I had reason to be in Kosice, Slovakia (second largest city in the country but just 240,000 residents) for business so I thought I would share my trip – from a biking perspective.
I really wanted to ride while I was there but coldn’t find a road bike to borrow/rent so I ended up borrowing a mountain bike and riding with a colleague. The trip was from the city center to a ski resort on a mountain named Jahodna (Strawberry hill or some such thing) and back. Total trip of 28+ miles with 2200 feet of elevation gain and some very beautiful scenery along the way (I’ll spare you the terrible cell phone pics that we took).
The trip up the route was tiring but the trip down was a bit scary. The rocky and very narrow single track with a steep drop off to the left is no place to take your first mountain bike ride…but I returned with me and the bike in one piece.
A few other items:
– There were 4 bike shops within a 5 minute walk of my hotel. Not all of them had an English speaking employee…picture me doing a charades version of “Rent a Bike”.
– There appears to be a strong bike culture with amateur racing and MTB marathons in the summer. My riding partner rides these events and could have dropped me at any moment but was far too polite to abandom me in the woods.
– The bike path was a painted green line (in some sections) that meandered along the street, sidewalk and even alleys.
– Mountain biking seems to be the most popular form of riding, followed by commuting/touring, and then road biking.
I had a great time and I’m hoping to do more riding on future trips to the area.
Quite a few riders around the city but I think mostly students and not commuters.
Oddly I would see a commuter or two each way on my trip to/from the office. What made it noteworthy is that the speed limit would go up and down between 60 KPH and 130 KPH (36-ish MPH and 80 MPH). There was a shoulder that allowed them to ride to the right of the white line but it wasn’t something I would have done.
That is very cool. I’ve read about how southern Poland is just mountain bike madness. Also the recent post about the enormous Crit Mass in Budapest (I think). Those eastern Europeans are bike nuts. Though if you had to live with Tatra automobiles for several decades, that would be understandable.