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PAWEŁ - to keep your balance, you must keep moving

Our company employs talented people a wide range of interests. In this artice of our series "Let's get to know each other!", we would like to introduce Paweł, whose great passion is cycling.

PAWEŁ - to keep your balance, you must keep moving

Paweł is a machine tool operator, a foreman working in the production hall at the Wadowice Plant, in the lathe department. Below we present a short interview, in which he tells us about his passion, and also tells a few words about the production capabilities of our company.

How long have you been working in our company and what do you do?

I have been working at PONAR Wadowice since March 2007 (with a year break). I spent half of that time as an operator in the heavy lathe department. After that, I was a machine setter for the entire lathe area. For six years I have had the pleasure of being a foreman in a steadily growing department. At the moment, the range of my activities includes: light, heavy and manual lathes, CNC centers and hole grinders, as well as manual processing centers and grinders. In addition to these areas, there is also a quenching, ironworks, a flaw detector, a press and a rolling mill.

We work, among others, on the following machines: DMG, STUDER, TAE, heat treatment furnace etc.

My tasks include maintaining continuity of production with the highest efficiency of the team. It entails a large number of issues, starting from strictly technical and ending with personnel matters.

What elements are made on the machines and in what products are they used?

In our department, we manufacture a lot of elements, mainly the details for our products.

What do you like most about your job?

In my opinion, mainly lots of interesting challenges and the lack of routine. Let me explain: people are the backbone of any company. Even with the best machinery, someone has to operate it. We have a very strong team of experienced operators, as well as more and more new faces who learn about the issues of the Production Department. And it is the employees who create the atmosphere in the company. We respect each other and this is the key to our mutual understanding.

The number of issues is so large that there are no two identical days, even two identical hours!

Where did your interest in bicycles come from? Why this particular sport and not e.g. skiing?

I have been riding a bike since I was five. However, then and for the next few years, it served me more as a mean of transport to school (2.5 km away) than as a training tool. However, I have always been interested in sports. I passionately watched sporting events, and then imitated my idols to impress my friends. Cycling caught my attention when I already had access to satellite TV and watched for hours broadcasts of great races such as the "Giro di Italia" and the "Tour de France". I especially loved the mountain stages where the best of the best won. As for the skis... I have them, but I haven't been skiing for several seasons so as not to get injured. I must mention here that my other great passion is the mountains and these two passions intertwine.

What kind of cycling do you do?

I started with MTB (mountain biking - editorial note), then came the road and that's how it stayed. Although recently I have returned to mountain biking again.

How would you explain the differences between amateur and professional cycling?

The topic is very complex and I could talk about it for hours. For me, professionals are people who live from this sport. It is a very hard and demanding discipline of endurance sport, which brings together the best players. However, the difference between PRO riders and amateurs is in many cases very small, mainly because an ordinary mortal, if only he has time and money, can train just like the best riders.

Is it true that a good performance bike can buy a good car?

Yes, it's true - although the prices differ and everyone can find something in their price range. However, if we are talking about high-end bikes, the best models cost 60-80 thousand zlotys (although this year an Italian company exceeded the barrier of 100,000). I have a slightly different conversion factor: to illustrate how much the "rocket science technology" used in bicycles costs, let's imagine a car priced at PLN 70,000 and weighing 1.5 tons, i.e. a kilogram of a car is valued at about PLN 50/kg, while a bicycle that costs the same as the aforementioned car, costs PLN 10,000/kg!

What competitions have you participated in and which are you most proud of?

I've only been riding on the road for 8 years, but I managed to take part in some interesting competitions. The greatest successes came when I discovered that it is possible to do more than 100 km on a bike! First it was 200, then 300, 400, 500 and I got to 1030 kilometers in one go. It is impossible to list all the marathons in which I participated, but it is definitely worth mentioning: "Tour de Silesia 500 km", "Małopolska 500 km", "Marathon Traveler 500 km", "Bałtyk-Bieszczady 1030 km" (2 times), and many others. Of course, there were also classic cycling races, such as the iconic "Tatra Road Race" or "Tour de Pologne Amateurs". I have also successfully completed "Everesting", i.e. ascending one climb to the height of 8848 m in a row (this particular climb had to be left 63 times!). Of course, I am most proud of the competitions in which I stood on the podium or which I won. However, reaching the finish line over such long distances, often soaked and frozen to the bone, is always a great reason to be proud and motivates for further challenges.

Biggest sporting success?

I hope it's still ahead of me!

What's the hardest thing about this sport?

Definitely finding time, reconciling passion with work and family and home duties. It happens that after the second shift you have to do training to catch up. In addition, during the summer there are night trainings (especially on weekends) to adapt the body to driving without sleep.

Does your family support your passion?

At least they say they do! (laughs) You have to compromise many times because family is the most important thing to me!

How often and where do you train?

To maintain a relatively high level, I need 5-6 workouts a week, which gives 13-14 thousand per year. kilometers traveled and about 170-210 thousand. meters vertically. As a curiosity, I can say that I make 9-10 thousand by car! We have great conditions for cycling. Beskid Mały, Żywiecki or Makowski are real El Dorado, although it happened that I was going from Wadowice to Gdańsk! (laughter)

How to reconcile cyclists and drivers?

Unfortunately, it's not so colorful here. In my opinion, the roads are getting more and more dangerous. First of all, participants in the movement often lack imagination. Although both sides have their "behind the ears", when driving a car, remember that a cyclist will never have a chance in a collision with a motor vehicle.

The most important thing I can ask for is:

- drivers, keep a minimum distance of 1.5 m from the cyclist when overtaking,
- cyclists, use helmets, even if it's a trip to the corner store.

This piece of styrofoam on my head has saved me at least a few times!!!

What plans for the future?

I will not cheat my age and I will have to slowly put away my participation in competitions and start working on other projects related to expeditions. I already have a few ideas for this year, but for now I don't want to talk about them (so as not to jinx it!). I will probably walk more than ride in the mountains, because as they say, "old love does not rust". One thing is for sure, the bike will always be ready for the next trip!




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