keskiviikko 26. joulukuuta 2012

An Interview with Pawel Zwoliński from BikePack

This is a blog post idea totally and absolutely stolen from Hendrik,  an interview with a cottage gear manufacturer.

My experiences with bikepacking are mostly from past year but I have had some previous biketouring trips. Always lacking proper bikebags I have stuffed my backbag with too much gear and ended up with a sore back. When the world of bikepacking (riding singletracks with a mountainbike stuffed with overnight gear) really opened up to me it was quite essential to figure how to get the weight off my back.

My current setup with Pawel's seat pack and fuel tank.
My first rig was a cyclocross bike with a seatpost clamp rack and a dry bag. Worked pretty well but still more carrying space was in order. When I got my Surly Pugsley I started really looking for optimal bikepacking bags. I found Revelate Designs, one of the most well known gear manufacturers from Alaska. I got a frame bag from them, and it's a darn good one. Only down side is that after postages, customs and taxes the price went up to about double. I was still eager to get a seatbag and a gastank type of a bag but started to wonder if it was possible to find them from inside EU as you don't have to pay for any extra charges. I guess it was a british site that I first came up with, a cottage bikepack manufacturer from Poland. Reviews for the bags were very good. Wow, you can get bags from inside EU!

Design and quality are superb.

I placed my order and and reply was quick but it would take three months to get them. Well it's a one man business but I would still get them before summer.

Now after several trips with my setup I have been very happy with
Pawel's bags, hence I want to introduce you Pawel Zwoliński!

The man himself.
Hi Pawel, tell us something about you and your bicycling background?

I started my adventure with bike touring when I was 12 years old. It was 20 year ago. At that time we traveled across during summer time on our bikes loaded with panniers, and all that bulky stuff. A dozen or so years later I started riding thru Polish mountains. and when I saw bikepacking bags I thought that was a great thing for multiday trips in the mountains.
Of course when it's possible I race in MTB marathons or MTB stage races.

How and when did you start making bikepacking bags?

I discovered bikepacking in 2008 when browsing forums. And I really liked the idea of such kind of bags and this kind of bike touring. First protobag came alive in 2009. 

Tell us how you design and manufacture your products?

Tweaking design has few steps, first make some drawings in skechup, then I transfer them to cardboard, if all pieces have good dimensions I make plastic patterns. I cut fabrics and sew pieces together all my own.
For example to make a seatbag from few rolls of fabrics to final stage i need almost whole day. Because BikePack is cottage production right now, trying to answer ASAP for any @ that I'm receiving, packing finished bags, shipping them, all those things are in my working day. 

Do you have some new coo products on your drawing board? Do you make custom framebags?

I Have some queries for new products, but it's hard to put them in working day because production queue is still too long even in colder moths, but I'm glad that more and more people ask for my bags. .

I also tweak my current designs from piece to piece If I receive advice form my customer.
Sure I make custom framebags too.

What is your most memorable bikepacking trip and what would be your dream trip? Do you do backpacking also?

The most memorable is the first one in real mountains, that we made with my pal Michal. We were trying to ride thru Small Beskidian Trail, just 150km but almost 3000m in ascent. It was really enjoyable and we learnt new things about bikepacking, many gear related things. 

My bikepacking dream is to have much more spare time to ride these trips:). I really like hiking too but I think backpacking in some kind is wasting of your energy. During bikepacking you can do same trails as hiking but you can go much further and see the same nice places. 
Pawel looking sharp at the mountains.
Tell something about mountainbikiking and bikepacking in Poland. Are they big sports in Poland? What trails and places would you recommend to a bikepacking tourist?

MTB is really popular here in Poland. but bikepacking not so much at this moment - of course I'm trying to change it :). Many people ride their bikes thru nice mountain trails, but huge part of them are using mountain shelters to spend a night in mountains. I think that using your own tent or other bivy gear is more enjoyable. Make some camp fire, bake some food on top of it and drink some beer, that is much nicer.

We have nice mountains here but some National Parks dont allow you to ride a bike. Sudety and Beskidy mountains, are those places where you can find nice trails. Some of them are gnarly and full of loose stones, some of them are muddy whole year, but they're all great. 
Thank you Pawel. I couldn't agree more about how to make a ride more enjoyable with your own camping gear. Of course I agree about the beer too.

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti