Saturday, May 14, 2011
Renting Bikes In Prague
City Bike, in Prague's Old Town, near the famous Hotel Paříž.
(This post was originally published in April 2008. I have just updated the price list and various other references to reflect the latest info. -- Grant)
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive here at the Home Office in Černý Vůl is about renting bikes in Prague. Where to do it, how much it costs, that kind of thing.
You'd think I'd have written about this topic sooner, but I guess I was just too busy riding my own bike. I have actually rented bikes in Prague, when friends or family have come to visit, so I have had some experience.
In the past few weeks, I've visited Prague's two main bike-rental shops in the city center. Here's what I found. I'll add others if I find any.
As far as currency conversion goes, figure around 16.5 Czech koruny to the U.S. dollar, or about 24 koruny to one euro.
I've rented from these guys at least once, and from what I remember had a perfectly pleasant experience.
City Bike is conveniently located in the Old Town, on Králodvorská street 5, very close to Náměstí Republiky (Republic Square).
What are their prices like? Check it out:
First two hours: 300 CZK (TrekK bike: 400 CZK)
Every hour after: 50 CZK (Trek bike 150 CZK)
Maximum all-day price: 500 CZK (Trek bike 600 CZK)
24-hour rental: 650 CZK (Trek bike 750 CZK)
No cash deposit required; you just need to leave some ID. English is spoken.
I was told they also do longer-term rentals, by special arrangement with the boss, I guess.
They offer a two-hour guided tour of the Old Town for 550 CZK. From what I gather, that tour involves a bit of beer drinking and is taken on funny-looking, yellow "cruiser" bikes, which have no gears, pedal brakes and big, soft saddles. This tour only includes Old Town, as you'd need some gearing to make it up to the "castle" area and St. Vitus Cathedral.
There's a separate Prague Castle Ride, for the same price, that lasts 2.5 hours and is taken on the geared bikes.
With each rental you get a helmet, lock, city map, a free bottled soft drink and a 20 CZK discount coupon for the Communist Museum.
They offer Shark and Mongoose mountain bikes for men and women with front suspension and another under the seat and cruiser bikes. They also rent kids bikes and baby seats.
The Trek bikes, for more serious cyclists, require that you leave a credit-card imprint as a deposit. They also offer a tandem bike for rent for 600 CZK for two hours or 900 CZK for all day.
The Shark full-suspension mountain bikes available at City Bike.
They say they were the first bike-rental company in Prague, opening in 2001. It seems hard for me to believe you couldn't rent a bike in Prague before 2001, but what do I know?
They used to offer, for more serious cyclists, an all-day tour to Karlštejn Castle, and a 32-kilometer Grand Bicycle Tour of Prague, but I don't see either of those on their website anymore.
Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Praha Bike, very close to Old Town Square.
I've also rented from these guys before, and also had a great experience. They have an ideal location at 24 Dlouha Street, just a few steps from Old Town Square.
The bikes they rent are made for them -- 21-speed mountain hybrid bikes from component parts, so it's not like you're renting a GT or a Specialized or something.
The bikes are sturdy, ideal for Prague cobblestones and local trails, with front suspensions. They also rent out bike seats (70 CZK per day) and trailers (250 CZK per day) for kids, as well as tandem bikes and kids bikes. They also have long-term rentals, insurance, and even bike delivery, for a fee.
Here's a breakdown of some of their prices. Prices include a helmet, lock, and a basic cycling map and recommendations of where to ride. English is spoken.
Four-hour rental: 360 CZK
1-day rental: 590 CZK
2-day rental: 1,100 CZK
3-day rental: 1,530 CZK
4-day rental: 1,890 CZK
6-day rental: 2,400 CZK
7-10 day rental: 380 CZK per day
Deposit: 1,500 CZK for one-day rentals, 3,000 CZK for multiday rentals.
Payment: Cash only for rentals, credit card imprint for deposit.
Praha Bike also organizes guided tours of the city, as well as a guided trip to Karlštejn Castle (1,290 CZK per person), with a train journey on the return.
My gut feeling is that Praha Bike is a little more serious about their cycling.
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
WHERE TO RIDE IN PRAGUE
As for nice rides that begin in the city center, from both of these cycle shops it's easy enough to make your way to Letensky sady, a lovely park with many cycling paths that overlooks the city. And from there, it's an easy ride over to Stromovka Park, an old royal park that also boasts lots of car-free cycling lanes.
Here's a ride that Daisy and I recently did that's pretty perfect for those riders starting out in the city. Just head to Stromovka park, cross over the river to the Prague Zoo, and then connect with the bike path that I mention.
Just be careful -- Czech drivers are notoriously bad, and don't respect the rights of cyclists. If you're new to Prague and can cycle where there are no cars, do it. Letna and Stromovka are perfect for that.