Grateful for another autumn day we decided we should explore more of the interior regions of Czech Republic. The drive itself was worth it as it went through more agricultural areas than urban. The region is covered with hops fields and you can stop in the town of Krušovice (https://krusovice.cz/en/historie) to try their beer which is sold all over the world. In fact it is a couple hundred years older than Pilsner. Michal speaks fondly of his time working in the hops fields as a teenager with his classmates. If you want to see what that might be like watch the movie called Starci na chmelu (Old Hop Pickers) with English subtitles (renamed Green Gold for english version). This a musical comedy about group of students picking hops over the summer under school supervision dealing with adolescent morality and bureaucracy.
The best parking is right in front of the castle Manětín. We had our lunch in the castle restaurant and walked around the grounds, but didn’t go inside. However, it does look very pretty and offers tours in English in case you are interested. https://www.zamek-manetin.cz/en/
After a ride uphill at the point 2 you may feel like you lost your direction until you see the tourist mark across the wide field. After that point the ride is very comfortable up to the point 21 where the difficult ride uphill to point 22 starts. There are two points on which you should definitely consider leaving the bike behind and walk uphill without it. The first is the ruin of the castle Nečtiny (15) and the second is Špičák (22). It is worth to climb to top of Špičák to enjoy panoramic view of the Manětínsko.
Given it was somewhat cool weekday we basically had the whole ride to ourselves. However, we ran into the značkaři for the first time ever. There were a nice couple painting the trail markers on the trees and were happy to answer questions about their work. The Czech hiking clubs take care of this task for over 70,000 kilometers of trails (here, but also in Brasil, Albania or Romania). We learned that the metal signs can be placed only on the dead wood or on birch tree and all marks are renewed every 3 years (always by different volunteers), and follow very strict requirements for the color and size of the mark.
https://en.mapy.cz/s/pepahejoru 42 km elevation gain 758 m (optional)