Plzeň to København Bike Tour
Plzeň to København Bike Tour
680 miles over 12 days, a 60 hours ride with 16,000 feet of climbing, 3 different countries/ currencies, and 50 different beers. Follow the Czech 3, the Eurovelo 7, and the German D2 cycling routes from the birthplace of the Pilsner Beer through century old monarchs, logging roads, and grand canals and rivers, before crossing the Baltic Sea and into Denmark's Nordic Capital, Biketown København.
The Czech Pours
The originally plan was to fly into Prague and start cycling from there, but after reading more about the Czech Republic's history and the Bohemian city of Plzeň's importance in the world of beer the route was expanded to start where the Pilzen beer style was born in 1842 after the locals grew tired of the top fermented dark ales and the Plzeň brewery recruited the Bavarian brewer Josef Groll to produce the first bottom fermented larger. The pale larger Pilsner which takes it name from the city of Plzeň
As I usually like to cover new ground and not backtrack, I decided to fly into Munich, and take a train to Plzeň and then cycle onto Prague. The train was very reasonable, less than 50 Euro.
Dinner at Lokál Pod Divadlem, consisted of creamy mushroom soup, Prague ham with creamy whipped horseradish, with a Pilsner Urquell Hladinka and a Šnyt of the house unfiltered Kozel black.
Day 1: Do I really have a plan?
As it was a bit chilly in the morning, I delayed my start until late morning when it reach the low 50s/10c. My hotel was right on the town square, so I took a moment to admire the beauty that surrounded the square when two cyclists stopped to inquire about my journey and wish me well. Just so happens one of them is a Trek Tour Guide and noticed my Bike and Gear.
My first goal was to find the Pilsner Urquell Brewery for a quick visit and then Plzeň's only Pilsner Urquell tankovna for the limited unfiltered and unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell and some Czech Beef Goulash (Gulas) and bread dumplings.
It was nearing the 13:00 hour when I finished lunch, so I was basically starting out half a day behind on a trip that was already extended by 50 miles. Ok, I wanted an adventure, I was going to get one. After lunch I headed out of town over cycleways and shared sidewalks to connect with Cycleway 3 and the Paneuropa Cycle Track.
Once outside the city I was greeted with yellow fields of rapeseed (Canola Oil) before entering a forest that lead onto logging roads until coming to more rapeseed fields. In Rokycany I passed through the center of town. the Marian Column, and the Church of Our Lady of the Snow. From Rokycanny, cycleroute 3 headed south east over forest logging roads, trails, and lightly traveled roads towards Hrádek, and then onto Dobřív.
A few miles east of Dobřív is Vodní hamr Dobřív. Built in the early 19th century, on the site of older wooden mills from 1658 and 1701, the Water Forge (Hammer) utilized a 'Vantroky”- (a wooden water channel) to supply water from the Huťský rybník (pond) to drive four water wheels that set vast 19th century machinery into motion to forge blast furnace pig iron into rod semi-finished products from the 19th century well into into the steel age before switching to producing heavy blacksmith tools until the late 20st century. The Vodní hamr Dobřív suspended operation in the 1960s. The Huťský rybník (pond) also supplied water to the local glass smelters from the 17th to 19th century.
I continued to follow Cycleway 3 towards the Strážný vrch east of the village of Těně reaching the highest elevation of the day. Again, the trail cut through the forest before coming to the town of where I passed this interested piece of Czech art.
From Strážný vrch to Řevnice was mostly down hill and flat with the occasional small hill. I continued to follow cycle way 3 until just outside the town of Komárov leaving a paved trails to share roadyway 117 until Cycle way 3 branched off across more Rapeseed fields until reaching Roadway115 which I followed into Revince. I reached Revnice around 20:00.
My stay for the night was about 17 miles outside of Prague central at an old rail station that was converted into a microbrewery and small hotel. After a long cold day the carrot soup was welcoming along with more Beef Goulash and a fresh Řevnická 10 and a Řevnická APA at the Pivovar Řevnice.
The trains didn't seem to bother me sleeping as much as jet lag.
. The route lead me over multiple types of terrain and landscape with a bit more elevation that I had expected. One moment I was traversing dirt logging roads deep in the hilly forest and then the next hour I was meandering over paved cycleways that followed the lower ridges lined with fields of rapeseed (canola oil) that blanked the landscape in a sea of yellow as views of the distance church steeples entered the horizon. It was a fairly tough ride for the first day, but all in all I felt great, though still unaware of the logistical issues that lie ahead.
