He cannot imagine his life without bicycles. Back in the days of socialism, there were no good bicycles in Czechoslovakia, so Vladimír learnt how to build them himself. A racer himself at the time, nowadays he trains the youth team at the Dukla cycling club in Prague. His company also fixes the club’s bicycles.
Vladimír has built all manner of contraptions over his life. “As a trained locksmith I always tried to harness the skills craftsmen had in the past,” says Vidim, who has created replicas of all sorts of historical bicycles, including a draisine, boneshaker and a penny-farthing. Aside from building bicycles, he also rides them and has broken dozens of records. On his penny-farthing, for example, he managed to ride 470 kilometres without his feet touching the ground once. He didn’t get off the bike for 23 hours. To make this record, Vladimír had to ask a group of his friends to ride ahead and check that there was no train approaching and that all the crossing gates were open. He thought up his SLAVIA project, culminating in his participation in L’Étape, as another major challenge.