Relay around the world cycles through Bulkley Valley

A two-and-a-half-year-long international bike relay passed through Bulkley Valley recently.

“The most difficult part was cycling in the snow from Watson Lake to Dease Lake,” explains Polish bike tourer Grzegorz Drwal.

Drwal and his companions Ania Rybaltowska and Kasia Kosinska-Poulet began cycling from Whitehorse on Sept. 28 and plan to arrive in Prince George on Oct. 25.

They are completing Stage 19 of a two-and-a-half-year-long international bike relay called Bike Jamboree organized by the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association Fundacja Światowe Jamboree (World Scout Jamboree Foundation) and its partners. During this time, 34 teams will cycle 35,000 kilometers and visit 21 countries.

“For me the most beautiful were the first days after we left Whitehorse and saw the beautiful mountains. I also enjoyed seeing the wildlife, especially that we had a chance to see bears, which frightened us at first,” describes Rybaltowska.

The first 15 legs of the relay took participants from Poland to Ukraine, Georgia, Azarbejan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, to Russia. The 17th stage began in North America in Homer, AK. From Prince George, the relay will continue south to Vancouver, along the west coast to Mexico then across the continent through Mexico and the US, and then through Europe back to Poland.

“The best question we got asked was ‘Did you check the weather before you planned the trip?’ ” laughs Kosinska-Poulet.

In addition to the snow on the Stewart-Cassiar where they camped in chilly night temperatures down to lows of -10 C, the cyclists enjoyed their warmest day of up to 20 C on the day they journeyed from Hazelton to Smithers.

The Bike Jamboree’s relay baton unravels into a map that has been autographed by people that participants have met along the way. The team is grateful for the hospitality and support they have received from the Canadians that they have met along the way.

Readers can follow the Bike Jamboree’s adventures on Facebook, Instagram, or their website www.bikejamboree.pl.

–Submitted story

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