Motocycle Routes in the ČR

Interesting routes near Prague, and a look at the new Ducati

Stephen Edwards

Written by Stephen Edwards Published on 30.05.2011 13:54:28 (updated on 30.05.2011) Reading time: 7 minutes

There are many reasons why those of us who ride motorcycles take great pleasure in the hobby, and surely there are few better things than to take a great ride on a special piece of road. It can, however, be quite a challenge to find good routes, especially when you are new to a location. Destinations are less of a problem as there is no shortage of information regarding interesting places, no matter what takes your fancy. So while you may decide to ride to a special place, it is so much better to find a nice road to take you there.

There are no guarantees, in my opinion, as to finding this, and whilst GPS units have fastest and shortest options, they are generally far from being the most interesting. I have a couple of things I look for on the map when planning a route to a new location where I want the journey to be as enjoyable as possible. In short, water and hills are the clues. Rivers, by nature, meander their way from point A to point B, and throughout history man has used them as a guide for ease of mobility. Pretty obvious when you think about it, as they tend to be comparatively flat over a large proportion of their length. As a development of this, there are very often some nice roads that will follow the course of a piece of water, often mimicking the water’s twists and curves. This is not full proof, of course, as very often, especially close to large towns, newer roads are built to be as straight as possible, but this can be a good source of interesting tarmac. Similarly, hills are often a good source as the roads over them tend to twist and turn in a ribbon of pavement.

On the very doorstep of Prague we are blessed with a few suitable areas that fall nicely into this category, and one of my particular favourites is around the Berounka River. There are easily enough interesting places in the region to fill a full weekend of relaxed riding and prolonged visits or alternatively just some excellent roads if you have a couple of hours spare for a quick spin.

Heading out of the city through Smíchov, follow the road sign posted Zbraslav and Strakonice. It doesn’t take too long to get out of the centre and past the horse racing track, close to Velká Chuchle on the right. It is soon after this that road 101 exits to the right, sign posted Karlštejn. There are still a few kilometers of slightly built-up and industrial area to endure, and make sure you follow the signposts for Karlštejn in Radotin, which then puts you on to Road 115, and before long you arrive in Černošice. It is from here on that things start to get more interesting. I am not going to specify routes, as part of the fun is exploring and finding out for yourself. My only recommendation, if you follow the path this far, is to go on to Karlštejn as a first port of call, which is signposted clearly. The road is narrow with twists, turns, rises, and dips as it makes it way. At times, it is close to the river and at others it will climb a hill leaving the waterside. In the heat of the summer, respite from the sun can be found in the shaded parts as you ride along tree lined straights. The whole area from this point is crisscrossed with nice roads, and there are not too many of them that will be disappointing.

A couple of words of warning, however: if you are the type of rider who likes to up the pace a bit, be wary and don’t get sucked in by the inviting curves that you may want to take as fast as you can. There are in many places large patches of gravel or small stones on the road, which are deposited, I think, by rain water draining off the hillside. These inevitably seem to occur on corners and can catch you by surprise. As with all small roads in this country, the surface can leave a little to be desired, so again keep a watchful eye out.

Other destinations that may be if interest in the part of the world is the town of Beroun itself and then on to Křivoklát, Roztoky and beyond.

So enough of the travel guide, now onto something to do with an actual machine. There a few big motorcycle shows across the world each year, with the EICMA event in Milan being one of the prime events held in Europe. It was at last October’s show that Ducati launched one of their boldest and possibly bravest models on to the general public. The Bologna-based company is famed the world over for its cutting-edge performance sports machines, with the race track being the natural home for many of the company’s products that combine performance with design flair that really only the Italians can do.

So it was quite a departure for the firm to launch not only a new model but also a new genre of machine, in the shape of the Diavel. Spy shots had been leaked in the press in the weeks and months running up to the launch and I admit, as a long-standing Ducati fan, I was not initially impressed. This was a machine that looked like it would be more comfortable on the Autobahn than an Alpine pass, with it’s long wheel base, huge back tire, laid-back riding position and power cruiser looks. Ducati know that the sports bike market is in decline and for commercial longevity they need to continue the development of bikes that offered something different. The previous year they had released, to great success, the excellent Multistrada, which is a bike that offers touring ability combined with sharp handling and breath taking power. The Diavel however could be a step too far for the traditional fans of the marque and if ever a model split opinion then this was it.

As it turned out, they need not have worried on many fronts as, in spite of its appearance, the bike handles with an agility that completely belies what the eyes tell you it should be like. The 1200cc engine delivers 162hp with great handfuls of torque that can rocket you out of a tight bend like a scalded cat. A quick flick of a switch to change the engine map into urban mode quiets things down to a gentle delivery of reduced power to 100hp that gently moves thing along. The machine bristles with technology including ABS, traction control, keyless ignition, the previously mentioned riding modes (Sport, Touring, and Urban), dual digital displays, ride by wire, and more. In spite of its large physical appearance, the machine weighs in at only 207kg, combined with its low seat height and long wheel base makes the bike a joy to ride and easy to handle.

In Milan, I stood and looked at the bike in the flesh for the first time, and while it looked better than the photos, it was still not wowing me from the start. I was on that stand, however, for quite a long time over the two press/trade days, and by the time I left I was won over, at least as far as appearance and on-paper specification was concerned. The first journalist reviews arrived in February and I cannot remember a single machine being so widely praised by all who had ridden it. It was evident that Ducati’s gambol had paid off, at least as far as the world’s press was concerned; now it was up to see how the paying public would react. In this, too, the factory had backed a winner, as order books filled up very rapidly, and if you want one now, then expect a wait. Personally, I got in early, taking the plunge right at the beginning and all I can say is that having got the bike, I am very pleased that I did.

Ride safe, everyone.



Stephen Edwards is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast with a passion
for all things two-wheeled. Together with his wife, Eva, he owns
Sensormet s.r.o. (, a Prague-based company specializing
in the import and sale of high-quality motorcycle and rider accessories
to the Czech market. In addition, Stephen is the English-language
editor at , as well as having contributed to the Prague
Post and Biker News on motorcycle-related issues. Originally from
Scotland, Stephen settled in the Czech Republic in 2003, lives close to
Prague, and when not spending time with his family is to be found out
riding or hidden in the depths of a workshop working on a motorcycle.

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