Archive for Februar, 2008

Critical Mass Ride in San Diego

Freitag, Februar 29th, 2008

This was wonderful coincidence! I am only in the US for a few days and I had only heard about Critical Mass but there was actually a Critical Mass ride in San Diego.

The general idea behind it is to have all kinds of bicycle enthusiasts to get together and ride together to create awareness in society of the huge bicycling communities ( San Diego seems to have this every last Friday of the month meeting at 7pm at the fountain in Balboa Park ( I have heard that in the past they had over 200 people join in for the ride. There is no route or destination – who ever is at the front leads the way. Families with children ride among, people who use the bike to commute to work, track bike racers, street racers, bike freaks, cool BMX kids, mountain bike lovers and many others and the fixed gear riders.

This was my first Critical Mass I have taken part in. I wanted to get there a bit earlier but we spent so long in the Velo Culture Bike shop to get my new Corima frame all ready to ride. I think I rode my bike for about 2 meters before putting on the pick up truck and driving to the Critical Mass meeting point. The ride had very good vibe and was really fun. Somebody counted 475 cyclists all cycling together. There are some videos on youtube. I only took pictures at the break:

Critical Mass taking a Break

Cool Fixed Gear Bike

Critical Mass Break

Fixed Gear Gang

So the San Diego Critical Mass was the inaugural ride on my new Corima fixed gear bike! It rides really smooth even uphill with the 70 gear inch. It was such a great feeling. And not only that, I actually also had my trick bike with me and did some tricks before the mass of bicyclists started riding through downtown and outskirts of San Diego:

Ines Brunn Headstand on a Trick Bike

Happy Ines I am very happy after I performed on my trick bike! Click here to see a video of my performance that night.

San Diego Fixed Gear Ride

Donnerstag, Februar 28th, 2008

It is so cool that there is such a fixed gear bike scene in San Diego. Every Thursday is the E.Vill Doers get together and ride. If you have a fixed gear bike just come to the parking lot on 8th Street and Market Street at 7pm. Check it out on

As I was in town I joined tonight. I did not yet have a track bike, just my trick bike so they did not ride very far nor fast. We played around with the bikes. Many people wanted to try my trick bike and as an exchange I tried out their tack bikes. It was a very fun evening. I took quite a few pictures which I uploaded to flickr
E.Vill Doers Meeting Point

Fixed Gear Track Stand

At the ocean front we did some balancing (nobody fell in):

Riding on the Edge of the Ocean

Track Stand on the Edge of the Ocean

And just some riding around:

Playing around on a Fixie

Playing around on a Fixie

Fixed Gear Bike

Some guys did cool skids (that is what you call the technique of stopping a fixed gear bike with your legs only. Most fixed gear bikes do not have a hand brake) but I failed to shoot nice pics. Here is one picture of a skid:

Fixed Gear Skid

…and some last crazy tricks before we went to the Neighborhoor:

Handle Bar Spin

San Diego Neighborhood

Corima Frame from Allyson

Mittwoch, Februar 27th, 2008

The best Christmas surprise was an email I received with the title „sponsorship“. I moved it to the spam folder because I did not want some blue pills or some extra inches free of charge. Luckily that person had also filled out the contact form on my homepage with the same title „sponsorship“. I was surprised: A person called Allyson Vought was asking if I would be interested in getting a track bike frame sponsored. Of course! I had only been searching for about 8 months and wanted nothing more badly then a fixed gear track bike. Of course I would be interested to get a frame free of charge!

So I started communicating with Allyson to find out that she is not only the importer of high end bikes from companies like Koga-Miyata and Corima but moreover a extremely amazing woman. She is over 50 and still rides track bike races in the velodrome. And not just a bit, she is really good and really fast. She is an idol showing that you can still achieve outstanding records and push the limits when most people just sit down and say with a sigh „…oh I am too old for that“. I want to stay physically fit till I die. That is my goal.

