On the streets of Prague you can meet a rare breed of people – people who came together with their bikes, which they use as their exclusive means of transportation. In Prague though, in comparison to other metropoles, these people need a considerable dose of courage to set off into the motorcar jungle, but they also have to be in good physical condition to be able to contend with Prague’s infamous hills.
Honza and Andrea Janda from Funbikes have been working for several years on keeping this passion of ours alive. It was primarily them who brought the interest in fixed-gear bikes to the Czech Republic. In their workshop in Žižkov, they build tailored well-thought-out bikes for everyone. If you are interested in getting a single speed or fixed-gear bike, Honza will gladly give you advice and design it for you.
If you already have your dream bike, don’t forget to have it serviced regularly - in the meantime you can relish your coffee or Prager cider while browsing through cycling books and magazines. Here you can really absorb the cycling atmosphere. This will certainly whet your appetite and motivate you to participate in one of their regular races!
The Funbikes shop and workshop have been open for several years now. How has the bike business changed?
We build and sell quite specific bikes that only a few people in the Czech Republic knew about at the time we started. Looking back at it, we have to admit it was a courageous, maybe even naïve, move. But in five years a lot has changed. Fixed-gear bikes have become popular and stylish in Prague. People want to have nice bikes not just for sport activities but also as a simple way of commuting in the city.
Prague doesn’t belong amongst particularly friendly capitals for cycling. Do you cycle to work exclusively?
I cycle to work very irregularly. It’s not because of hills on the road, it’s because I often travel with loads of stuff. I’m also often lazy and take the tram.
Can you estimate how big the community of single speed and fixed-gear bikes is in the Czech Republic? Are there any girls too?
The number is hard to estimate but there is a community in every town that has decent conditions for cycling. Apart from Prague, it is mainly Brno, Ostrava, as well as Tábor and Liberec. There are few female cyclists but it’s getting better and we try to engage them as much as possible. For instance, at races that we organize, when girls pay for one starting fee, they get plus one for their girl friends for free.
When did you build your first bike? What did it look like? What bike do you have today?
I only built my first bike when we opened Funbikes. Up to then I had done only a couple of adjustments. The bike I built from scratch was a black gear bike with high rims and it was very heavy.
What’s your opinion on events such as Prague Critical Mass Ride? Do you participate with your family?
The event is great. It always highlights how many cyclists there are in Prague. Last year there were flies in the ointment but my family and I still get involved most of the time.
Do you take bikes on holiday with you? What destinations are the best for cycling?
We don’t take bikes on holiday. We would hardly do any proper cycling with our three-year-old daughter and we prefer distant destinations that you have to fly to anyway. We would rather hire a bike at the destination to explore the surrounding area.