It seems to be the time of year. Foreigners are moving back to their home countries. Another cycling friend is leaving Beijing. He started cycling with us just a few months ago but it was really nice to ride with him. He had a small goodbye get together in Sanlitun. Another friend had a garage sale because he needs to move out of the hutong he has been living in but I actually did not go. I met Cas for dinner and drinks.
Archive for Juni, 2009
This afternoon/evening I met some friends but we had to say goodbye. James is leaving too. It was the last time I saw him. Now that both him and Brad are gone I will be the lonely foreigner showing up to the rides of the Beijing Fixed Gear bike group. Another cycling friend is moving back home and had his goodbye party tonight. He was showing the 45 minute video he had taken with a handlebar camera on his daily commute to work. That really shows the feeling of riding in Beijing traffic. Vehicles and people can suddenly approach you from random directions. And another friend had a party but it was just because he moved into a new apartment. Even though he will leave in September.
Today was the 10th big ride of the year organized by the Beijing Peloton. It was a special one as it was the first MOB (Mountain Bikers of Beijing) and Peloton Road Cyclist Joint Ride. Tom had written in the Trek newsletter: To make it official we have adopted the following slogan-esque and easy to remember name: “Glorious Unity Purpose MOB and Peloton Joint Ride To Make Harmonious Society At Bai Hua Shan To Wanr Wanr With Bikes: One Country, Two Bike Systems”. Amazingly, the Chinese version of this slogan is only 4 characters long.
We started at 05:50 a.m. at the TREK Chaoyang store. Bai Hua Shan is located 100km west of Beijing and is situated along a slow and meandering mountain national road number 108. Driving there already took us 3 hours as the that national road was under construction most of the way.
But we all wanted to ride on Beijing’s highest mountain summit road. The Bai Hua Shan Loop had a total distance of 100km for the fast A riders. It was an out and back loop and started at 200m altitude. The road went continuously up for 30km length towards 2000m elevation (6500ft)!
The first part of the road to the foot of the hill was not such a nice ride. All the villages seem to live from coal mining and huge mountains of shredded coal are everywhere. All the old trucks on the road do not just annoy us as they drive roughly the same speed as we cycle but they were all loaded with black coal. On the right side of this picture you see the edge of such a random coal hill.
Well there was a gate at roughly 1300m where we had to stop for a while.
We were all happy that we did continue our ride up this beautiful narrow road that soon turned into many switchbacks. They were really steep that I often had to stand up to get more force onto the pedals.
At the top of Bai Hua Shan mountain there is a monastery. This is the highest temple in Beijing province. There was a monk sitting with us at this bell. We took a picture for one of our sponsors Powerbar.
On the way back back down we could enjoy the beautiful view. I stopped to take many pictures. It happened twice that I was so amazed by the view standing (but still sitting on my bike) to take a picture that I just fell over and could not get out of the clip pedals. On this picture you can see part of the road that we cycled up and back down. It goes all the way to the center of the picture.
All the pictures of this beautiful ride are uploaded to my website. When I arrived back at the mini-bus our driver just started laughing at me. I asked what is up but he did not explain. But other people told me that may face was quite black. And when I got home I had to shower twice to get all the black coal dust off of me.
I had been interviewed by the fixed gear maniac. And he posted the interview on his site. Check it out here. Also he has a great online book about fixed gear. The link is on teh right column of his we
Friday, June 5, 2009
Interview with Ines Brunn
Well I thought I’ try something different. How about an Interview with the Queen of Fixed Gear Ines Brunn. I’m sure you all have seen her in action! Shes the one who did all those incredible tricks on You Tube while the rest of us were trying to figure out track stands!
1)First Ines where were you born and raised? Is that where you got your bicycle training?
I was born in Germany, moved to the US (New Jersey) at the age of 3. I started gymnastics at the age of 6. We moved back to Germany when I was 9 years old and I continued competitive gymnastics till the age of 13. At that point I by chance found the sport called artistic cycling which is gymnastics on a bike and started it right away. My gymnastics background helped me a lot for the balance, the flexibility as well as the strength.
2) I see you speak English fluently how many other languages do you speak fluently?
Hard to say. Definitely one other language fluently: German. My Chinese is pretty good and my French used to be very good (but seems to be hidden behind all the Chinese words right now)
3) Most everyone’s seen your videos on trick riding, where did you learn to ride like that? you obviously were professionally trained?
