“I’m worried about day 3: Prague to Usti. It’s 101k on bad surfaces. We start cycling at 10.15 (assuming we can get breakfast in time to catch that train) and there are two ferry crossings. We are not going to make it.”
It was every bit as tough as Caroline predicted but we did make it.
The train to Kralupy was to avoid the Prague suburbs and shorten the day to a manageable distance. Buying a ticket speaking no Czech was quite a comedy. Despite holding up two fingers as in “two people, two bikes” the ticket was unfeasibly cheap. Google goggles on the ticket didn’t help much, except some advice about unhitching horse from wagon before boarding the train. I went back to the ticket office with pictograms: 2 (Stick man pic) 2 (dodgy looking bike pic). Reassuringly expensive ticket resulted.
It wasn’t long before we hit our first stretch of rutted muddy forest track. And that was the pattern for the day. We’d have some miles of perfect tarmac and then just when it seemed it would last: loose gravel. Fearful cobbles. Piles of old broken bricks.
No surprise; I got a puncture. No surprise; first fix didn’t hold so I had to do it all again. Still no time lost because C had gone ahead and was dragging her bike through mud, and called back to say “take by pass by road” and I recovered 45 minutes of puncture fixing time.
On the bright side, the sun shone, the ferries were prompt, the scenery nice and contrary to worst fears, we made it. Only 8 and a half hours on the road.