Czech Karkonosze and 3 cross-kings
Saturday evening. When a representative of the Whyte brand contacted me a week earlier, I knew that nothing good would come of it. We have just returned from a few hours' drive on the snow-covered Czech roads of the Karkonosze in a frost of several degrees. We are sitting in a hut somewhere behind seven mountains and seven snowdrifts. The temperature in the kitchen is about 7 ° C. It's just that pouring hot tea into a glass of beer, this one decides to explode and in hundreds of pieces to bury yourself in the crevices of the floor. It does not matter, we lost feeling in our feet the day before. Maybe if we were not just taking a summer home, it would be a little easier ... but it was the cheapest one. Within three days we were able to get a PLN 150 electricity bill. Yes, Mr. Cerny (I suspect that in the Czech Republic every other person is called that way) he knew what he was doing by writing down counters - several two-watt electric heaters doing his job.
We can not sit together for too long - it always ends the same, regardless of whether we are sitting in the Canary Islands, Liguria or just where we are at the moment. I can not stand it and as the first I ask a question that hangs in the air and which everyone is waiting for:
"Hey guys! Do you think that something even stupider than you can do today? "
This time finding answers does not come easy. We need some 2 minutes to start thinking whether Horní Mísečky (the highest situated settlement in the Czech Giant Mountains) is podjeżdżalna. As if it was, one could consider the possibility of going down the ski run to Zlaté návrší (1411 meters). We always miss a person who would dare to say that most ideas are irrational, stupid or just dangerous. If it existed, we would not be here. The matter is a bit difficult because I forgot my bike jacket (again) and I need to get in a Chinese sweatshirt for PLN 60 and the fact that we are moving on bicycles about 2 inches too narrow.
Whyte Friston, or 3 words about the ringleader
Whyte - a company known to almost all who like to ride in the field, but for us a completely new one. I found two graveles on offer and began to wonder what to do next, because a few days later both were already in my trunk. One completely new, the other after tests in Bike. After all, we will not drive them around Kampinos, because it does not make sense. In this way, there was a good excuse to go to the mountains, on one of the coldest weekends of the year.
Friston is strange and not for everyone. If you like fast driving, cross-country dynamics, obstacles, accelerations, speed - you can forget about it. It is heavy, massive, slightly caricatural. After these sentences, I could grade 0 out of 10 and close the test by condemning Whyte's eternal hatred, but not ... a few hundred kilometers through the area he was not created for, changing my attitude towards him. It is no longer a cross-country or even a gravel - it's something else. Something for an ambitious tourist, a hiker with a flair for "something more". Cassette 11-42, crank 38: Legs spin faster than a wheel. By setting on a snowy driveway, I am able to train to achieve the 90th term without moving. The 480mm steering wheel (even in the smallest frame) makes me feel like when leaning on the counter, and the 70-millimeter bridge does not even fit the Garmin 1000. For this Srama hydraulic brakes, which work I-DE-AL-NIE and lack the front derailleur - for why with such ratios. On 40 millimeter tires, mounted on super wide rims, I feel like I am in good old times of MTB. In addition, large pipe cross-sections and not very aesthetic but hyper-massive welds mean that the bike weighs as much as a backpack in primary school - at first glance, at a price of PLN 7,800 - too much!
A big plus for details. Each element is signed with the Whyte logo: saddle, pads, seatpost, basket - like nothing, and enjoys. In addition, a few cool patents in the style of saddle lock located on the side of the frame and blinded with an elastic band (which I could not get lost - great success). I could write a lot about technologies, materials and magic, but you will find it on website - I do not know, I only go.
It is difficult to assess something using it contrary to its purpose. Because you know - on climbs on snow and ice we reached an average of 7km / h (which, of course, it was always the best result this year at Stravie), and the maximum speed at the congress was 40.5km, although usually I did not exceed 22km / h. Despite this slightly negative overtone, the bike rides extra. All tires were spoiled for me, which were definitely not intended for snow. Even in the area of 1.5 bar, because of the lack of side bricks, every bigger, unevenness of unevenness took me straight to the snowdrift. A few bruises, however, have not hurt anyone yet. After the snow and decent roads, they rode very well. By the way, such a low pressure with such large tires already works a bit like a hopeless shock absorber with a centimeter jump - chooses unevenness but with a stronger depression, I feel like on a blown ball.
Who is this bike for? If, like Panda, you despise lightly (I only slightly add the word with decency) by mountain bikes, and you like to enter the area without thorough racing and chasing KOMs, you will not be disappointed. In the weight / price category, it is probably the worst bike I rode on, but if I decided to become a pannier, or give up my racing ambitions, I would take it into account.
