Magda Klapuch and Dawid (David) Nieslanczyk, who are from southern Poland, stopped in Dalton in April and camped in the backyard of Larry and Lois Ramer as they continue their bicycling tour of the United States. The couple already has traveled across Europe.
DALTON A fun-loving adventurous young couple from southern Poland are living their best lives and making their way – by bicycle, no less – around as much of the world as they can, and last month they stopped in Dalton.
Who better to welcome them and represent the kindness and generosity of the Dalton and Kidron area than Larry and Lois Ramer?
Just before Easter, the Ramers kicked off their season of hosting bicyclists when the unusual pair – each with 85 pounds of gear, including clothing for all four seasons – pushed their pedals along the Ohio to Erie Trail through Wayne County.
Thanks to Warmshowers.org, Magda Klapuch and Dawid (David) Nieslanczyk, contacted the Ramers, who have welcomed road-weary cyclists for years.
Last year, the retired couple made the touring cyclist rest stop in their yard at Henry Street and Wenger Road more official with signs and a little seating area.
The Ramers won’t soon forget their recent visitors.
“They were a really interesting couple to be able to host,” Larry Ramer said.
He said he and Lois enjoyed spending a little time with them and learning about their passion and how they got started. They didn’t want to bombard them with questions, but the couple seemed eager to talk about their trip.
“We feel it’s our time to get the best out of ourselves!” the pair from Poland wrote in a text message to The DGKN at the end of April after arriving in Chicago for a break. “Each journey broadens your horizons, teaches you independence and how to cope with various situations. Each day is a new, unknown scenario for us. We like it. We want to break our own boundaries, look at the world with greater humility, get to know new cultures. What we experience will stay with us forever.”
According to their profile on Warmshowers.org, Magda and Dawid cycled through Europe and are now trekking across the United States. Their journey began in the Netherlands where they worked hard and saved up money for the big trip. “Our dream is cycling around the world and back to Poland from East,” their profile states. They invite anyone to follow along on their adventures on Instagram and Facebook “Bele na Kole,” which means “Just by bike.”
Just over a month ago, on April 6, they shared on their Facebook page, “Enjoy the World from the seat on your bike … Half a year of travel behind us, and what’s ahead?”
Larry Ramer is an avid cyclist himself who is used to long bicycle tour trips so he can relate to what exhausted cyclists may need at the end of the day. A safe place to pitch a tent, and cook a meal among Lois Ramer’s beautiful flower gardens is sometimes all a touring cyclist may need passing through. The Ramers also offer a warm shower and electricity to plug in their smartphones or devices in an area just off of their house so that cyclists always have their privacy. Sometimes they’re able to make breakfast for their visitors the next day and every so often Larry Ramer will even hop on his bicycle himself and join them for a quick ride before the travelers embark on another long stretch toward their next destination.
The Ramers invite their visitors to sign a journal and they’re welcome to include where they’re from and any messages to the Ramers or part of their personal story.
As a member of the non-profit Warmshowers.org Foundation, a community of touring cyclists with more than 185,000 users across the globe, cyclists can get in touch with the Ramers as potential hosts if they’re passing through.
Not all cyclists use the Warmshowers.org site. Larry and Lois Ramer don’t always know much in advance – or at all – who may be pedaling their way to camp in their yard next, or what the travelers have experienced, or where they’re headed as they continue their bicycling adventures. Many who have come through have commented that the Ramers’ rest stop was an answer to their prayers and exactly what they needed. Sometimes just some words of encouragement from a caring couple who can relate to their biking adventures is the fuel a cyclist may need before hitting the road for another long day.
“Since we live right on the trail, to us we just want to share what God has blessed us with and this is one way we feel we can do it,” Larry Ramer said.
Photos on the Polish couple’s social media accounts from last month through Ohio show beautiful landscapes but also show the young cyclists bundled up to fight the cold as they bike through snow and rain. They note the asphalt can be slippery at times and marvel at the size of the country.
On Day 191, their post is poetic and reads in part translated from Polish: “In the morning we are woken up by the sun rays, it smells like the first day of spring. We’re moving lazily, turtles are warming up on every knocked down stump.”
The next photos show pictures of the couple with the Ramers along with some photos of the sites they viewed as they biked through Amish Country.
Klapuch and Nieslanczyk wrote in the text message to The DGKN that Ohio was a great part of the Great American Rail-Trail.
“It consists of many routes that connect the state of Ohio into one coherent whole,” they wrote. “Despite the four small sections that we had to cycling along local roads, the rest of the path led us through beautiful hilly landscapes to the horizon. Fields, forests, wetlands with basking turtles in the sun, Amish farms, former oil fields and railway stations. We had a great time on such a varied section of our route and we will surely remember it for a long time!”
“In Dalton, thanks to the portal warmshowers.org and the hospitality of Larry and Lois Ramer, we were able to stay for one night and regenerate. They surprised us with a perfectly prepared place for thru cyclists looking for a shorter or longer time of rest,” they continued. “We pitched our tent in the garden, used the hot shower, and we had breakfast together in the morning. Access to water, sometimes a roof over your head or even the ability to charge your phones it is so little, and for long-distance travelers it is usually everything. It is beautiful!”
Larry Ramer, who has taken several overnight bike trips over the past few years with his brother, Keith, including a nearly 600-mile tour to and from Ludington, Michigan, which took more than a week, knows what a cyclist is looking for when “living on the road.”
He understands experiencing extreme fatigue at the end of a day of cycling and he and Lois are happy to offer a rest stop along the bike route.
“We enjoy hosting whoever but when we get international guests it adds something a little different to the hosting experience,” he said. “We like to hear of their stories of their homeland and how they got started. I had more questions for them but I understand what it’s like at the end of the day of intense biking. You want to relax.”
Of course, being from Poland, the conversation touched on the couple’s home, which borders Ukraine. They mentioned their families were glad that they were in the United States away from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
When asked about a highlight of their bike-riding trip so far, the cyclists wrote in a text to The DGKN: “Spain is an amazing country where we could sunbathe on the beach one day and walk the mountain trails on the second day. The Sierra Nevada mountain range has made the biggest impression for us so far, we were able to ride our bikes to a height of 10,055 feet and spend a week riding there and reach one of the highest peaks in Spain – Mulhacen.”
They also shared what has been the most challenging part of their trip so far.
“The biggest challenge was the very beginning,” they wrote, “preparing all the necessary equipment and just leaving the house, break our comfort zone. The body gets used to everyday exercise and outdoor lifestyle day and night.”
The season is just beginning for the Ramers but already some other cyclists have stayed with them, including one from Vancouver.
“It’s going to be tough to top that one,” Larry Ramer said of their Polish visitors. “Everyone’s special that stops in. But the uniqueness of it and getting international guests and to have two international people a week apart is very unusual.”
Some work goes into making sure everything is clean and ready for the next guests, but the Ramers wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We enjoy doing it and hope we can continue for awhile yet,” Ramer said.
They hope families and individuals are encouraged to try bicycling and enjoy all the benefits.
“They don’t have to do an around-the-world bike trip to experience biking, but there’s many trails,” Larry Ramer said. “Ohio’s been blessed and our area here especially has been blessed. There are trails in every state that you go to that you can bike on. Some are more difficult and some are easier. It’s a very enjoyable thing if that’s your mindset.”