I started at the age of 13. The coach in the local club could not show me anything new after a few months. But I got accepted to the regional team right away and after 3 years I was on the German National team. There we had professional training.
4) Where have you worked as a performer?
I have performed in many different countries such as: South Africa, Russia, Sri Lanka, USA, China, Malaysia, Hong kong, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria…
Some places I did 62 performances in 31 days. I perform for company events, corporate anniversaries, evening galas, TV shows, bike competitions, cycling events, parties, festivals…
5) How long have you been riding?
20 years (oh know, now you know my age)
6) Have you raced or been involved in any other type of riding?
I did the artistic cycling competitively for 16 years until I moved to China. I have competed in the Cyclo Cross races last winter and really enjoyed that. Just 2 weeks ago I did my first road race. That was interesting too. There is another race next week.
7) Now I see your in China, what are you doing over there?
I came to China for an American company in the telecommunication industry. Now I am planning on opening a fixed gear bike shop.
8)What type of gearing set up and bike do you use for your trick bike?
I have my original trick bike with a 1 to 1 gear ratio. It is easy to do tricks on that but you cannot rode it around town. I have a small track bike that I use for riding and tricks. I have a 45 tooth chain ring and a 18 tooth cog. I put a smaller front wheel so that I can bar spin.
9) With the type of riding your doing I’m sure you’ve had some crashes, anything serious?
Yes, sure I had a quite a few. The worst is falling into the bike. You should always make sure to fall off (and best roll off) away from the bike. I had some head first crashes into the bike while practicing the handstand. It even happened during the German Championship. The worst
fall off my bike while not doing any tricks was a few weeks ago. I was ghost riding my trick bike and it suddenly started jumping and got tangled with my fixed gear bike to I did a face first dive over the handlebars. My wrists are still in pain so I have not done any tricks lately.
10) Do you have a favorite bike and what is it?
I like different bikes for different purposes. For example for riding longer distances or to work I love my blue Corima fixed gear bike with front brake. For playing around I love my small pink Cinelli fixed gear bike but when it rains or I just go to a nearby restaurant or bar I love
my 1970s old Flying Pigeon converted to fixed gear.
11) Is there anything you’d like to say to all the fixed gear riders out there?
For all cyclists: Get on your bikes and enjoy life!
For all fixed gear riders doing tricks: Keep being innovative and playing around! Your children and grandchildren will be proud of you being the pioneers in fixed gear trick riding
For all fixed gear riders: Mash those urban streets!
Tianjin TV a filming series on environmental topics called “Eco Hero” (绿色英雄). This green program will soon start being broadcasted every day from 6:20pm to 6:30pm. Today they were filming an episode on riding bikes as a small thing you can do to be more environmentally friendly. So they asked me to come to Tianjin and ride my pink track bike.
And I also rode the unicycle of the TV host Kathy. We had such great weather!
It is great that some of the mid-aged to elderly Chinese people really get into cycling. Like in Beijing or any other bigger city also Tianjin has such a cycling club. Some of the members rode their bikes to Lhasa in 2006. Others rode all over Sichuan and Yunnan. Some members are in their 70s and even 80s.
Other foreigners invited to this event today were Anna Sophie from Sexy Beijing TV as well as Chelsey or better known as Mai Xiaolong who is a TV host himself.
It was great again to take the train from Beijing to Tianjin – speeding at 330km/h. This time I cycled in Beijing from my home to the Beijing South train station. It amazes me how places always seem much closer when I ride my bike to them. Last time it seemed to take forever to get to that train station by taxi. When I got back to Beijing today I met a Chinese cyclist friend Kevin and we went to meet the owner of the Pass By bar. He had cycled to Lhasa many times and gave advice to Kevin who will head out on Saturday. I wish him a safe journey.
Late but better than never we finished Ian’s conversion. He used an old steel 10 speed 700c road bike frame, grinded down all the paint, grinded off the cable holders, spray painted the frame with a transparent finish, decided on his color combination and then bought the heaviest seat post I have ever seen. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the bike before – Especially as it had been locked to my other bike and I could not find the key so we started taking the bike apart while it was still locked to that second bike… Christ (professional Beijing BMX flatland rider and fixie rider) helped most on this long and tiring project. Big thanks to him! This is the beautiful result:
The rim in the back is a reflective Deep-V from Velocity. I took a picture using the flash – Look at the amazing result: