The word electric in electric bike had me thinking that an electric bike had a motor so that peddling wouldn’t be necessary. The motor would do all the work. I was semi-wrong.
During my week of adventuring in the Czech Republic I had come to the realization that this was too good to be true. Why, in a week of rappelling, wakeboarding and mountain biking would I suddenly be given the luxury of a motorized bike that pushes me around and does all the work for me, without my assistance in peddling?
While an electric bike, aka e-bike does indeed contain a motor, it does not spare you the difficulties of peddling, but solely assists you in what could otherwise be a painful journey. Going uphill on a bike seemed like it would be painful. Especially when I realized that there was no actual motor on the bike, like a scooter. It was more of a motor that pulled you forward as you peddled. I’m not science-y, just accept that this bike had a mind of its own. After a quick lesson on how to make the e-bike go, we went uphill, the e-bikes lurching us forward as we got used to letting the bikes take control.
We were exploring the Krkonose Mountains. They are the highest mountains in the Czech Republic where winter sports lovers can enjoy skiing and snowboarding down the mountain after being taken up by cable car or lift. During the summer, visitors can enjoy fun activities like riding a scooter, riding e-bikes, chasing waterfalls, or even hiking up the mountain. In my week full of adventure, do you think we stopped to daintily view waterfalls? I didn’t even know the mountain had waterfalls until after our trip.
The Krkonose Mountains was declared a national park in 1963 and a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1992-- but your eyes probably glossed over when reading that.
What you should know is that the mountains are covered with a blanket of greenery (when it’s not winter). That, when at the top, you can see layers of the different mountains in the distance, as well as the fields of grass that crawl up the sides. Small cabins interrupt the green surface of the mountains that make you realize this isn’t just nature, this is someone’s home. It was quiet and it was peaceful.
Here’s an interesting fact told to me by my guide: On the mountain lives a man who has lived there for years, and yes, he could take the lift provided for ski lovers to his home, but he prefers walking up the mountain without assistance. I would have liked to meet that man. I used to hate walking up the one flight of stairs to my apartment and this man climbs mountains to get home. I wonder if he’s fit. I wonder how old he is…
At the top of one of the mountains resides another house, which is where we rode our electric bikes. It’s a small cottage that thrives off of their dairy cows. They make their own cheese, their own yogurt and of course retrieve their own fresh milk straight from the cows. The people who live in the cottage served us their fresh cheese, pastries and yogurt that they made.
The cottage itself has small windows, causing the residents to rely on other sources of light during the daytime. The windows remain small in order to control the inside temperature because air conditioning isn’t a thing at the top of a mountain.
After our lovely lunch, we said hi to the cows and hopped back on our electric bikes, but this time we would go downhill-- much easier.
We rode down the mountains, through the trees spread out enough to give each other enough space for the sunrays to push toward us. Occasionally, I stopped to take in the view, to enjoy every shade of green that surrounded me. Then, I sped down the hill, the fresh air blowing my helmet back.
After reaching the bottom, it felt good. I never knew that I would enjoy riding an e-bike. The power it gives you to go uphill is addictive, so much so that I got a little gear-happy and ended up breaking the chain. Don’t show off when riding your e-bike.
It wasn’t just riding an e-bike though, it was exploring the Krkonose mountains not as a photographer there to only enjoy the view, take some pictures and leave, but to really feel the air produced by the trees that sit on the mountains blow in my ears as I challenged myself to reach speeds that I was scared to reach. Up and down the mountain I went, and in the end, I was proud that I had taken on a new activity.
You Can Do It, Too!
E-Bike Rental: Ski Resort Černa Horá. Visit website here.
Getting there: Unfortunately, there is no train that goes directly to Černa Horá, but from Prague, you can stop at Skalice nad Svitavou and from there take a taxi to Černa Horá. See here for more up-to-date details.
Price: A full day of riding an e-bike plus lift ticket is 950 Kč (about 43 USD). Check for more prices here.