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Epic Road Trip, Powered by Magna Collaboration

From the assembly line to offroad trails and old Roman roads in Europe, two Magna biking enthusiasts have forged a bond that is inspiring their co-workers to do the same.

It began when Danijel Antolić and Ganda Bagna spent six days last June pedaling 213 miles from Grainau, Germany, to Lake Garda, Italy.

The duo faced extreme weather conditions and other challenges during the grueling Alpine bike adventure. Powering them was a spirit of collaboration that starts at the Magna division in Hanover, Germany, where they have worked together since 2008. The two trained for three months before the trip, riding uphill as much as possible.

Antolić is the shift leader on an assembly line that makes exterior parts for a major OEM; Bagna is a frontline worker and vice chairman of the works council at the plant. Bagna grew up in Niamey, Niger in Africa, while Antolić hails from Desinić, a small village near Zagreb, Croatia.

Danijel Antolic and Ganda Bagna on Via Claudia Augusta
Ganda Bagna
Ganda Banga
Danijel Antolic
Danijel Antolić

It turns out that collaboration can be a superpower, whether you’re on the job or a mountain bike. When employees are nurtured and encouraged, relationships grow.

“Danijel has been a disciplined shift leader, but very respectful,” explained Bagna. “It’s the same when we train together for our bike trips. Throughout it all, we’re just friends. I thank Magna for making that happen.”

Antolić adds: “Ganda has an incredible work ethic. Our families have become friends, too. When I said I wanted to do an Alpine bike tour, Ganda said ‘I’m coming with you.’”

They made the trip on 12-speed mountain bikes and kept travel journals on their mobile phones. Excerpts include:

Day One: Backpacks 17 pounds. Too heavy. Discarded some items at stop. Extreme heat. Ran out of water; drank from glacier-fed river. Handlebars loose on Ganda’s bike.

Day Two: Rode gravel trails and Via Claudia Augusta, an old Roman road in Austria. Tracks of carriages still visible. Awesome.

Day Three: Crossed border to Italy in the direction of Lago di Resia. Progress! Eating pizza every night.

Day Four: Four hours of heavy rain, Latsch to Fondo, Italy. Tough going. Ate Sacher torte cake as reward.

Day Five: Downhill to Cavedago in perfect weather!

Day Six: Reached goal – Riva del Garda!

Map outlining the trip from Grainau, Germany to Riva del Garda, Italy
Travelling along Via Claudia Augusta
Ganda pushing the bike up a steep portion of Via Claudia Augusta
Travelling along Via Claudia Augusta from the perspective of riding a bike

“A person walking by us at Lake Garda took our picture,” Antolić said. “I still like looking at the photo and remembering our achievement. It was a personal challenge.”

A new trip is in the works starting June 17, with two more Magna employees from the Hanover division, including an IT specialist who is new to the company. Again, they will be wearing special Magna shirts for the trip that will take a different route from Germany to Italy.

“This new opportunity came up because Magna and especially our General Manager have been so supportive of our plans,” said Antolić. “He wants us to be an inspiration for others and I am very thankful for that.”

Adds Bagna: “We’re happy to be part of the Magna team at work and on the road.”

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