Mizu Mission: Maria Kuzma & Roland Morley-Brown
Check out this amazing Mizu Mission - cycling from Austria to Italy with Maria Kuzma, Roland Morley-Brown and one of our favorite partners: Thule.
Hi, my name’s Maria Kuzma and I’m a snowboarder. Over the years I’ve also fallen in love with surfing and I love to be outdoors as much as I can, hiking, camping, biking, climbing and all things adventurous. Having a masters degree in architecture, I’m also working on build projects whether that be a school in Brazil using new materials or working on projects that implement waste to value machinery. My first time snowboarding was on a trip to Fernie BC, while I was living in Borneo Indonesia. I grew up there as a kid and started snowboarding the big mountains of interior BC when I was quite young, that’s what made me want to come to Europe - the big mountains! I also loved riding park when I was younger and a bunch of kiwi friends would go to Penken Park in Mayrhofen. I went there after an NZ winter season and never really stopped going 15 years later.
My name is Roland Morley-Brown. I am a professional snowboarder from New Zealand. Although snowboarding is my passion I also enjoy all varieties of outdoor/adventure activities, from surfing, camping and hiking and of course cycling. I’ve skateboarded and surfed my whole life so when snowboarding was presented to me it really felt like the next natural evolutionary thing to do and I knew from a pretty young age it was definitely something I wanted to pursue all my life. After finishing high-school in Auckland, New Zealand I completed an apprenticeship in carpentry and moved to Queenstown where my passion for snowboarding really accelerated. After my first winter season living in Queenstown finish I meet a friend who lived and worked in Mayrhofen, Austria. It was them that invited me for my first season overseas. That was in 2001 and the rest in history.
Mizu & Mizu Missions
I first saw the Mizu bottles while on a snowboard trip to Japan. I learned who was behind starting the company (snowboarders) and the company core values really aligned with my own. I also have a slight obsession with tea and while snowboarding I always have hot tea with me so I was hooked on the Mizu thermal bottles from the first meeting :) Our “Ride to Rome” mission is such a good fit for the Mizu Missions because we were so limited with the amount of gear we could bring - literally two outfits and a water vessel.
I have always been an absolute fan of Jussi Oksanen for his snowboarding talents and when he co founded Mizu I knew that I would have a similar admiration for the company. I have also been watching the Mizu Missions for a while now and find them very inspiring, so of course I’m very honored to take part in one.
The mission started in the hometown resort of Mayrhofen, Austria and ended in Rome, Italy. With the help of the amazing Eker bikes, Thule accessories and some trains, the whole trip ended up being 850kms. Riding to Rome from Mayrhofen has always been a dream of mine. The architecture and culture of Rome is so rich, something I can never get enough of. Arriving at the north of Lake Garda in the town of Torbole was very surreal! And of course it’s never a true adventure without some difficulties… my left leg froze up after the first few days of cycling and I ended up having to stop every few hours to roll my legs out and do some cold water therapy while cycling down Lake Garda (using the M8 water bottle of course). Also Florence was amazing - I had never been before.
I had cycled a few times from our home in Mayrhofen, Austria to Lake Garda, Italy. It travels along a beautiful purpose-made biking path which follows the Adige River the entire way. I knew the bike path continued all the way to Rome but until now never had the time or opportunity to make the full journey. An absolute highlight for me was the time we spent in Florence. We arrived and cycled through the city right on sunset. Were able to hop off the bikes and stroll around the town square gazing at the insanely giant churches and of course the statue of David and other famous monuments. It was just perfect. Another big highlight for me was cycling through the Tuscany region… surrounded by beautiful rolling fields, vineyards and perfect weather.
"Whenever I get back into touch with nature it’s like finding a deeper connection with myself again. And of course nothing puts on impromptu magical moments like nature does. Exploring also pushes you out of your comfort levels and new experiences basically rewires your brain, ups the gratitude levels, nothing better!" - Maria
"Exploring has pretty much been my life since I was a young child. I grew up in the far north of the north island of New Zealand, surrounded by forests and coastline, everyday after school and all weekend my friends and I were always up to something outside, whether it was hiking, camping, building forts and huts in the bush or surfing and making bonfires on the beach. For me life has always been lived outdoors." - Roland
Reusing While Traveling
Reusing for our Mizu missions, I believe, was super specific. As we were cycling a lot and only had the M8 bottle for hydration we had to plan stops in advance to rehydrate. It helps to be living in a connected/online world where our whole cycle routes could be planned in advance. So in general - just a little extra planning goes a long way - even if it’s ten minutes online and reading the reviews of the routes before you start! My favorite was definitely the classic M8 water bottle. Not only did it keep me hydrated and minimized my plastic waste footprint, it also helped a lot with rolling out my legs when they were sore! To encourage a reduction in single use plastics, I believe, is to get out into nature and start exploring. Once you have a good connection with nature you start to take more responsibility for your habits and their effects on the environment xo!
An obvious tip would be to travel with your own drink bottle and fill up at water fountains or faucets along the way. Something else I do if I have to buy food or other products along the way is look for recyclable packaging because if you can’t reuse it, it’s nice to know it can be recycled. My go to is always the M8 bottle, it fits perfectly in my bike's drink holder and it is tough as nails as it gets banged around a lot. A couple of very easy tips to reusing that I have been practicing lately spring to mind instantly; carry reusable shopping bags or take a backpack when heading to the supermarket. Having a reusable coffee mug handy is also very beneficial for all those takeaway coffees.
"“Enjoy the journey, leave nothing behind” means to me, to be more aware of your impact and do everything with intention. When you use products that are not only reusable but also look beautiful and you have a sense of ownership of that product then it impacts how you move forward." - Maria
"To me this basically translates to, appreciate every aspect of the journey but take all your trash/belongings with you as to leave a clean canvas for the next person." - Roland