#Skelia_talks with Oleh, Team Lead at Skelia Lviv office.

Good deeds inspire us to become better. Kindness and charity make our world a safer place to live in. Meanwhile, once we see people gaining success, that’s what definitely makes us feel proud, right? On top of that, what truly brings motivation is when we see individuals doing what they really enjoy. Today, we’ll be chatting with Oleh, our Team Lead from Skelia Lviv office. Oleh is really into bikes.

  • Welcome, Oleh! Tell us more about you, how it all started for you at Skelia. 
  • Hi, I’ve been working at Skelia for more than 2 years. I started working as an automation QA engineer, now I work as a Team Lead. I like working at Skelia because it’s a trustworthy company and it does have a charming office. It’s nice that we have separate rooms, not an open space room. And for me, that’s really important. And I want to add that my project is more than excellent, I’ve worked here since the moment it joined Skelia and I’m very glad. I was very happy to hire people for this project and I’m very satisfied to work with them.
  • Is this your very first time working as a Team Lead?
  • Yes, that’s right.
  • And how is it going?
  • I do not know (laughter). Well, surely, I have a great opinion of myself, but I try to monitor external opinions as well. Actually, our customer says “We are perfect (team), as usual”.
  • As usual? Oh, that is flattering to hear! Okay, now tell us about your hobby – bikes, how did you start, why did you choose bikes and not any other hobby?
  • I must say that I’ve always liked to ride a bike since I was a small child. When I was 5 years old, I was presented with my very first bike, it was called “zaychyk“. Then I learned to ride it without 2 extra wheels it had for support. Later, I had an “evrika” it’s like “tysa” bicycle. And then, after I finished the first 5 years of school with good marks, my dad gave me a super cool MTB bike. After the previous two, this one was so modern and cool, I loved it a lot. Surely, we had friends with whom we hang out. Over time, we started street and extreme biking. Then I also rode on a BMX, and in parallel, I was building a street bike for bike stunts, first, it had 26inch wheels which I soon remade for 24 inches. Then a couple of times I went to the downhill competitions in Truskavets, Bukovel. I did not take part in the competition, just the day after the competition I rode on the same track. I really enjoyed it. But I must say that as I got older, all these tricks and jumps, downhill became a bit dangerous in my opinion. So, I started riding a cross country bike. As some time has passed, I began to notice that I rode many kilometers per one ride, more than 30-40. I decided to look for some groups on Facebook where I could find people who share my interests. I found a “Lviv bicycle club” and there was an announcement of a test trip for 100 km. At first, I thought it was an introductory trip for those who want to participate in the official “100 km ride”. So, I was happy to register, this was my first “official” group ride. When I arrived, there were around 30 people, some were even quite older folks. We started our trip, usually, when riding such distances, we have groups of 2-3 people, where we can talk and get to know more about each other. When we rode 30 kilometers, I asked a man who was riding next to me when we are planning to go back. He said – “when we’ll finish the 100 km”. I thought “wow”. But it somehow worked out, so basically, this was my first long ride. It was 2016. And after that, I went to the official spring 100 km event and on the same bike and it took me 4 hours to finish the race. After that ride, I realized that I like riding that way. I started cycling to work more often. I eventually bought a cyclocross bike on 28inch wheels, with a carbon fork, without suspension. All following races I rode on it. I mean spring and autumn races.
Skelia talks with Oleh, Team Lead in Lviv
  • What an interesting story! And what is the longest distance you have made so far?
  • The longest was probably 200 kilometers, maybe even 208. First, it started as a usual bike ride with some friends, I guess we rode to Rava Ruska, then I decided to ride by myself and just enjoyed the moment. And later, when I returned to Lviv, I’ve noticed the distance. But still, I didn’t register for the Lviv official 200 km race, it’s a bit of too much for me.
  • Why?
  • Well, it takes around 3.5 hours for me to ride 100 km and 200 km will take around 7. I’m not morally prepared for this track.
  • I see. And what do you like most about your hobby? What keeps you doing it again and again? Why don’t you want to try other sports activities?
  • Well, in general, when I look at the indicator that I can ride this kind of long distances then it means that I keep myself in a relatively normal physical shape. Although it’s actually easier than it seems, I always try to invite friends for these races. Everyone for some reason thinks that to ride 100 kilometers is extremely hard. But it’s not, in fact, it’s much easier than everyone thinks. When a race starts, it’s a bit difficult, but then you get involved in the normal pace and that’s where you start feeling yourself really good. It’s probably adrenaline. Maybe not, there is nothing so extreme. But you can feel really well. And also, you do not need to have a very high level of physical training to start. 
