Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Beware - I Am BikeBot!

I've mutated. I am no longer human. And it's appropriate that in the country whose language gave us the word 'robot', I've morphed into BikeBot. After all the jibes about saddle-induced boils and painful undercarriages, I am no longer comfortable unless I am on my bike. When perched on its slowly disintegrating saddle, I am complete. I'm not particularly quick, but the legs pump and I glide across the face of Europe. But when I'm off the bike, things are not so good. I move around with the grace of Albert Steptoe.

I'm slowly falling apart. The latest problem is a dodgy left knee, which was agony walking around Brno yesterday. But ask it to cycle several tens of kilometres this morning and it's perfectly fine. I'm not sure how that works. Presumably it's the cycling that has caused the damage, and so why doesn't it hurt when riding? It is because I am BikeBot, homo cyclis.

I was also warned of the backache that would ensue by using a rucksack instead of front panniers. But I only get backache when I take the bugger off. Walking around a city or village without it, a pain shoots from my lower back down my right leg and then everything goes numb and I can't really move. I'm sure it's something muscle-related but maybe each evening I'm having a stroke.

So two legs bad, two wheels good. If I'm at an hotel, it's now getting to the point when, rather than walking, it would be more comfortable to cycle up the stairs. And there have been a lot of hotels in the Czech Republic. If I'm being honest, rather than the image you might have of me lying inside my pokey, little tent in a waterlogged campsite, I've lived like a king in this country. My hotel tonight costs €12. It's difficult to motivate myself to sleep in a field for a couple of euros less. And despite the kilometres, I'm pretty sure I've put weight on here too. It's the food. Ah, who am I kidding? No, it's not; it's the beer. When beer is only one euro a pint, it doesn't have much impact on the daily budget and so it tends not to get reckoned at all. And then suddenly I find I've had thirty-six pints and there's no money left for anything else. Except dumplings. Mmm, dumplings.

So my advice to you if money is tighter than normal this holiday season is to come to the Czech Republic. It's got some gorgeous, little villages (and, it has to be said, some god awful ones too), the most beautiful capital in Europe (so far) and it's cheap. The only problem is that, outside of Prague, you might struggle unless you speak some German. But learning a new language is a small price to pay for such a wonderful holiday. And when you're here, and you see me creased up in the corner of a town writhing around in agony, you can carefully put me back on my saddle and I will be happily on my way again.

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