Not even five minutes have passed by and all our bicycles are mounted on the roof. Besides bikes, we won’t need much else: helmets, cycling gear, a change of clothes, food and a tent in which we will spend the night. To reach the hills, we need a larger car but not entirely large; all-terrain but not entirely off-road. Thus, the obvious choice fell on the ŠKODA KAROQ.
Ultimately, four people mean a solid pile of luggage after all but the boot of the ŠKODA KAROQ SPORTLINE can accommodate it effortlessly. After the workweek, we are all looking forward to riding in the hills, places full of trails, and, above all, a few days of freedom and unwinding.
It’s a nice and sunny Friday afternoon and none of us can help the excitement about the adventure ahead of us. We make these little trips of ours regularly. They give us a chance to reconnect, breathe freely for a while, and immerse in the irreplaceable mountain ride sensation. No work, no worries, just the four of us surrounded by nature.
Anna, who will be driving, is setting our destination on the large dashboard display. A one-hour drive from Prague and we’ll reach a hilly area in Czechia I have always loved coming back to. I’m not alone – Sofie and David are passionate cyclists themselves and just like me, they cannot wait for the trails of the highlands we picked this weekend. Anna, on the other hand, is more of a car enthusiast and she finds ŠKODA KAROQ to be the perfect partner to safely deliver us to a weekend of pure joy.
The landscape passes by behind the windows and, now and then, we check the bikes fastened to the roof rack. We have a great view of them during the entire ride granted by the magnificent glass-topped roof.
We exit the highway onto a common road with many turns and Anna is visibly excited about turning the sporty wheel. Up until this moment, we would manage with just a regular car but the asphalt road is ending and the last six kilometres on dirt roads await us. At first, it is just gravel but even that gradually makes way for large flat stones with tufts of wet grass growing through, covering deep cracks. The sizeable tyres of the KAROQ roll easily over those.
Finally, Anna stops the car. We’re here!
Step number one: setting up a camp. We find the best spot to pitch a tent. David is looking for a nice, flat spot: after all the riding we have planned, good sleep is a must. Me and David lay down on the ground a try out a few test rollovers. All good! Our fort is built, basecamp ready. It’s time for a bonfire!
The evening plays out in the name of catching up. We all live in the same city but daily life makes finding a date to meet a bit harder than when we were kids at the same school. On the other hand, sharing all the news in bulk has its magic. We go to sleep around midnight.
A fantastic smell of freshly brewed coffee lures me out of sleep. Sofie is the first to be awake and, as she notes, ‘you won’t make me go anywhere until I’ve had my two cups of coffee’. Luckily, we brought a big moka that satisfies the coffee needs of all four of us. Oatmeal, nuts, honey, and some fruits should fuel us sufficiently.
While we’re changing into cycling clothes and gathering some supplies and tools, Anna puts on walking shoes and packs her own backpack. As I mentioned, Anna’s not such a cycling aficionado but she does enjoy a good hike. I cannot help but tease her about her pilgrim plans. The only answer I get is Anna’s back and a short wave goodbye.
The rest of us hop on our bikes. The area is no place for a roadie and our pant through a couple of kilometres is solid proof. This part of the trail is pretty steep but the knowledge of a reward ahead keeps us pedalling. The first stop of our day is at an outlook tower overlooking the hills. I volunteer to watch the bikes – I’ve climbed the tower many times before. Also, I need a few minutes to catch my breath but I don’t mention that.
The focus of the second stage will mostly be on balance. A few jumps and rocks in our way: something we all revel in. We designed the route in a reward-system manner and it leads us to a meeting point previously agreed upon with Anna who took a shorter hiking trail. The group fuels for the next adventure, waves at Anna who disappears in the woods and we head to the next stage of our trip: a trail that will get the best of us.
The narrow parts of the trail open up a bit and falsely soothe us just to make us climb a steep ascent. But the stunning scenic views are definitely worth it. There’s not much talk at the moment – we’ll have plenty of time to chat in the car. In about one hour, the sight of ŠKODA KAROQ and smiley Anna leaning against the car lets us know our trip is over. I ask about her hike.
‘Splendid. I could use some time without your endless chatter’, Anna remarks jokingly.
It’s time to pack our bivouac. We check the area thoroughly: all of us value nature and despise littering. Me, Sofie and David embark on a last quick ride through the woods before Anna picks us up, we mount the bikes and set “Home” as our final GPS destination.
On our way back home, all of us charge our smartphones to let our families know we’re fine. There are four USB ports so we don’t bicker and queue up for the charger – there is enough juice for everyone.
We’re all a bit tired and so the predictive Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) of KAROQ comes in handy. It sounds awfully technical but proves to be useful, as the system can read the navigation data and adjust our speed whenever we come close to a sharp turn, a roundabout or a speed limit. The feeling of safety is strengthened by knowing the KAROQ is in a permanent connection with the outside world. In case of a malfunction, the vehicle itself would contact a repair service – and emergency services should you have an accident.
Back in Prague, we all agree this trip was something we desperately needed. See you soon!