Radhošť is one of the summits of Kněhyně, a famous mountain of the Czech Carpathians, more precisely the region we call Moravian Beskids (new area page, check it out).
This particular top is a very popular mountain-biking destination amongst locals, for at least two reasons: the suiteable path that makes it just difficult enough (or "easy enough", it depends), and the many cultural objects on the way that makes this itinerary so special.
While the lower part of the mountain can be cycled up on an asphalted road, the upper part goes along the ridge in a magnificent landscape of mountain pastures, pines, and open views to many panoramas of interest. The whole descent can be made entierely on singletracks.
At the mountain pass reaching 1020m, the cycler cannot miss the Pustevny huts. This is an architectural masterpiece of carpentry and painting, designed and buit by the 19th century architect Dušan Jurkovič, mixing Art Nouveau with traditional wooden architecture of the Carpathians. The result is more than surprising, and the place worth making a break in one of the few terraces there, for a lunch or just for a "pivo" (lager).
Further up on Radhošť, we pass a strange statue of what looks like half a monster half a sort of human. This is Radegast, the local pagan divinity, from where the mountain name derivates, as well as an equally famous local beer brand... To try in the place mentioned just before, or in "Horský hotel Radegast", the mountain hut that stands a little further, just below the top.
Finally, on the top stands the last amazing object: a wooden chapel from 1898, in front of a statue of Saints Cyril and Methodius. The chapel, entierely of wood, is another remarquable piece of carpentry. It was built more than a century ago by Czech emigrants. Its presence is due to the fact the top used to be a ceremony place for pagan cults celebrating joy, in the middle age (both the etymologies of Radhošť and Radegast refer to happy events).
How cannot it be a happy ride ? :)
From Trojanvice, we head in the upper side of the town, passing holiday residences, until we reach the foot of the mountain on a large car park. On unusual days, one will perhaps manage to find a place there; but it is recommended to start cycling kind of earlier just to warm up, as we just hit the slope here !
In this spot, the asphalted road becomes closed to cars and elevates on the right, following green signs. These signs are left apart as the road makes a lace, climbing the mountain from now in the opposite direction. It will keep elevating on this hillside until the Pustevny pass, passing a couple of corries in which streams are flowing down, as well as the foot of a ski lift.
We reach the Pustevny pass where we first notice the souvenir stands. Behind on the left are located the Jurkovič colorful chalets; take a break to see them now, the earliest the less crowded.
Opposite from them starts the large path heading to Radhošť, on a large track made of local sandstones gravels. We pass first a viewpoint with a shelter, then the Radegast statue, then the hut, and then the summit. First, forests are crossed, and on the uppermost part, some pastures with extensive views all around. This is the most sceneric part of the ride.
Pustevny is reached back after an exhilarating descent the same way; beware however of pedestrians. As for the rest of the ride down to Trojanvice, it can be made as follows: pass the Jurkovič chalets behind which a green-marked trail goes steadily east below the peaklets of Tanečnice and Zmrzlý Vrch. As we meet back the red pedestrian trail that followed meantime the ridge, we keep going straight on a large junction, following the green-marked trail. Here starts a steep portion into the forest, with bits of technical parts that can be handled.
The disk brakes will be burning hot when we reach back the main road. Trojanovice is reached back following yellow marks, a bit aside the road.
Let's mention quickly that Pustevny, as detailled in "Getting There", is served by car from the south thanks to a road. Some might choose this mountainside instead of the Trojanovice closed road.
Finally, having been on foot afterwhile on the other tops of Čertův Mlýn and Kněhyně, I noticed crowds of mountainbikers arriving from other routes than the red-marked ridge-trail we followed. The mountain is obviously full of possibilities...
There are two ways to cycle up to the top: one for the sporty ones, one for the lazier ones :)
The easy way consists in parking the car on the Pustevny pass, which we can access by the south of the mountain. The junction is on the road 35 at the level of Prostřední Bečva, half way between Rožnov pod Radhoštěm and the Slovak border.
Those coming from this side but willing to cycle the whole height of the mountain can also cycle this road up, but do it in early morning when the touristic traffic is not too dense.
The Pustevny pass is also reached from the North, starting in Trojanovice, located south from Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, on the foot of the mountain.
Frenštát and Rožnov are located quite near each other, allowing to circumvent the mountain via the west by car.
If you wish to combine the ride with some touristic visits, do not miss the magnificent village of Štramberk in the neighbourhood.
All these places are reached via the bigger city Frýdek-Místek and the regional capital, Ostrava, Czech's second largest. They lie into what we could call an "European hub", an important axis of communications linking Poland and Czech Republic in the only place between the Sudetes and the Carpathians. From Wrocław, leave the A4 near Opole in the direction of Raciborz, this is the quickest way to reach Ostrava which we circumvent by the "new" motorway (however unfinished in 2010). From Cracow and still via the A4, Bielsko-Biała and Cieszyn is the itinerary to reach Ostrava. From Brno and Oloumouc, a brand new motorway reaches without problem as far as Nový Jičín. Finally, Žilina is the spot to aim for reaching the same places from Slovakia.
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