The Niewieczerzal family cycles up and down, over logs and rocks and along many long paths in the forest. On their mountain bikes, they get really close to nature and get training and challenges at the same time.
Five days a week, they whiz forward on two wheels through the forests around Boden. Spouses Piotr and Ewa Niewieczerzal have really stuck to mountain biking, or MTB as the die-hards say.
– It’s freedom, you can cycle wherever you want. It really is a nature experience, nature is so close. The best is when you get the flow and become one with the path. You do not have to think, you just bike and it feels right, you get a lot of dopamine, says Piotr.
The sons Filip, nine years old, and Sebastian, soon to be seven, also hang out in the woods and like to do tricks and jumps. Piotr has been cycling for many years and Ewa started three years ago. Then it was mostly to be able to go with the family but now she is also an enthusiast.
– The challenge and to cope with certain paths, it’s fun. I may not be able to go all the way the first time or the second, but the third time I release the brakes and – “Yes, it works!”. It is fantastic. I’m still scared, I’m braking and I fall but it’s fun, says Ewa.
In MTB there are different genres, such as downhill and enduro, but here in Boden it is cross country that is best suited, when driving through the terrain and it can go both up and down.
– There is a lot to choose from and really fun terrain. There are so many opportunities in that type of cycling here, says Piotr.
– Around all the forts there are lots of nice paths. But the ones that are easiest to find and well marked are in Pagla and on Gruvberget, says Ewa.
In the bicycle rack of the Niewieczerzal family there are also ordinary bicycles for ordinary roads. They have been on holidays to France, Germany, Austria and Italy. The family leaves the car and rides around for three to four weeks with tents and packing in bicycle bags. Between the campsites, they experience the destinations up close, without filtering car windows. When Filip and Sebastian were little, they rode in a bicycle cart after Piotr and nowadays they ride with semi-trailers that you can connect to after the adults’ bicycles when it gets too heavy.
– This year we took the children to the Dolomites and it was a bit of a challenge to cycle up to an altitude of 2000 meters, says Ewa.
On Wednesdays, eight to ten members from CK Sävast’s MTB section meet to cycle together. The goal is to have fun and the cycling is at a level that everyone should be able to handle.
– We only ride very socially, it is not training but we cycle around in the forests and you get to see new paths. Many people think that forest cycling is very dangerous, but you decide for yourself how and where you want to cycle. You can cycle on gravel roads or paths, no one is forcing you to go crazy, it will come with time if you want, says Piotr.
Ewa is usually the only woman in the company, but she wishes that more people would take the step and dare to the meetings.
– There are many girls who cycle but who never come to the meetings. I think many people have the feeling that “I will not be able to keep up, I will get tired and everyone will drive slowly because of me”. But on Wednesdays, it’s about everyone being involved and testing, says Ewa.
The tougher workouts they plan for other days of the week. In the last year, the couple has started training with a personal cycling trainer. He gives them training programs and follows the tours in the terrain via GPS.
– We cycled more and more and more and more and began to think about whether you might exaggerate, says Piotr.
For them, the biggest benefit lies in not cycling too much and supplementing with strength training and running.
– When I started cycling, it was because I wanted to move and react to stress, but when I started to get deeper into it, the goal changed. Now I train because I like training in itself, the process of getting better, says Piotr.
Ewa and Piotr like to compete and it sometimes happens that Piotr ends up on the podium. They go around to big competitions in Sweden and Poland that sometimes last for several days.
– When there are stage races of 5-6 days, I just try to manage them, for me it’s great. The feeling of finishing the last stage day is incredible, I cry every time, says Ewa.
There are also smaller events in Norr- and Västerbotten. Filip and Sebastian usually follow here because there are usually competitions for children as well. In Boden, CK Sävast organizes a number of training competitions every year and the association has applied to build a permanent mountain bike track on Gruvberget with a pump track for the children.
Ewa and Piotr both come from Poland, they are dentists and run their own clinic Kungsbrotandläkarna. The couple met during the last semester of their dental education and even then it was clear that the moving load would go to Boden after graduation.
– It was me. When I started studying to be a dentist, I was visiting acquaintances of my parents. I would come and work a little in the summer and I fell in love with the peace and nature here, that was it, says Ewa.
She decided to come here every summer, started reading Swedish, and got an internship as a dental student.
– I was at Folktandvården every summer and then it was ready. Finish studying and come. Then I just called and said we could come two.
They started working at Folktandvården in Boden in 2008, bought a house in Sävast in 2009 and started the clinic in 2012.
– It was a period when we did nothing but work. Now we have landed here so now we have time to cycle, says Piotr. #