before actually hitting the car. Later on I lived in southern Alberta for quite a few years, where in spite of the nice plains cycling is not very good because of frequent high winds (with speeds up to 150 km/h) that can make your return home almost impossible. But the city of Calgary is close to a cyclist's paradise among the cities I know. It boast an extensive network of more than 100 km of bike trails throughout the city, especially along its rivers and creeks.

In 1989-91 I spent two years in Japan, where I lived on the outskirts of greater Tokio, were I never tried to drive a car, and traveled only by bike or using the public transportation. I have discovered a network of bicycle paths along the river banks in the plains west of Tokio, along which I could get from the confusion of the heavy traffic in the streets of Tokio in less than half an hour into the near paradise of rice paddies and cherry blossoms. Those bike trails must have been built many years before, and began to crumble somewhat at that time, but were still very satisfactory.

In Japan, one was allowed in the cities to ride the bike on sidewalks among the pedestrians as the streets may have been too dangerous for the cyclists. Sidewalks are usually crowded enough with pedestrians themselves, and one has to develop new skills to weave among them on a bicycle. But after a while, I was somehow intuitively able to continuously modify and distort the position of my body and of the handlebars of my bike to go rather fast through tiny gaps between the pedestrians. The idea is to make oneself as flat as possible - first put through that tiny gap between two pedestrians one shoulder and one handlebar by turning the bike quickly to a side, then equally quickly regain the balance by leaning in the other direction and in a wavy motion put through the other handlebar and the rest of your body without touching anybody.

In Manitoba cycling is relatively easy. There are no hills at all. Winds can be strong, but they never reach the intensity of the Southern Alberta Chinooks. Here I have done a lot of cycling. In Pinawa, where I lived for four years, I cycled to work almost every day during the summer months, and was exploring the vicinity on the bicycle. My favorite destination was the Whiteshell Provincial Park. And in 1996 I finally found time to participate in a three week Habitat for Humanity long-distance ride, which was something at least remotely resembling the Peace Races I watched as a little kid. I could enjoy the cycling, and at the same time hopefully help a little bit others by raising money for the Habitat.

My cycling in recent years
1994:in Manitoba about 3000 km
1995:in Manitoba about 2500 km
Before Bike Atlanta in Manitoba2505 km
Bike Atlanta2230 km
After Bike Atlanta in Manitoba618 km
In the Czech Republic in December120 km
Total5473 km
Habitat Homecoming '97435 km
All the other cycling in Manitoba1137 km
Rocky Mountains188 km
Mount Revelstoke!56 km
Sunshine Coast140 km
Vancouver Island (Courtenay to Nanaimo)115 km
Total2071 km
1998:(mostly in Manitoba) only 1010 km
(But I also hiked well over 100 km in the mountains of the Mideastern Europe, and swam dozens of kilometers near the Pinawa bridge)
1999:(in Manitoba) only 840 km
(But I also paddled about 210 km in a canoe, of that 145 km in 5 days on the Grass River in Northern Manitoba)
Two really LONG-distance rides

Round the World on a bicycle
(From the news of the Czech Radio on Sept. 23. 1997)

After more than three years and 59,393 kilometers spent in the seat of his Velamos bike, the former triathlete Vitezslav Dostal returned safe and sound home last Sunday from his round-the-world cycling trip that led him through 58 countries on five continents. He survived three earthquakes and a heavy sandstorm, battled wild dogs in the Sahara and dodged bullets in Colombia. He was robbed four times and was knocked down by a truck in Argentina. Still, he considered it "a priceless experience". Dostal undertook the trip with 25kg of luggage, that included two cameras, an English language dictionary, three passports, and a Bible. He didn't carry any weapons apart from his knife and his fists. So how does one win a fight with a pack of wild dogs? "I escaped by riding as fast as I could for approximately 30 km while waving a ski pole at them," he says. More details of his trip appeared in the first October 1997 issue of the Prague Post English-language daily. Dostal was also planning to describe his adventures in a book called "Happy Planet, or How I Cycled Around the World," the first part of which was due to appear in November 1997.

First bicycle ride across Siberia

It was the ride described in the book "Off the road: Bicycling accross Siberia" (William Morrow and Company, N.Y., 1992) by Mark Jenkins, who was one of the participants in that ride. The other were two more Americans and four Russians. They started around June 21, 1989 from the port Nachodka near Vladivostok and arrived in Leningrad at the other end of what was then still Soviet Union on Oct. 25, 1989. They covered 7,500 miles (12,000 km), that means that they had to make on average 70 miles (112 km) per day. Their route led them through Chabarovsk, Blagoveshchensk, Chita, Irkutsk, Krasnojarsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Penza and Moscow. Between Blagoveshchensk and Chita there were still no paved roads. The distance between these two cities is 789 miles (1,262 km) and they claim that they made it in one month mainly by walking and pushing their bikes through marshes and on the railway tracks and only occasionally riding on a forest trail. They had to cover in this way about 26 miles (42 km) a day everyday for 30 days, which may be somewhere close to the border of human capacity. Thus the daily average for the remaining 6,711 miles had to be at least 92 miles (147 km), because they also had at least four days of rest along the route.

It is an interesting reading also about the clash of American and Russian (or rather old Soviet) approach to life. Mark Jenkins tried hard to understand the Russian reality. Nevertheless, there may still be some inaccuracies in the book. As an example, he claims that Irkutsk (through which they rode) lies on the west shore of Lake Baikal set deep in a long inlet. Irkuts is actually 80 km (50 miles) far from the nearest shore of Baikal, it lies on the shores of the Angara River, the only river that flows out of the lake (that is fed by about 300 other rivers and streams). I know this for sure as I spent there two weeks. I understand that somebody who has to dash through at the speed of 92 miles per day is not able to catch all the details and might perhaps mistook Angara for an inlet, especially because there is a large dam just above Irkutsk that widens the river between Irkutsk and Baikal. One more example: He describes meeting somewhere in the deep forests of Siberia an ex-soldier who fought in the "Great War", which Mark thought was WW1. First, such a soldier would have to be about 100 years old, and second, it is WW2 that Russians refer to as the Great (Patriotic) War.