„Preninger, my PE teacher who had founded a resistance group in the Czech Scout movement, needed help establishing a communications service. I brought together about 10 to 15 cyclists from Prague. The only one I had not invited to participate was my brother because he was married and had a daughter; his name was Evžen. We came to the meeting point at Manes Exhibition Hall, next to the Jirásek bridge. My teacher arrived at the footboard of a car and told us: ’Stay here, we will get you some weapons and you’ll receive further instructions. I’ll be back in a few minutes,’ and he was gone again. The following thing happened: the only one I had not invited was my brother because he was married and had a daughter. Yet he came anyway. None of us had any weapons but nearby at the riverbank, a group of old soldiers were transporting some hay on a horse cart. The soldiers were sitting in the front with their guns stuck behind them and my brother jumped on the last cart and took those rifles away from them with his bare hands. The soldiers were all trembling; they were old codgers, after all. It was a big mess. And we started to play revolutionaries. But it did not end up well; my brother died because of a temple wound. We tried to do the revolution, sometimes in a very grotesque way. At one moment, we were told to go to Záběhlice, then again someplace else. There were bizarre cases of people being arrested because they were thought to be German. The whole Prague uprising was simply a big mess. Unfortunately, my brother was wounded in the temple and died three weeks later. I survived and when the war ended, I went on with my normal life.”
“I must really examine my conscience. As a twenty–year-old who bought a newspaper every Monday to find out what had been written about him, I did not care about politics at all. But of course after a few years I realized the enormous abuse of professional sport. There are two types of it, in fact. On one hand, you have the capitalist who uses sport as a tool for advertisement and tries to wring out of the professionals everything he can. On the other hand, it was modern back then that the so-called democratic states had their representatives to whom they provided high-quality training conditions so that they could represent the people’s democratic regimes. We did not care about whom we represented, that it is in fact the communists. Above all, we were having a wonderful life including significant benefits and excursions to the whole world. After all, I participated in two Olympic Games. The twenty-year.old boys didn’t give a damn about serving the regime.”
“This has always been common in the Netherlands or Denmark; I have gotten to know all those countries. Step by step, wise city council members create conditions to establish special traffic lanes for cyclists. This is happening all over the world, even in Australia. The French call it ‘démêlage du trafic’, which means something like disentanglement or simply separation of every means of transport. Cars have their own roads and cyclists have their separate traffic lanes or pavements. This makes sense and thus urban developers try to create conditions for cycling. There are also other important factors - there are too many cars, they take up too much space, and it is often only one or two persons in the car. A bike takes up only little space. For example, if one rides their bike to work, then they already do something for their physical health. Therefore, bike is a universal and unique means of transport. It ranks in this list of inventions which belong to the humanity as a whole.”
„Bike is one of the most amazing human inventions“
Jaroslav Cihlář was born on 7 April 1924 in Prague‘s Nusle district. Having lost his father as a 14-year-old, he grew up with his mother and brother Evžen. He was a passionate cyclist in every aspect - as contestant, coach, and cycling promoter. During the Prague uprising of May 1945 he was riding between barricades, serving as cyclist liaison. Jaroslav became a twenty-time Czechoslovak champion in several categories. Following his conflicts with regime authorities, Czechoslovak cyclists were not allowed to attend the Summer Olympic Games of 1948 in London. He won the 1951 Academic World Championship and attended several other world championships, among them the Cyclocross World Cup of 1956, as one of the very first Czechoslovak cyclists ever. He ranked fifth in the track race at the Summer Olympic Games of 1956 in Melbourne, where he also served as a coach of the national team. The Czechoslovak cyclists won two silver medals under his lead. For many years, Jaroslav taught cycling classes at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport of the Charles University in Prague. He brought to Czechoslovakia not only new technologies including tubular tyres or cycling shoes but also the French Audax movement specializing in extreme distance group cycling. He wrote several books promoting cycling and his lifelong contribution was acknowledged with a golden medal awarded by the Czech Sport Union. Jaroslav died aged ninety on 2 May 2014 in Prague. He was riding his bike until his very last days.