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Old 07-27-08, 03:05 PM   #1
joninkrakow
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Greetings from Krakow, Poland

I found this site, while looking for some info on an old bike I used to own (and theoretically, still do own--but that's another thread). I must say that you people here are amazing in your willingness to help each other, and the knowledge is a gold mine!

A little about myself. While I may live in Krakow, Poland, I hale from Western PA, and later, the Florida panhandle. I've been living in Krakow, however, the past 11 years. I am a solid Clydesdale (at ~250+lbs--I should say it in kg, because it seems lighter--but I won't), who hasn't ridden much for the past 14 years. As to why I am starting again.... hm.... hard to say. Gas is $9 a gallon here, but that's more of an excuse to spend some money on a bike. ;-) The truth is, I've missed cycling, and this summer finally found the gumption to get back in the saddle. :-) Oh, and I'm 43.

Now, my cycling history. I started with a Schwinn Stingray 5 speed! It was a 68 model I got in the mid-70s as a birthday present. Of course, BMX was just becoming all the craze, so that 5-speed didn't last long. I converted that poor banana-seat-equipped bike into a mean, lean bmx machine, and worse, repainted the gorgeous deep green/black metalic paint into a ugly silver.... dumb, I know.... but I did.

Well, growing up in Western PA, where the hills are plentious and steeeep, and where far too many roads choose the lesser of two evils, by choosing to go straight up those hills, I never considered bicycle riding to be something more than bmx. (or, my speciality, downhill bmx--now a big mb sport!) However, my first year in college (also in W. PA), I had a friend who had a ginormous Nishiki touring bike that was tricked out with front and rear racks, and paniers, and a fuzzy saddle. I fell in love with that bike, and the one time I rode it (he and I were both over 6 ft tall, and it was a tall frame), I discovered that one could actually _ride_ on those roads! I know he did. It was his car. Well, the next fall, I transferred to a school in FL, and needed wheels. So, I found the cheapest bike I could find with a tall frame--a Schwinn Sprint! I fitted toe clips onto it, and rode it that entire year. I learned quickly, however, that not all frames are created equal. It was as springy and soft as you could imagine. As soon as I powered out of the saddle, it would squirrel all over the road. I started frequenting bicycle shops, and reading everything I could get my hands on, and learned a lot. I also found myself parking next to a really nice bicycle. It was a Raleigh touring bike. It had decent kit, and also was fitted with front and rear racks. I didn't know anything about Raleigh, but I could see the quality in it. That spring, the guy who owned it was looking to sell it, so I went and sold my cruddy Schwinn for $90, and bought that Raleigh for the same amount. :-) For the next 4 or 5 years, that bike became my car. Since we were near the beach, but not too close, I rode it the 15-30 miles several times a month, and in the summer months, sometimes, several times a week. I was big in snorkling then, so would load it with gear (which never ceased to amaze me how much gear it takes to go snorkling!) In any case, that bike survived me until I finally got a "real job" and then some. Several years after graduating, I "lent" it to a friend who promised me he would take good care of it--he didn't. I have no idea if he still has it, but one of my biggest regrets in life was giving that bike away.

So, what am I riding now? A German-made Patagonia trekking bike. I also have a built-up mountain bike, but it's no good for commuting, and is a bit small for me. The Patagonia is about perfect (but still not my Raleigh). I've enjoyed being in the saddle again, and keep finding new excuses to run errands, etc. :-)

And I'm glad to be here. I have some questions I hope somebody will help me with--advice, really. And would love to post a pic of my ride.

-Jon
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Old 07-27-08, 05:48 PM   #2
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All right Jon, here is your opportunity to post a photo . East Hill is requesting a photo (nothing new there).

What kind of questions do you have? A very nice intro, too.

Welcome to BF, and feel free to PM me with any questions !

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Old 07-28-08, 12:55 AM   #3
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Thanks for the kind words, EastHill. I still have yet to take the photo of my ride. Will try to get to it today (my day off). I wanted to get its pic in front of the castle, by the river, but won't be able to do that today. ;-)

I'll post it here when I get it, unless there's someplace else for these things.

I'll also post a link to my question/request when I post it.

-Jon
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Old 07-28-08, 05:44 AM   #4
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Wonderful! You can certainly post a photo of your ride here--this is Introductions, after all .

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Old 07-28-08, 08:57 AM   #5
joninkrakow
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Pic

Went riding with my 11yr old (third of four--and the only one who actually likes cycling for the sake of cycling) today. I had a couple errands to run, but we went down to the Wawel castle while out. Boy, it is hot! 30+ today! Anyway, while out, I ended up shooting a few pics of my ugly bike with my Treo. The pics aren't much (quite horrible in fact), but you may get an idea of the weird sort of bike one can get here. ;-)

First pic should be the horrible low-res pic from my phone. The second is a better one I just shot from my real camera. :-)

-Jon
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Old 09-20-08, 05:13 PM   #6
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Hi Jon! Sorry for the 2-month late reply, I just noticed your introduction.

I'm originally from Fort Worth, TX but I lived in Wrocław with my girlfriend (now wife) Kasia for about 3.5 years. We moved to the Seattle area about 2.5 years ago.

As I write this, Kasia and I are not too far from you -- we're in Jastrzębie Zdrój visiting her family. Kasia's parents live right on the R4 EuroVelo route. We've did a tiny bit of cycling along the route a couple of weeks ago. We've wanted to do more, but the weather has SUCKED lately and all of our foul-weather cycling gear is back home.

Anyway... Welcome (belatedly) to BF!
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Old 09-20-08, 11:31 PM   #7
joninkrakow
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Originally Posted by keithm0 View Post
Hi Jon! Sorry for the 2-month late reply, I just noticed your introduction.

I'm originally from Fort Worth, TX but I lived in Wrocław with my girlfriend (now wife) Kasia for about 3.5 years. We moved to the Seattle area about 2.5 years ago.

As I write this, Kasia and I are not too far from you -- we're in Jastrzębie Zdrój visiting her family. Kasia's parents live right on the R4 EuroVelo route. We've did a tiny bit of cycling along the route a couple of weeks ago. We've wanted to do more, but the weather has SUCKED lately and all of our foul-weather cycling gear is back home.

Anyway... Welcome (belatedly) to BF!
Wow! Thanks for the welcome! Yes, the weather has been rotten! Almost surprisingly so--I say "almost" because typically, the end of August means the end of good weather, but I don't remember when heat has been turned on this much before Oct 1. (the "traditional" day to turn on heat here in Krakow).

BTW, did you know about the Tour de Pologne? It ended yesterday (Saturday). Some of my favorite riders were in it, but with the weather, my being sick and super busy, I didn't get to see even one etap. :-(

P.S. Like the name "Kasia". My middle daughter (Katherine) goes by "Kasia" and doesn't even answer to her "real" name. ;-)

-Jon
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Old 09-21-08, 01:47 AM   #8
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Welcome, albeit belated, to the forums. I've been to Kracow (Kracov) back in 1970 under the puppet Soviet government. It's a fantastic city. The Wawel was amazing (Castle). It's where the Turks were turned back after an arrow went through the throat of the city bugler. Do they still sound a shortened bugle call each day in rememberance? They used to. Probably hoping the Soviets would leave as well.

They had a joke about the Soviets: "We Poles have a wonderful trade relation with the Soviets. The Soviets take our coal. And, in exchange, they take our sugar." Of course, you had to be very careful of who you told the joke to!

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Old 09-21-08, 08:37 AM   #9
joninkrakow
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It's where the Turks were turned back after an arrow went through the throat of the city bugler.
Yup! Every hour, in fact, though at noon, it's aired on all the national radio stations. It's called the hejnał, and is to commemorate the man who gave his life warning the city. Although, it's played from the church in the main square, not from Wawel. If you Google hejnał, you can probably find a recording of it somewhere. I used to have it on my web site, but don't think it's there any more--it was a page for readers of the children's book, "The Trumpeter of Krakow".

-Jon
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Old 09-21-08, 09:19 AM   #10
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Cool! I'll go hunt the recording. Perhaps I'll scare my neighbors with it through some Marshall Stacks with 1,000 watts/channel. Thanks for the update. I think the church was closed during the sugar-stealer's occupation.

Happy Cycling!
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Old 09-21-08, 12:44 PM   #11
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Welcome

Welcome aboard. I live in NW PA (Warren). This forum is loaded with information.
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Old 09-21-08, 06:06 PM   #12
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Kewlio Intro!! Welcome. And I picked up a lil history to boot, right on!!
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