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Novi Sad cyclist Zoltan Tarjan, during his active career, which recently ended, was a long-term representative of our country, but also the driver of a professional team from Crete. Although he now regularly follows current events in cycling in his well-deserved cycling retirement, Zoltan is the right person to convey the best advice for starting a cycling career.
"Even after the end of my career, I try to help future cyclists, regardless of whether they opt for professional practice or will be just recreational. There are many doubts about cycling, equipment, training, and in fact there are so many benefits of cycling from the point of view of healthy living and it just needs to start, ”Zoltan told us at the beginning of the interview for Oradio.
Summer is the time for bicycles, but for the biggest race in the world, it is the Tour de France. How far do you get to follow the race, who is your favorite cyclist?
Of course, I try to send as many stages as possible, if possible from the beginning, but the scope of work and obligations do not always allow me to do that. As far as cheering is concerned, I always try to cheer for the younger ones, and at this moment the Slovenes are very good, so somehow I cheer for them the most. For those who don't know, drivers are generally divided into those who prefer sprints and lowland stages and those who are better in the hills, although there are also those who can universally drive both equally well.
You were a professional driver for a few years. How did you get to that level and what is the life of a professional cyclist like?
I come from a cycling family, my grandfather and father were involved in cycling, so it was logical that I would continue that tradition. I started as a child and continued through the junior competition, where I came to the national team of the former Yugoslavia, and later as a permanent member of the Serbian national team. I went to all the major international competitions, collected points and got a chance to be invited by a professional team. Calls from professional teams from France, Germany, Italy and Greece followed. I chose the latter because it is closest to us and Greece also has a great tradition of riding on the track, in the gym, for which I specialized the most. Bicycles are ridden there, which have only one speed with which it moves and ends, and care must be taken both when moving and when standing, because it cannot stop abruptly.
As for the types of bicycles, what would you recommend to someone who wants to start doing this sport recreationally?
I would definitely recommend the basic model to start with, of course to be a racing bike, to have an aluminum frame and more solid mechanics, not some basic one that will break down quickly. Most racing bikes already come with equipment that will allow you to easily cover 50 to 100 kilometers. With adequate maintenance, this bike can serve you for several years without any problems. Of course, after a while, mileage and hanging out with other drivers, you will realize that you want to improve, but that is individual. In addition to the bicycle, the equipment necessary for cycling is very important, and these include: a protective helmet without which I would not recommend anyone to go for a ride, regardless of whether you go around the city or somewhere in nature, and this applies to the whole world. . In addition to the helmet, there are protective gloves, a seat that should be facing the person, cycling shorts are also important, sneakers, ...
How much can this kind of equipment and bike cost?
As for racing bikes, the basic models in the store are around fifty thousand dinars, and such a bike is quite good and enough to start with. As far as the equipment is concerned, the helmets are somewhere around seven thousand dinars, there are also cheaper ones, but I do not recommend them because the helmet is not for decoration but has its own function. If we add everything together around one hundred thousand dinars, it is a set of equipment with a bicycle that can serve you for several years.
And if someone wanted to buy some of the best and I guess the most expensive bike, how much money would they have to set aside? What is the price of bicycles ridden by professionals in world races?
Here, too, the prices vary depending on the equipment, but the average price of a good bicycle is around fifteen thousand euros. Frames are specially made for riders, of a special design, so such bicycles cost twice as much as this price, with each serious cyclist having at least one if not two identical replacement bicycles that are used in case of a fall or defect. In addition, there are several points that depend on the type of track.
And what about mountain bikes? Shock absorbers, disc brakes…?
As far as off-road is concerned, here again we have to separate the competitive models from the recreational ones. For recreation, it is desirable that the model has a shock absorber, the front, while the rear, at least for a start, is not necessary. Similar to the road model, the basic model is around forty thousand dinars and more, but such a model can already serve nicely when you go to Fruška gora. If you want something more than recreation, then of course you need a more serious model with more expensive equipment.
Which is your favorite destination, where would you recommend our fellow citizens to take a ride?
There are a lot of trails on Fruška gora that you can ride and enjoy, so it is very difficult to choose one tour. As for me, I prefer flatter trails because it is my specialty, so I like it the most and the route I really like is Novi Sad to Backa Palanka, crossing to Croatia and back over the ridge of Fruška gora, Susek, Banoštor all the way to Novi Sad .
If a recreational athlete wanted to try a real bike race, where could he do it?
There are recreational bicycle races organized by the cycling club "Elite" from Novi Sad called the Danube Cup, which has been organized for 25 years. As part of that, there are several races, not only in Novi Sad and its surroundings, but throughout Serbia, and even outside the borders of our country. In addition to the competition, there are many other associations where people can join, organize and start recreational cycling.