Whyte Friston is like an SUV. Almost 10 kg bike (size 58), which seemingly does not make any sense, I like it more and more each time I spend in our apartment. I think I'm getting old ...
Is it possible to ride a bike in the winter?
Of course it can be done. Everything is possible, but does it make sense? I can not assess this. It does not require clothes for thick thousands (though of course it is easier in such cases), because the producers do not do anything in which we can spend 6 hours at minus 14 ° C. For what purpose - the target would be smaller than those interested in visiting Jehovah's witnesses. As I mentioned - I forgot my jacket and go in Chinese Castelli. Can be? Da. I just dress two pairs of gloves, two pairs of socks (they can not be too tight), winter shoes, a thermal T-shirt, two thermal shirts, a cycling jersey, a windbreaker vest, a sweatshirt, a ski helmet, goggles / glasses, a kilogram of face cream, pants, gaiters, cycling pants, heating inserts for hands and feet, a hat, a bit water-resistant spray and in total I'm ready: I'm sweating on rails, I'm freezing on descents. Beard and mustache help in the experience. Despite the ice deposited on them, the face is much warmer.
I have bad news for everyone who always has cold in their feet and hands. You can read a thousand guides, how to dress in winter, buy the most expensive equipment, put in heaters - at these temperatures and longer rides, it does not matter. It will be cold for you anyway, and you'll get something frostbitten sooner than you will get any joy of driving. At minus 15 ° C and 20 km / h, the perceived temperature is already -25 ° C.
Despite some level of hardening in harsh conditions, even mistakes happen to us - on the first day after almost three hours. One pair of gloves, even with a warming up, turned out to be insufficient. Do you know what the worst thing can be done with frozen fingers? Put them on the radiator in the store. Apart from the fact that ice fingers do not feel (unless you touch a cast iron fireplace - checked) and the radiator after some time may be much warmer than it initially seemed, this is another problem. Making a short analysis, which, of course, may turn out to be completely wrong, looking at how logical thinking is going on at very low temperatures (we've quickly forgiven crowns for PLN) we came to painful conclusions. Too fast heating makes the fingers grow, and the nails remain as they were, the effect? More or less as if someone had removed all nails at the same time with tongs. The view is quite comical. One would like to cry, but fear to risk having wet eyes at temperatures that freeze glutton before they reach the ground.
Is it possible to ride a bike in the winter ... in the Giant Mountains?
If you have a fatbike, that's for sure. Some enduro or 29-era with thick tires can also handle it. But cross or gravel with a 32-40mm tire? It's different here. It is known, on the main roads, that he can do it, but neither pleasant nor too interesting - whoever once beat the Harrachów-Jakuszyce driveway knows what I am talking about. Adding to this the fact that the asphalt is faster, and therefore much colder - we reject this possibility.
As for smaller roads, they are either moderately passable or not at all. Even on those passable, however, it can be different - paradoxically, the smaller the traffic, the easier it is. There is nothing worse than ruts and mud, under which ice is lurking. Generally, I do not recommend anyone to repeat our routes. Driveways, even those pushed at the speed of a not very athletic mother with a pram are easy when compared to exits. Small stretches of ice and unevenness have made us realize how many ways there are for falls: head landing, synchronous slip - double, emergency braking in a snowdrift, punching - each leaves a not very lasting mark on the body. If you think that landing on frozen snow is more pleasant, I deny this statement - just remember Kruijswijka accident at last year's Giro. The situation is saved by the fact of being an onion, I'm as soft as a Michelin man.
After the ski slopes, no matter how cool it may seem, you can not go. Not up or down. At least we can not. It is a bit like riding in thick mud reaching to the ankles, with the difference that we still have skiers behind us who, like us, do not always control the course of the ride.
Pane, it's a massacre!
Czechs are <
Bez práce nejsou koláče.
Will we ever make such an expedition in the Giant Mountains? Without fat-bikes, probably not (and if you look at the link shared at the bottom - with fears probably also not). Fun is fun, but the amount of stress at the descents and the likelihood of death in the ditch by the road or freezing by insufficient infrastructure in the area is too large. Will we go to other cross-country mountains? If you think about it, it is a rather senseless idea, but I'm afraid that one day such a question will fall and none of us will dare to challenge such a proposal.
The author of cover photo and the above photo is Piotrek O..
Film, part one:
Film, part two: