Start: Dresden, Germany
End: Děčín, Czech Republic
Elevation Gain: 1278ft
Elevation Loss: 931ft
Reading Material: The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
Audio Material: None needed, landscape sufficient
Majestic day. Now I realize why bicycle tourists prefer actual bicycle routes. Over the next four days, the Elbe river won’t leave my sight as I traverse the Elbe Radweg (Germany side)/ R2 Cycle Route (Czech side) all the way from Dresden to Prague.
So far the path is a middle-aged cyclists dream (paved, rolling, perfectly signed, hugging the river bank and passing all types of accommodations/beer gardens every few kms). I began the previous sentence sarcastically invoking middle-age, but it’s quite possible I’m already there.
A few small tweaks made while stopped in Dresden have dialed-in the comfort on the bike. These include: rotating up the hoods on the handlebars, tilting the nose of the saddle up slightly to counteract the slippery-ness of a new Brooks and a pair of black leather short-gloves from the Bike Center to replace my torn pair. Several times during the day I inhaled new leather scent and thought of Buzz Bissinger.
The Elbe appears to be about 150m wide and fast-flowing (opposite direction to my travel). Too cold for a dip (50F with layered clouds of purple and grey) but I had the chance to cross twice via diesel ferries (2EUR/trip). Sandstone cliffs cut by the river tower above. Cyclists of all ages abound–a few appear to be on short tours with small panniers but most are out for day rides (I’d do the same if I lived here). And, once I crossed into the Czech Republic the rollerbladers started to appear (no outdoor ice this time of year for the hockey loving Czechs). And, yes, Jagr mullets, fannypacks and day-glo windbreakers are still in style. Oh post-communism states, how I love you.