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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 122 > RISKING IT FOR POLISH CHAMPAGNE

RISKING IT FOR POLISH CHAMPAGNE

Sprinkled with snow, the crumbling landmarks of Poland’s past provide the backdrop for an unlikely first bikepacking trip.
PHOTOGRAPHY ADAM KLIMEK

It’s 7am on Saturday. The town is lazily waking up from last night’s bash. The streets are empty and all I can hear is the silent hum of the fat Farley tyres. No weather forecast predicted the snowfall, let alone blizzard. Inconveniently, the moment the world got covered with white snow was the moment I had to leave home. Well, what can you do? I slip my goggles off the helmet and exclude myself from the snowy assault, tackling the high street at maximum speed in order to get to the train station as quickly as possible. I may be looking rather peculiar. The bike is wearing bags like a Christmas tree; there’s the helmet and goggles which normal people associate with skiing, rather than biking… and those tyres… is that a motorbike or bicycle? So thick! How do you ride it? Anyone who has ridden a fat bike knows that they draw the attention of just about everyone. Just imagine a fully laden, bikepacking fat bike ridden by a goggled woman in the midst of the city. It’s like a wacko circus hit town.

I behave like everything’s normal. Somehow, I manage to get to the platform with all that stuff. Twenty-two kilograms – this is how much the scale indicated, and, oh, 22 steps. I feel powerful. Finally, a useful application of those years of kettlebell exercises. The train is waiting, ready to set off when I spot two guys nervously scoping the area. I quickly connect the dots; they’re my company for the coming four days. They didn’t believe I would show up. I did. My life’s experiences taught me that who doesn’t take risks, doesn’t drink Champagne. Curious to see how things will unfold, and accompanied by two completely strange guys, I’m sitting in a comfy chair in the Intercity train scampering towards Wałbrzych town. To relax the atmosphere, they offer a sip of wine from a bladder. I refuse. Let’s save it for the evening, when it’s clear whether I should open Champagne or look for a way to retreat.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Finding Your Place Chipps is away in Moab, so Hannah has taken over. She thinks Moab is all very well, but there might be even happier places to be. UK Adventure: Snowdon All Ways Tom Fenton thinks that riding all the bridleways on Snowdon in one go is a good idea. Surprisingly he finds friends willing to join him. Will they ever join him again? Column: Jason Miles Jason asks us to mind our manners while we’re riding, or in the supermarket. International Adventure: Vancouver’s Treasure Islands Ryan Stuart takes a tour of the slow paced islands where quiet trails lie waiting. Classic Ride: Borders of the Borderlands Olly Townsend takes us on a classic moorland yomp in Northumberland’s quiet fringes. Interview: Tracy Moseley - Mother Hucker The queen of enduro isn’t slowing down as she adds motherhood to her titles. Bike Test: Ti Hard Our very own Bruce Willis lookalike, Andi Sykes, tests out three titanium hardtails from Kingdom, Nordest and Sonder. Editors’ Choice Our team pick out their product, place and bike highlights of 2018. International Adventure: Risking It For Polish Champagne Dorota Juranek goes on her rst bike packing trip, through the snowy urban decay of Poland. Charlie Says: Abus Alarm Lock Charlie the Bikemonger checks out the Abus Alarm Lock. Beyond The Review: In My Shoes Products don’t just get tested, we live with them. Hannah looks at the relationship between her shoes and her riding. Climbing Up In Trentino, Stepping Back In Time Pete Scullion and trials rider Ali Clarkson take their ill prepared bodies round 100km of history in the Italian mountains. Last Word: Highland Heist Charlie the Bikemonger reveals his criminal past.