I ride the bike, so I exist - my brief biker's biography.
Once upon a time, in Poland, land on Vistula river, every boy, which took Holly Communion for the first time, received watch and sometimes bicycle. I also got the bicycle. Very popular by that time, foldable, Karat brand. That's how it all began. Surprisingly, long time passed before I realised, that the bike is not only a toy, good for running around neighbourhood or a device to try some tricks. Finally I found out, what the bike really is: efficient means of travelling, allowing to cross by any kind of road: regions, countries, whole continents. Once I discovered that, I started making brave, long trips on all kind of old scrap.
What opened new era, was purchase of technical marvel from Romet (biggest Polish bike manufacturer from Bydgoszcz, not existing any more) after withstanding long queue. Tourist bike Passat was for me like Rolls Royce, it brought me almost everywhere I wished to, for many years. There were short and long voyages in Poland. Solitary and in gang of similar, kind of bike-crazy buddies. Travels abroad happened - trimmed to our very limited possibilities at that time. Our speciality: mountain roads with multiple passes and crazy downhills. Period of studies and just after graduation was my golden age of the road touring. And later? Later out team disintegrated. At the same time communism also disintegrated, borders opened and hordes of old cars from east and west flooded the country. Traffic density increased many times. Riding bike on main roads became like kamikaze flight.
Fortunately, one day I was tempted to buy technical novelty made in Taiwan: one of the first mountain bikes available on the market. I was not even aware, how heavy, crude and basic this marvel was. Totally different rides began: I never hesitated to leave paved road on my Passat and to enter forest or climb the mountain, but from now on that was my element. Go to hell with the asphalt: only dirt and bump! And mountain bike stayed for good. Of course, next one was already better, brand type. And another one, free-ride full, as it was called than, I fitted myself with Magura disc brakes. For time being I stopped there. I'm not hardware fetishist, so in the situation, when I permanently lack time to kill the old bike, I'm not buying new one.
I was riding mountain bikes perseveringly, mostly alone, year after year. Time passed and than I witnessed some interesting social phenomena. The people, who long time ago abandoned biking, forgot it, suddenly were coming to activity again. Once a year I spend a weekend on saddle with gang of such veterans. People, who grew up long time ago, purchased bikes and became a bikers. Bikes were trendy again. Moreover, whole new generation grew, became bike fans, managed to spend fortunes for their bikes just to get bored on them later and to turn attention to other things. So, what about me? I'm riding and riding, constantly, whenever time allows! Yes, yes! Time is always a problem! But I ride. Whenever there is a chance. Summer. Winter. Let's be realistic, only when it is more, than minus 10 deg. Celsius. Around the city, on the flat land, in the mountains. Whatever comes. Surely, not enough. Last year or two were not so good in that respect. But I don't get depressed. Because the bike for me is primarily a mean for transport, way of being on the move, not the objective by itself. I cannot complain for lack of move, travelling, therefore I don't get depressed. And I know: I did not say my last word for the bikes.
At the end of this tale I cannot resist to mention "Zlepieniec". For several years I was taking heroic attempts to turn Marzena into biker. Despite some initial successes, it wasn't all going so well. Official reason: no suitable bike. So I purchased lady's frame and equipped it mainly with my old, worn-out components, which I didn't throw away before. From this conglomerate a bike was created. "Zlepieniec", otherwise pudding-stone. And it did the job: Marzena turned on, and has been biking for years now. Only that "Zlepieniec" makes trouble.It was intended to be temporary solution, to heat-up, than to switch quickly to something new. Meanwhile, Marzena supposedly likes Zlepieniec and delays replacement year by year. So Zlepieniec became kind of pet...
Marzena - Bicycle neophyte
Our bicicle adventures are difficult to describe. I'm not very good rider, I don't match Witek. So our rides are not too long and it is difficult to tug me out from home. However, once I'm sitting on the bike, I'm happy. Since I own outstanding bike, I don't complain any more. My bike is not so special because it rides by itself, but because it is assembled for me by Witek. I was present during it's creation, improvements. Finally it was named "ZLEPIENIEC" (conglomerate, pudding stone). Font, color, size of characters had to be chosen, that stencil to be made and name painted. It looks so proudly with this name. Bike is obedient, what means that accepted me - so we assemble harmonious duo. We ride now and than around Warsaw, sometimes outside the city, but the nicest voyages are, when we take bikes with us on holiday. Than we make long and short trips. Sometimes just to get some fresh air in the forest, sometimes to discover the world. I have the best memories associated with our travels on Bornholm and to the Netherlands. Let me stop at these adventures..
In 2002 we were with the bikes in the Netherlands. I didn't have counter at this time, so I cannot say what distances we covered. But that's not important. One wishes to bike in the countries with bicycle roads prepared so perfectly. You can travel from one city to the other, in beautiful landscape, using bicycle roads, which do not end. I remember very well such situation, first day we started bike ride and when passing by one channel, suddenly one crab run into my wheels. I managed to avoid it. I saw crab in nature for the first time!
Equally attractive are bicycle trips, when we go by car outside Warsaw and than we split: Witek rides a bike I drive a car. We have two maps with meeting points marked. Witek has to reach them with tourist tracks, me by the road. It's so hard! I have to circulate so much, to find such meeting point. I prefer, when we meet by the church. Churches are visible from distance and there is always place to park. But this doesn't happened so often. More frequently I have to find intersection of road, which I drive, with the tourist track (and they are not always properly marked). I remember, once we had meeting point under the cross in the forest. I was driving around and driving, and cross could not be found. So I stopped by the small shrine, according to map, there should have been meeting point. Maybe Witek made mistake, and there was shrine instead of cross? Witek arrived and praised me, but I asked him, where is the cross? I turned out, that shrine stood by the cross so high, that I could not spot it in the forest... There were such cases, that I called Witek, and told him: I'm in such and such place, please find me, because I cannot find the meeting point. And he did... I'm not good in topography and I practice during such trips. Sometimes such situations take place, that I have to turn back on narrow road (we have four wheel drive car) and I get slightly stuck in the ditch. Usually I mange to free myself, but Witek recognizes tracks of out tires on the meeting point and asks, If I know, why he can see them in the ditch...
Recently I counted eight bikes in our "stables", at link below I present them all.
Nasze wyprawy rowerowe
Analogically, like with the other travels, we are not going to list all trips and routes. We will just present selection. Unfortunately, for now this all will be available in Polish only.
Trips with Marzena
Combo type trips: me - biking, Marzena- driving a car