We have followed Viktor Zicho’s attempt to cycle to Nordkapp, the northernmost touristic point of Europe, with fingers crossed. His photos and videos shared on Facebook were often breathtaking, and his courage and confidence contributed to confidence in the successful completion of the whole journey. But just hours after Viktor had fulfilled his dream of seeing the aurora borealis from the recumbent seat, unpleasant news came from the hospital in Tromsø, Norway. The expedition ended due to a fall and two broken vertebrae, fortunately, without spinal cord injury. Viktor cycled from Hungary to Norway on his dual 26″ recumbent bike and planned to get back by train. Although Viktor didn’t reach his final destination, he thinks his expedition was successful. Mainly because he met his three objectives. To see the northern lights from the seat of his recumbent. To promote ecotourism and the greener ways of transportation not only through social media, and to prepare for his Himalayan Traverse Expedition coming up next year.
Let’s look at his days in Scandinavia through some of his Facebook posts. They greatly describe the challenging atmosphere of the adventure. Viktor has also answered a few of my questions.
November 25, 2021
Repairing snakebite puncture, bivouacking on an island, wilderness camping in pine woods, and of course riding my recumbent bike in the sunshine!
December 1st, 2021
Good morning! Let’s start riding! I am at halfway. Now comes the harder part.
December 6th, 2021
I love cycling in such weather, on such roads. The temperature is constantly below -10 °C and there is no trace of slush, traffic is low. You ride your bikes in winter too! Coldness is not an obstacle. It’s only about the clothes you wear!
December 14th, 2021
Today I crossed the polar circle. Only 1000 km left.
December 21st, 2021
The rescue team of the Expedition and the endless helpfulness. I left the bike in camping and had a 130 km long bus ride to Bodø, the nearest big city around. Went to the only bike service to get accessories. No freehub, no hub, no wheel on the stock. Insane. Serviceman opens it and cleans it in lack of spare parts. “It will work ” – they claim. Had a bus ride back to the camping, put the wheel back in the bike, and gave it a try: the ratchet releases as before. Damn, what to do?? People around? Shout out online? Laci and Orsi my hosts from Mo i Rana popped up in my mind. I stayed with them 5 days ago. Maybe they have friends who are bike freaks or just have a wheel for sale. Orsi claims their mountain bike’s wheel is 26″ and disc brake one, same as mine and they don’t need it currently. Laci is about to drive in the middle of the night. I still can’t believe it… Laci drove 3 and a half hours to get me their rear wheel. He even brought the tools to change the sprocket! Thanks again for your kind help!!!
December 22nd, 2021
Belatedly, I wish you a happy solstice! Thanks to all who helped my dream come true, especially AZUB recumbents!
December 23rd, 2021
The expedition is over. I had an accident yesterday and my two vertebrae broke. The nerve is not damaged, 100% recovery is expected. I don’t have surgery, but I’m going home without a bike because I can’t lift it.
How are you?
I feel relatively good regarding these circumstances. I have minor pain, and it feels great to celebrate the holidays back home together with my family. I also feel fortunate to have only fractures and no injuries in the spinal cord. It could have been worse hey!
How did you get home and where is your bike now?
Although I wanted to come back home by train and ferry so that the lowest possible emission rates come along with the journey, I had to use flights. It was advised by the doctors and the trains and buses were stopped on the 24th in Norway and Sweden. I left the bike in the town where the accident happened. A local man who helped me get to the local medical center kept the bike. A Hungarian man who lives close to that place has picked up the bike and the gear so now he has my stuff, ready for shipping.
What is the prognosis for your treatment and subsequent rehabilitation?
I have to spend 6 weeks partly disabled, with movement restrictions, for instance, no running and cycling, and no quick movements. Fortunately, I don’t have to spend my time in bed. I have got a stabilizer collar that I should wear if I go for a walk or if I travel somewhere.
What was your plan for the next adventure and do you need to adjust it?
My plan is a World-first entire Himalayan traverse by a mountain bike. I was supposed to depart in early spring but I have to postpone it to June.
What was the most memorable moment of the trip?
I can highlight these moments:
– Watching the northern lights on the last night before my accident.
– Being able to motivate people to get on their bikes in winter.
– Riding in a thin layer of pure powder snow in the sunshine at -16 °C.
Do you have any tips for riding in such cold conditions?
A lot! First of all, don’t be afraid of cold weather! You only need proper clothing and keep on moving. Use lots of layers, avoid SPD shoes and cotton clothes. The best are wool and goose-down things to use. Bring 2 different gloves! Breath through your nose! Drink enough even if you aren’t thirsty at all! Everything is inedible (frozen) except for dry food, butter, and some very mature and salty cheese like Parmigiano. Eat nuts and dry fruits, use your thermo bottles. Spiky tires are a must but they aren’t always reliable. Be careful! Trikes might be a better choice but I have never tried them. Don’t expect that any of your Li-ion battery devices would work. The only thing which worked properly was my Nikon DSLR camera. An inflatable mat and down sleeping bag combo is perfect for a good sleep.
Do you have any message for readers of RECUMBENT.news?
I have a message but it is not a suggestion, nor advice. I want you to have these impulses come from inside, from your heart! Our sport is basically cycling, which is a very green form of transportation. The best result we can get is, if we use our beloved bikes for everyday things, too. We go to the shop, to work or school, we take bulk and heavy luggage on the rack or on a trailer. Two years ago I brought 55 kg on the single rear rack of my recumbent bike in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sick! I can bring almost anything I need from a shop, no matter how heavy it is. E-assist bikes are great for this purpose, they make carrying easier and faster. Charge them with solar! You can be totally green in your everyday transportation. Also, as you are the engine on the bike, try to eat sustainably! Eat more local food and possibly less high-footprint foods like beef and tropical fruits grown on the other sides of the globe. You can access a higher level of consciousness and pureness in your mind and soul by acting like this.
Thank you for your answers!