After completing their cycling honeymoon in Central and South America and after the birth of their first son, they built a semi-recumbent tandem and set off to the Alps. In summer 2019 they were already five so they took advantage of the parental leave and discovered the beauties of their native Slovakia for more than a month. And again on their unique Pino-like two-wheeler, which they call Rusty. What is it like to travel with three little boys, one of whom is only half a year old? And where in Slovakia is it the most beautiful?
We are a completely normal family with a somewhat relentless desire to discover the world by bike.
Please introduce us to your whole family team.
We are a completely normal family with a somewhat relentless desire to discover the world by bike. The team consists of father Janča, mother Evit, and children Janko, who is four years old, two-year-old Kolomanko, and Stanko, who is only 6 months old.
A few years ago, you traveled a big portion of the world on your own bikes. Didn’t you prefer to go abroad?
We got on the bike trip by deciding to go on our honeymoon, despite the fact that we had never ridden a loaded bike before. Out of a total of 19 months of travel, 13 months were on bikes in Central and South America. This is where this form of travel got under our skin. So we enjoyed the distant world before the children were born. We have already stayed in Europe during later bike trips. One of the reasons was that more members started joining our family team. With children, it is simply easier to get in the car or sit directly on the bike in front of the house and return quickly in case of an emergency. It always drew us outside our home country when we were younger, because we thought we would travel here later with the children. And this summer we realized we are five, and that it is time to get to know Slovakia better, where there is a lot of interesting and unknown places to us.
How exactly did you plan the route? Did you have any “checkpoints” like friends or family?
We don’t want to plan much. This is due to a bit of laziness, but also because we have experienced that travel is more interesting when you make the decisions right at the moment and when you look for interesting places according to the advice of the hosts and when you plan only for one to two days in advance. The rough plan was to get on a bike at home, ride around Slovakia for about 2 months, get to Poloniny mountains in the northeastern part of Slovakia, visit friends on the way, meet new interesting people and return home by bike. The further we moved away from Banska Bystrica, our hometown, the fewer friends were on the route respectively we didn’t want to make big detours to them anymore. We have also switched to such a travel mode that it doesn’t really matter where we sleep and we don’t have to stress and limit ourselves to sleeping at friends’ places or in camps. We just went where we liked it. Apart from Poloniny, where we wanted to sleep under the darkest sky in Slovakia, we only had a few planned goals. E.g. upper power plant of the Čierny Váh dam. Evit is dedicated to walking barefoot and promoting this type of walking, so we were also looking for barefoot places along the way, and we wanted to meet people with similar interests.
How difficult was it to pack all 5 family members on one bike and one children trailer?
We packed up surprisingly well. We had everything with us, from sleeping, through cooking, to tools, and we didn’t miss anything important. The tandem can carry four bags and a tent. But the trailer can also carry a lot. In addition, for example, we tied a bag with sleeping bags, which took up a lot of space, to the very backend of the trailer. We also took quite a few clothes. For a maximum of 3 days without washing, but we were prepared for temperatures from five to thirty degrees Celsius. This time, one whole bag was taken up by electronics in the form of a laptop, other flashlights, chargers, etc. We did not take much food or water with us, we only replenished them continuously. We thought several times about how much one actually needs. We managed to make such a journey with just a few things, but at home, we have an apartment full of other things.