Day 2:The Bramboráky
Revnice > Klenec - 51.93 mi 4:58:42 MovingTime, 9:10:33 Elapsed Time 1,371 ft elevation gain
My stay included breakfast at their associate hotel a few block away. I headed there for a very filling European breakfast before suiting up for day.The day started with a 15 mile ride along the Berounka River towards Prague Central. As I got closer to city the rural area became more residential and my route blended in with local parks and pedestrian ways that were filled with joggers and rollerbladers . A few miles outside Prague Central the bike path became shared space with pedestrians and others bustling along a typical city street before opening up onto a large pedestrian way with small cafes and shops located inside the brick wall that aligned the Berounka as it flowed into the Vltava, Many tour boats that anchored here. I found the large circular glass doors of the shops quite interesting as they pivoted on a center fulcrum.
Prague is a beautiful city, but not on a bike. It is very crowded and I quickly decided I would have to return someday to explore the city in more depth; therefore, I decided to spend only a few hours before riding on. Besides that, I had to make up some time since I added in the Plzen segment.
Once into Progue Central I took a left across the Charles Moot, which is aligned with replicas of the original statues that depicted Prague history. The originals have been relocated to the many museums within Prague for safe keepings. I took delight in listening to a multi piece band especially the percussionist on the washboard. I wanted to join in.
Once across the bridge and into the Mala Strana I got out of the crowd by turning down a side street where I found a small outdoor market and discovered the bramboráky, the famous Czech potato pancakes filled with shredded pork and cabbage. After picking up some Czech dried sausages for snacking along the way, I went back across the Vltava to find the Astronomical Clock. Wow, what a piece of work! It was much bigger than I had expected. Very intriguing craftsmanship considering that the world was still thought to be flat at the time of its creation.
Before heading out of Prague, I attempted to visit the Jewish Cemetery, but there was nowhere to secure the bike, so I caught a glimpse of the stacked graves through the back exit. It has to be seen.
From Prague I followed the most direct route north out of the city that in hindsight might have been a mistake. Though it did lead to an amazing view of Prague, it lead to a rather steep path and another navigational mistake which dead ended at top of a downhill foot path and onto a single track that bordered the top of a rather high wall that aligned the Elbe river. Eventually the path turned into a paved cycleway, after which I took a ferry across the river to hook up with the EV7. I followed the EV7 until it crossed back over the river at which time I continue to follow local roads and cycle paths directly north towards Klenec, where I had a small apt for the night. Dried Sausage, cliff bars, nuts and dried fruit were dinner for the evening.
I am becoming aware of possible accommodation challenges, but liked where I staying in preparations for the next few days journey I had planned.
Day 3 Trailside Taps
Kleneč > Decin 47.12 miles 4:20:49 Moving Time 8:28:21 Elapsed Time 1,266 ft of climbing
After a 20 mile ride along the Elbe I visited the grounds of the Terezin fortress/camp and took remembrance to camp's former residents as I walked their cramped quarters in silence.
North is the town of Litoměřice. I followed komoot's routing going up and over the town which ultimately lead to fantastic view and higher hills of rapeseed. One of the surprise stops along the trail was the Cykločep Trail coin operated bier tap where I enjoyed a Bakalar nealko pivo milk pour. Find what's pouring today. Cykločep
I then continue to follow the EV7 until reaching Ústí nad Labem where I had lunch at the NA RYCHTĚ BREWERY. After a lunch of chicken and potatoes in a nice cream sauce I continued up the EV7 until I found suitable accommodates with a secure spot for my bike at the Restaurace Kocanda Děčín which just so happens to be a Pilsner Urquell Tankovna. The restaurant was closed, so I had a few cokes to go alone with my sausage, and few other small snacks I had left.
Day 4: Frühjahrsmarkt
Decin, CZ > Meißen, DE 47.12 miles
Breakfast was included in last night’s stay and consisted of normal European fare which has come to serve me well.
Today was a cool ride. I would follow the Elbe River as it cuts is way through the canyon. The cliffs towered about the small hamlets that dotted the river's edge. It would my last day in the Czech Republic and I knew I was going to miss the country. I loved how every few miles or so there would be a small biergarden that served small meals, bier and coffee. Europe knows how to have a gezellige time.
As I approached Dresdin, I noticed a busy street through the train trusses' arches and decided to visit. Much to my surprised the Dresdner Frühjahrsmarkt (Spring Market) was taken places, with music provided by the German rock band Apollo Universe. I spent the next few hours wondering around the market visiting the the various booths, listing to the music, and making small talk with the few beer vendors that offered local craft beer from Adler Brauerei Coswig and the Lohrmanns Brew, On a side note, I managed to impressed a few locals with my ability to manage two beers while I pushed my bike through the crowds whom verbal acknowledged my determination and success. I drank to that.
The architecture of the main square provided the perfect European setting to enjoy a classic German meal for lunch. Before heading out I picked up a few hundred grams of German Cheese to go along with the dried Czech sausage I had been nibbling on.
I finished the day though a bit later than expected in Meißen, DE where I stayed at Hotel Goldener Löwe. They were very nice and allowed me to keep my bike in one of the lock rooms for the night. The room was small but well suited for a single traveler. I dined in their restaurant on Spargel (asparagus) Cordon Blue, and German been soup.
This might have been the only day I had 3 full meals. That said, I have been eating well.
Day 5: Cover your ears
Meißen, DE > Wittenberg 7:24:17 Moving Time 9:08:55 Elapsed Time 95.74 mi 1,076 ft of climbing
The day started with a fantastic breakfast. There was a large selection of fresh breads, rolls, hot dishes, fruits, cereal, and a few different types of muesli. I filled up and it paid off. Today turned out to be my longest day of riding. I felt great and just wanted to ride. I thought this day would come and when it did I just wanted to enjoy the ride which is part of the reason I didn't want to book accommodations in advance. I never really knew one day for the next were I was going to actually end up.
The miles clicked off today as I passed the yellow fields and small towns. As I approached the outskirts of Wittenberg, I was informed by a group of riders the ferry was not operating, so I had to make a detour to get into town. I had also missed the message that my confirmed room for the night had to cancel and I didn't find out until I road through town and had arrived. It all worked out in the end as they assisted in getting me a room for the night at the Comfort Inn in downtown Wittenberg, though 3mi /5k back into town.
I ended up taking a little tumble within those last few miles when I didn't clear my rear tire over the curb as I transition from the cobble stone street onto the stone path along side. My jacket and bibs protected for my skin as I slide across the path letting anyone if within ear shot know of my displeasure in myself. Fortunately, the bike was alright. My shoulder and hip took most of the impact and the night was going to be a little sleepless.
The hotel turn out great, included breakfast, so all was well.
Day 6: Bodega Charcuterie
5:54:Moving Time 8:21:30 Elapsed Time 61.38 mi 1,942 ft of Climbing
Stiff and a bit sore, I made my way down to breakfast to take stock of my situation. A plentiful buffet with coffee and juice was a good start, though I was a bit tired from my restless night. A noon checkout provided the opportunity for a quick nap after breakfast. I asked the hotel to hold me a room for another night and I would figure out what was next when I woke up.
The nap worked. I was out of the hotel by noon. The hotel location was perfect. I was able to ride through the cobble stoned pedestrian district of Wittenberg on my way out of town. I figured after yesterday's long ride, I wasn't going to push it to try to make it Berlin. Besides that, my lack of planned accommodations is very much on my mind and I thought it would be easier to find a place to stay in the smaller town of Potsdam.
I followed the EV7 for most of the day, except taking the RR1 Wannsee route into Wannsee instead of looping around with the river.
I found a nice Limehome apartment with a kitchen area in Potsdam .Limehome provided a nice travel cup and small package of gummie bears as a welcome gift which set the tone for the evening. They sent a code prior to me arriving for a self-check-in. By the time I was settled in everything in the surrounding area was closed, but a small Bodega which provided the perfect ingredients for a late night bodega charcuterie board!
Day 7: Training Day
48.22 mi 1,624 ft of Climbing 4:48:18 Moving Time 8:21:12 Elapsed Time
I had picked up items for breakfast the night before, so I was able to make a complete breakfast in the apartment (egg white omelet with tomatoes, toast, cheese, salami, Juice, coffee, and of course a few gummy bears). I had plenty of left overs to snack on for the next few days.
Today I cycled into Berlin to visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, and Check Point Charlie. I followed the EV7 into the city until heading towards the Memorial. It was short ride into the city and the rural cycle ways morphed into city paths. riding along side city streets until becoming one.
The events around Berlin from the 1930's until the wall came down are mind boggling. The Berlin Wall Memorial and fragmented remnants of the wall throughout the city remind me of how blessed I am. The memorial consists of a continuous wall of photographs, news clippings, and various images and plagues chronologizing the horrors' of Nazi Germany and the 3rd Reich towards the citizens of Berlin during its reign, and the continual loss of freedom of West Germany citizens after the war.
Leaving the city, I chose to follow a route that traced the Berlin Wall north out of Berlin instead of the EV7. The various parks alone the wall remnants were filled with tourist, and locals enjoying the sunny afternoon, and provided historical stops. I eventually rejoined the EV7 around the town of Borgsdorf.
Purchasing a ticket was easy via Deutsche Bahn's ticket machine. Perhaps due to the later hour the train was not busy and there was plenty of room for a few bikes. The train had plenty of room for my bike and I enjoy the rest. Once in Fürstenberg/Havel I rode a few Kilometers to my hotel for the evening.
My host had provided me a keyless entry and informed where to store my bike within the gated courtyard, so check-in was easy and quick The multi-room apt was spaces and offer a view into the court yard and the nearby canal. My morning meal and snacks were going to hold me over for the day, as all the restaurants and small stores had closed for the day.
Day 8: Backwards Bowling Night
64.86 mi 1,329 ft 5:19:22 Moving Time 7:27:57 Elapsed Time
Getting a train back to Oranienburg was easy and despite the early hour had room for a few bikes. Yep, I had to go back. Upon reaching Oranienburgh, I had a nice breakfast of fresh pasties, coffee, and juice across the street from the train station. I tucked a few pasties into my bags for later. The morning ride was very pleasant as it cut north through forest and logging trails interloping with lakes, small streams, and rivers that were heading towards the sea. My route was again a mix of the EV7 and a German cycleway and was often close enough to the water to exchange a wave with the occasional boater navigating the waterways.
Around 13:00 I arrived back in Fürstenberg/Havel. During my morning ride I had remembered there is an Italian restaurant near the train station and pasta was on my mind. I was getting hungry for a real meal. I refueled with tagliatelle pasta with mushrooms in a red cream sauce and a Radler Naturtrüb,
I began estimating the rest of my day and where I would be staying. Not wanting to repeat last night I started looking for places 20 or so miles north in the Brandenburg region of Germany. The area is hilly and full of lakes, and forest lands.
At Grabowseebrücke, I chose to follow Komoot's suggestion and follow the German cycle route D2 until rejoining the EV7 at Radweg am Vosskanal. The D2 cycle way was mostly paved and well maintained as I remember it. A little father north I past what was what was once Europe's largest brick making facility. Somewhere around here I temporally diverged off the EV7 again, and discover path has multiple meaning as I crossed a catwalk supporting a larger pipe over a small river which lead to a single track alone the top of a berm of some sort. I rather enjoyed biking across unexpected terrain, and was thankful I had 38mm gravel tires. I rejoined the EV7 a short time later.
It was getting later in the afternoon, and I still hadn't found accommodations yet, so I chose the first place that I could find that advertised they had bike storage and diverted off of EV7 at Neu Canow and headed toward the Landhotel am Peetscher See near Mirrow. The hilly route followed cycle ways and lightly travel roads through the woods and meadows.
Arriving at the hotel just before the front desked closed, I was greeted by a member of the hotel staff whom showed me my room and the bike storage, and informed me that breakfast was at 7:00am. Despite neither of us speaking the other's language we communicated wonderfully. The room was roomy, had a small desk, and a well-designed carpet with a wood grain pattern. I often had to take a second look as I felt its softness on my feet thinking it was real wood. The grounds were spaces and offered stunning views of the landscape. I got a little creative stowing the bike for the night.
As it was near closing and the kitchen was closed when I arrived, I figured lunch was again going to be my last meal of the day, but to my delight the hotel was directly across the street from a small bowling pub that offered draft bier and pizza. This is the grandest of places. I have a pending date night with my life partner if she and I ever make to this area together. I enjoyed a Lübzer Schwarzbier while I waited for my pie.
Day 9: Lithuanian Kitchen
48.85 miles - 830 ft - 3:54:06 Moving Time - 5:31:04 Elapsed Time
Breakfast was filling and plentiful with the traditional fare. As I was now a bit off the EV7 I would be following German Cycle routes for the day as I headed towards Krokow am see.
I made my way into the small town of Bleddin where I enjoyed a lunch at a small Indian restaurant. The staff here was extremely friendly, offered to refill my water bottles when they saw I had used the last bottles I had purchased to refill them.
Yep, again I hadn't made any accommodations for the night, so when I arrive in Krokown am see I found the first accommodation I came across that had a secure place for the my bike. It was the right choice. Wasn't crowed, staff was fantastic and friendly. The hotel kitchen offered homemade Lithuanian dishes including Beet soup and Pierogi in a white sauce with leeks that I enjoyed with a Lübzer Pils.
After dinner. I took a small walk to the sea.
I'm happy, I ate well today
Day 10: A home by the sea
59.25 miles - 1,467 ft - 4:52:48 Moving Time - 8:17:51 Elapsed Time
After a nice breakfast of meats, cheese, and fresh pastries, I headed out. I had approximately a 45 mile ride to catch the afternoon ferry to Denmark out of Rostock and I had to use every minute once I started riding to do so. The route followed German cycling trails and was a bit hilly as it winded it way through the forest and over logging trails, hence was taking me a bit longer to reach the sea than I had planned for.