  • Okay, but it can become hard sometimes. What was your hardest race?
  • Let me think…Oh, last fall I raced without any training at all. I probably did not ride a bike for a couple of months, I just took it and went for the race. Yes, it was a bit difficult. But it’s probably more difficult in your mind because you constantly think that you were not prepared. But I managed to overcome myself and everything ended great.
  • You say a lot about race preparation. So, tell us please how the preparation for the race looks like in fact?
  • Well, for me it looks this way. From the end of March, I start riding mostly after work. 25-50 kilometers a day. And that’s all. Also, it’s very important for a cyclist to plan a diet, you need to eat properly. Without water or a snack, it’s very difficult to cover the entire distance, you can start feeling really bad and weak. We use isotonic as drinks and the food is mostly carbohydrate bars or gels, they are convenient at a distance. 
  • I see. But in order to participate, what do you need except for the bicycle?
  • Well, you have to pay for your participation (laughter).
  • And besides that, maybe there’s some equipment such as a helmet or gloves that you need?
  • Of course, when you start riding more and more, you’ll learn all these nuances by yourself. You need special clothing so that it dries quickly and is should be aerodynamic, but not blown through. Also, you need shorts or pants with a gel pad to make it more comfortable to sit. You need these things for sure. Gloves are needed depending on the weather. And shoes – this is one of the major points. Often people buy contact pedals that are attached to the sole. And accordingly, when you ride, you can increase your efficiency by 15-20 percent.
  • Okay. And what is the hardest part of the distance? Or are there any points that make it hard to ride?
  • The worst thing when you ride is wind. That’s for sure. It always happens, and you cannot hide from it anywhere. It depresses your mood a lot. For example, if before the turn, the wind blew in your back, and then it starts blowing into you – your pace drops very much. And it’s certainly frustrating. There is also a possibility of falling during the race or puncturing the tire, luckily enough, it didn’t happen to me. Apart from the first race, I didn’t even take any repair equipment with me so as not to be overweight. The probability of puncturing the wheels is quite low. Also, sometimes it’s raining but it’s not such a big problem since you are constantly moving, you feel warm and basically, you don’t care about the rain.
Skelia talks with Oleh, Team Lead in Lviv 2020
  • Do you encourage people to take part in the races?
  • Well, I try to share motivation. The main thing for a person is just to start riding and understand whether it works for them or not. It’s great to engage someone, to have a company while riding. Plus, if you can go together at the same pace, it’s great, you can discuss all sorts of things along the way. Especially cool is when your friends go with you, the ones you have not seen for a long time. Once, I was riding with a classmate, it was very cool. Until then, he was not very prepared, but he liked to ride. I additionally motivated him, and he supported me as well. We had a great time and reached the goal together.
  • Right, I see that you mean. What about now, are such races held during quarantine?
  • Well, not now since a lot of people typically gather at such events. Especially at the start. And now, we are restricted from being into big crowds, you know. Currently, the spring race has been postponed to June 13, it will probably be held. It was supposed to be at the beginning of May, this is when the season typically begins. But not this year.
  • And what happens once the race is over?
    We take pictures at the finish; we also have a sort of picnic with music and the winners get their prizes.
  • Do you take part in such races abroad?
  • Well, not in a professional manner. But sometimes, we go just to Poland to ride near the border and explore the territory.
  • How would you assess the opportunities for cyclists in Lviv?
  • Since 2016, we have a vast majority of participants in such races, I would say around 1000. Now, of course, more and more people are joining, it is becoming more popular. The number of bicycle paths in the city has also increased, which is gratifying.
  • Okay, thanks! We wish you all the best with your great hobby!

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About Skelia

Skelia, a Nortal company, is an international leader in building cross-border IT and engineering organizations and affiliate companies in Eastern-Europe. For over a decade, we have provided staff augmentation services to a diverse range of clients—from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. We operate in Luxembourg, the UK, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Poland, and the US.