Allyson Vought is also an artist and does a lot of Walt Disney related artwork. And she used to fly formations and do many other interesting things. But here is a picture of the Corima track bike frame that she gave to me free of charge. I still can’t believe it. Thank you so much Ally!

Allyson and Corima

USA Instead of India

Dienstag, Februar 26th, 2008

Beginning of this year I had already planned that I will be in India in the middle of February. So I was running around getting the documents ready for my Indian visa application which I then applied for just before my trip to Thailand. Unfortunately I then heard rumors that there was a delay for all requested Indian visas in Beijing. I was slightly nervous if I would actually get my passport back on time for my trip to Thailand or if I would let my friends enjoy there holiday in Thailand while I would be left back in Beijing with all the horrible firecrackers. But I was lucky I got my passport with Indian visa back on time so I went on holiday.

And now? I am actually not in India, I am in the USA. I am in sunny San Diego.

Hidden Japanese Restaurant/Lounge

Sonntag, Februar 24th, 2008

Today we decided to go again to a nice hidden and hard to find small Japanese Lounge with food. I went there riding my 36 inch unicycle. That always attracts a lot of attention in the streets. One great effect: all cars stop and let you pass.

The lounge is just in an apartment building in the Dawanglu Soho complex on the 35th floor. It has a wide selection of Manga books, so some Japanese men come here to read those Japanese comics. One person red about 60 book while we were there. It has a nice atmosphere, not only at night.

Japanese Lounge in Beijing

As it is on the 35th floor and on the famous Chang An Boulevard there is a superb view of Beijing. We had been there last weekend and I had taken the following pictures. It was such a clear day that from almost the east 3rd ring road we could see all the way west past the west 5th ring road until the West Mountains and Fragent Hills:

View of Beijing Skyline

Here a proof that we really could see really far. In the right of this picture is the TV tower which is on the west 3rd ring road. Please also see the amount of cars on the Chang An Boulevard in the front left side of the picture.

Beijing West Mountains

At night the traffic stream at least looks nice…

Traffic on Changan Boulevard

The lounge has some nice Japanese food which are served on the typical lunch box style plates and with misu soup. Before 6pm they have an all you can drink (for soft drinks and tea or coffee) which is really nice. They also have Sochu sour and free internet 🙂


Construction of the New CCTV Building

Samstag, Februar 23rd, 2008

The other day I passed by the construction site of the new . This building has a unique shape – referred to as a Z criss cross. The CCTV Headquarter Building is 230m high and will have a floor area of about 400,000m2. It combines space for administration, news, broadcasting, studios and program production – encompassing the entire process of TV making. The outside structure is now almost finished:

CCTV Headquarter Building

Unfortunately I did not take many pictures in regular intervals to document the progress of the construction (that would have been nice… maybe next time they build such an outstanding building…). I did take some. Here was how it looked like on Mai 3rd 2007:

The CCTV Headquarters Building

For a long time the two sides of the building were separate, just like two towers. When they got really close everybody was often asking“Are they touching yet?“. This is how it looked like on October 28th 2007. It is hard to see in this small resolution, but they were not touching at all on this picture:

China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarter

But yes, now they definitely are touching, as can be seen here. And oops there is a small fire from the welding (Feb 16th 2008):

China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarter Building

Full Moon

Donnerstag, Februar 21st, 2008

Today is the 14th day after Lunar New Year which is a full moon night. This is the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. Today Chinese people eat little glutinous rice balls in a sweet soup. And they also light almost as many fire crackers as on Chinese New Year’s Eve. A few years back fireworks and fire crackers were forbidden in Beijing. Since they allowed it again it seems like people are going crazy. Every day (since I came back) there were fire crackers in the evening. But today it started at about 3 pm and now it is almost midnight and there are still many and they are still really loud. Chinese prefer to have loud fire crackers to scare away the demons. Sure here and there somebody does actually light up the sky with some fire works.

Fire Works

But then those fireworks seem to generate more smoke than light.

I did not write anything last weekend, the weather was just great and we went climbing in our park on our artificial wall again. This time there was no wind and it was really nice in the sunshine. But most of our climbing friends still think it is too cold and prefer to go to an indoor stuffy, smoky and expensive bouldering place.

Ritan Rock Climbing Wall - Touchstone

Since a few months our wall now has the big red logo of a sponsor. They sponsored the prizes for the climbing competiton we had at mid autumn festival. But I think the wall looked nicer without it…

Back in Beijing

Freitag, Februar 15th, 2008

It is great to be back in China. After a full day of work we decided to go to our favorite neighborhood Sichuan restaurant to finally enjoy Chinese food again. And even more: We did get the good service we had been missing in Thailand. From the time the lady that took our order had left our table it took:

  • 2:50 min till we had our drinks (fresh suan mei tang)
  • 4:40 min till the first dish was on the table (da bai cai)
  • 6:35 min till the Chinese style french fries arrived (xiang la tu dou si)
  • 13:10 min till the huge plate of dried red chillies with chicken bones filled up our table (chong qing  la zi ji)

It all tasted great! And the portions were huge. And we got more food than what we would have gotten for that price in Tonsai or Railay. And the waitresses were friendly, even when we said we do not want to use the expensive packaged chop sticks and requested her to give us the free chop sticks. I was really missing the Chinese cuisine so I am happy to be back in Beijing. Maybe we will go for some Xinjiang food tomorrow, or maybe first for some Dongbei food, or Shanxi, or Hunan, or Yunnan, or Taiwan, or Shanghai, or Hakka, or…

Happy New Year

Donnerstag, Februar 7th, 2008

The year of the Rat has just begun. I got the stiches in my heel taken out. It can only get better.

Yesterday we celebrated our Chinese New Year’s Eve with our now 38 friends (2 came later) from Beijing with a Chinese banquette dinner with mainly Thai style food and pizza. The Chinese had imported some Chinese high percentage alcohol (Maotai). I tried to argue that as I had been taking antibiotics I unfortunately cannot drink alcohol. But it did not work, especially because Julien told the Chinese that I took my last tablet 5 hours before. So I did have to drink, but just a bit. Not as much as our Chinese friends.

We did the countdown for midnight according to the Beijing time so that we all could go to bed earlier (Thailand is 1 hour behind China). Getting up early for climbing before it gets too hot and being outdoors all day does make us tired in the evenings.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Rock Climbing in Krabi

Dienstag, Februar 5th, 2008

Well the titel says what I would like to be doing. Yes I am in in the rock climbing paradise of Thailand: Krabi. I am staying with my boyfriend in a hut in the jungle on Tonsai Bay.


All our 36 Chinese friends with families from Beijing are all staying in upclass resorts on the beautiful beaches of Railay Bay. But that is only a 30 minute hike or a 15 minute longtail boatride away. There are wonderful limestone cliffs everywhere.

Tonsai Bay with Longtail Boat in Krabi

Staligtites in Krabi

So on the first day I should not have jumped off the cliff like all the others. I did noty enter teh water with mt ass first like most of teh other people. I did come into the water really nice – that means I really went deep – … and there was some rock. So now my heel is healing.

Dangerous Cliff Diving

I was asking my Chinese friends if anybody brought some old climbing shoes that they could give me. But they did not. Yesterday morning I met the nice American from New Jersey who lives in Taiwan and he said he has an old bashed pair and I could have the left shoe. So now:

Hole in a Climbing Shoe

I can finally climb again! For rock climbing you only need to use the front of your foot, mainly the tips of your toes.

Rock Climbing with Heel Injury

So yesterday I climbed some easy routes. It was so much fun! I did not lead climb just some toprope. I am happy again. That is also why I suddenly started taking pictures. And it is really nice and quiet here on the rock climbing beach of Tonsai.

Rock Climbing on Tonsai Beach