The Czech Republic, or Czechia in short, might be best known for smooth Pilsner and the literary works of Franz Kafka, but the Bohemian nation has recently been scribbled with trails for its 10.6 million citizens and countless tourists to enjoy. Variety is clearly the name of the trail game throughout the country, and there is something for nearly every rider to enjoy.
Bike-specific trail building in the Czech Republic began just ten years ago. As in most countries, folks were riding hiking trails and following wildlife tracks prior to those first dedicated shovel scoops.
Now there are trail centers in each of the country’s 13 unique regions, and plentiful natural trails scattered throughout. Czechs have a Right to Roam land use policy, similar to that of Scotland, that allows everyone to go where they please in the forest, provided they respect flora and fauna. This right covers both public and private land, which can make trail building and land-access discussions somewhat easier to settle. With hundreds of Czech citizens getting into mountain biking, and state-funded trail organizations eager to build, mountain biking in the country is sure to blossom.
In 2014 my partner and I competed in a 5 day XC stage race that took place on the border between the Czech Republic and Poland, and since then the trails have spread across the land. I recently returned for a tour of four trail centers, guided by the knowledgable staff at Czech MTB Holidays. Check out the full report below.
The flow-focused berms of Singletrail Moravský kras are similar to those we ripped in Denmark earlier this season. The gravel-packed tread is nearly as smooth as pavement, giving the tracks a skate-park-like grip and feel. Unlike the Denmark flow, the Czech trails have some legitimate elevation gain and loss to spice things up.
The 30+ kilometers of beech-lined tracks that make up the trail center are situated just 30 kilometers outside the city of Brno, making them a popular after work and weekend destination for locals. Singletrack in the area is rated from green to black, though those ratings are largely for families to determine the best route for their children. Intermediate and advanced riders would likely rate the trails in a green to light-blue range, and almost anyone can enjoy them with enough speed.
In addition to flow, the region hosts several campsites, cave tours, lakes, and Baroque cultural sites. Check out the Singletrail Moravský kras website for bike rental and trail details.
The blueberry-crammed trails in the Jenseníky mountains were part of the race I competed in several years ago, and they haven’t changed a bit. Natural hiking tracks wind between knee-high fruit plants, kilometer after kilometer, along the country’s border with Poland. The tread is properly rooty, thanks to a large population of spruce trees, peppered with small rock gardens to keep riders focused.
The area consists of midsized mountains and rolling valleys in all directions. It’s a quiet and cozy place to spend a few days riding, given its low population density and lack of industry. Our ride leader, Jan Marcaník, explained that after World War II the predominantly German population along the border was evicted, and some of the homes were slowly repopulated by Czech citizens. The population of the area remains low today, and the Czech tourism board is eager to promote the stellar trails and wild nature therein.
Mountain biking season in the Jenseníky mountains ends in late October, making way for what Jan says is some of the best XC skiing in the country. Regardless of what sport brings you to the region, make sure to try the blueberry dumplings. They’re equally delicious and satiating.
Rychlebské Stezky trail center truly has it all, from flow trails to “oh, hell no,” trails. The drone footage above depicts a small piece of flow track at the bottom of the larger trail center, though most of the upper trails are far more challenging than this open segment. There was even a chunk of track that only one of the guides could ride, and the rest of us struggled to walk.
There are six ski resorts around the Czech Republic that become bike parks once the snow dries up. For the final day of our tour, we were happily treated with a break from pedaling in Bike park Kopřivná. The slopes include a few proper downhill tracks, some enduro-style natural runs, a flow track or two, a family trail, a skills center, and Canyon bike rentals.
The hotel at the foot of the trails has some delicious post-ride grub and hot tubs to relax in after a good shred.
We hit a small smattering of the vast dot-to-dot that Czech trail centers create on this trip, and I could have spent at least a couple of days at each location. There is handily enough good riding in the country for a few weeks of vacation, and ample variety to make the trip a boatload of fun. If you are looking for a stellar adventure, and dirt-cheep beer, check out the Czech Republic!