The ferry to Denmark is located about 5km beyond the edge of the city of Rostock beach area where there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and meeting places. I reached the ferry station with only minutes to spare and was able to join the other cyclist where we were directed to stow our bikes near the front of the ship on the lower deck. It was cool riding into the empty hull of the large ship.
I secured my bike to the rail and grabbed my bags to find something to eat and drink. The ferry had a large upper deck with multiple choices. As a matter of economy due to the volumes of liquid I knew I was going to consume I choice to enjoy the buffet where I engulfed multiple glass of juice, coke, lager, and coffee. The buffet provided plenty of fresh fruit, more pastries, fish, potatoes, beef, and a number of other hot items.
Once I arrived in Denmark I took a more direct route to Copenhagen instead of following the EV7 along the coast. I was glad I had made accommodation within 20 miles of the ferry landing. I notice a considerable difference in the wind, with side burst of 14-16 mphs. The host had responded quickly when I inquired about a secure place for my bike which helped with logistics earlier in the day.
My accommodations were just a few miles off the trail, and also within walking distance to the local beach if I had wanted to head there for dinner. Instead, I picked up a few snacks for the evening at small store as I exited the trail and then headed into a residential area to find my stay for the night.
My accommodations for the evening were outstanding. The smile on my host when she answered the door made me feel as I was at home. The bathroom was large and featured a whirlpool tub. The host had numerous treats, drinks, and bath luxury to purchase via the honor system and everything was well labeled with the associated cost. I enjoyed a local Falsters Lyng Bock from the Falster Destilleri & Bryghus as I soaked in the tub. Nuts and other snacks with the night's dinner.
Day 11: Oh that wind
Denmark > Hasley, Dk 52.36 mi 1,693 ft 4:49:33 Moving Time 7:31:14 Elapsed Time
For breakfast I was on my own, but had a number of snacks that would hold me over until I found something of more substance. I was still feeling great.
I'm getting excited now, less than 100 miles to Copenhagen. I followed the EV7 part of the way north through more fields of rapeseed and along the Danish forge. I stopped for a lunch of fish and chips along the coast and though It was 60 degrees in the sun, the wind from the sea chilled me.
I had made accommodations for the evening at the Dalby Hotel in Haslev as they advertised a secure exterior bike shed to store the bike, so that made it simple. After lunch I leisurely rode north taking in sites of the Danish coast, rapeseed fields, and small villages.
Check-in at the hotel was easy. Though no coffee pot in the room, they offered free coffee, tea, and hot cocoa in a small lobby by the rooms. They also had a shared refrigerator for guest to use with a simple system of label it with your room number using the yellow post found on top of the refrigerator or lose it. I love the simplicity and straightforwardness of the system.
For dinner, I had mushroom soup, the chef's burger, and a Sort from the nearby Næstved Bryghus.
37.49 mi 351 ft 3:03:07 Moving Time 3:32:22 Elapsed Time
After Breakfast, I followed local cycle ways north along the Danish's Baltic Seacoast and Baltic Sea coast line and into the city of Copenhagen. As I entered Copenhagen, I was greeted by the sounds of cheering and a band, which I soon discovered where there cheering on participates of the Copenhagen Spartan race. As the band played, I also felt the jubilation of nearing the end of my ride and was looking forward to spending a week in Copenhagen, relaxing with family, and getting a chance to complete that beer list.
The trip was perfect. There were a few hiccups, but that what makes a trip worth remembering. The food was outstanding. Wish I would have ate a bit more. Not because I was that hungry, I just like to eat good food and drink good beer, and I probably missed a few changes to do such. I set out to simply ride my bike, find new beer, and take in as many sites along the way as I could. I probably missed a few things along the way, or chances to relax a bit more, but it was always about spending days on end riding my bike and exploring the unknown. I absolutely love the freedom of a bike ride. I am ready to do it again!
Total Trip 680 miles over 12 days. 60 plus hours on the bike. Approx. 1600 feet of climbing and
Bike & Gear: Plizen to Copenhagen - Bike, bags, mounts, rack, cloths, supplies and everything else I was able to fit onto my bike that actually is a bit more than allowed under Airline's carry on limits.
Plizen to Copenhagen Tour New Beer Tasting List - Over 50 different new beers from the original Pilsner to a Swedish brewery with a wide beer menu that serves up some of the best BBQ east of the Mississippi.