In search of the best roads to cycle on. A woody loop around the Hrubý Jeseník mountains in Czech Republic with a quick visit to the ‘The Grandfather’ aka Praděd.
Starting in Zlaté Hory taking the 445 South, climbing begins immediately after you leave the town. Keep to this road until you reach Karlova Studánka where you have the option to continue the loop using the 450 North or take a detour to Praděd.
At 1,491 meters, Praděd or ‘The Grandfather’ is the fifth biggest mountain in Czech Republic. The presence of a television transmission tower on the peak gives Praděd a resemblance to a certain legendary mountain in Provence, leading it to be described by some as the ‘Czech Ventoux’. The Grandfather offers a 10km climb at an average of 7% and while the majority of the climb is on a closed road, at peak times the top section may mean playing a game of ‘dodge the tourist’. As with Ventoux, riding early in the morning to avoid the crowds, is advisable.
Return on the same road you came, but head straight past Karlova Studánka continuing on the 450 heading North. A small climb awaits before reaching Vidly, but take care on the descent as the road surface is a little sketchy.
Another small climb after Vidly and then the views start to open out from the forests that have gone before. A nice descent lasting around 15km keeps the pace up before finishing in Jesenik, where you turn onto the 453. Here, a final climb must be overcome before enjoying the best descent of the day taking in great road surfaces and smooth bends to then wheel back to Zlaté Hory.