Archive for Dezember, 2009

„Life is Tough“ Photography Exhibition

Freitag, Dezember 18th, 2009

My fixed gear bike friend and photographer Nie Zheng had the opening of a photography exhibition today.

Beijing Photographer Nie Zheng

The exhibition was organized by Source. Nie Zheng had taken pictures over a period of 40 days of people in Beijing under the theme „Life is Tough“. Like a Chinese lady working very hard in a magazine as an editor for over 7 years, a Japanese guy opening an Italian restaurant, Taiwanese opening a Taiwanese snack bar in Beijing, old Chiense people doing the early morning exercise in the Temple of Heaven, a stray cat, a Japanese guy that has a barber shop in Beijing and has been cutting hair for over 11 years every day for 12 hours, Chinese street construction workers.

“Life is Tough” Photography Exhibition by Nie Zheng

I am a foreigner in Beijing who was a competitive athlete for 20 years and opened a bicycle shop in the traditional heart of the capital of the Bicycle Kingdom. So he had also taken a a picture of me riding my huge 36 inch unicycle the day we had put together the tall bike. That picture is on the bottom left side of this picture and he had given me a print that I will hang in my bike shop.

Ines Riding Unicycle left of the Tall Bike in front of Natooke

He invited me to come over before this exhibition opening when the media and press were there for a short interview.

Nie Zheng, friend and Ines after the Interview

Nie Zheng was then requested to sign the huge wall.

Photographer Nie Zheng signing the wall for Opening

We then went for a huge and delicious dinner and came back to Source just for the official opening of the exhibition to the public.

“Life is Tough” Exhibition Opening in Beijing

Then there was some introduction and question to the photographers before the short movie about their work was presented to the public. You can see Nie Zheng riding around Beijing on his fixed gear bicycle and also my bike and juggling shop in that movie 🙂

Interviewing the Photographers

Natooke Bike Parts Photo Shoot

Freitag, Dezember 18th, 2009

My photographer friend Simon Lim came to my Natooke shop to take pictures of my bicycle parts. We started with the Taiwanese luma rear flip-flop track hubs produced by Formula for fixed gear and single speed bikes.

Taiwanese luma rear flip-flop track hubs produced by Formula

Taiwanese luma rear flip-flop track hubs produced by Formula

Then we did the matching Taiwanese luma front track hubs produced by Formula for fixed gear and single speed bikes.

Taiwanese luma front track hubs produced by Formula

Taiwanese luma front track hubs produced by Formula

We also took pictures of the various Taiwanese Lasco fixed gear and single speed cranks and chainrings.

Taiwanese Lasco cranks and chainring

Taiwanese Lasco cranks and chainring

Taiwanese Lasco cranks and chainring

Then he took pictures of the sturdy Taiwanese full CNC luma fixed gear cogs in sizes 13 teeth to 22 teeth.

Taiwanese full CNC luma fixed gear cogs

22 tooth Taiwanese full CNC luma fixed gear cog

And also the Japanese Shimano Dura-Ace cogs with NJS stamp.

Japanese Shimano Dura-Ace cogs with NJS stamp

All the pictures turned out great! It is so good to have a professional do them. Simon also has a blog about his adventures.

Bike Ride to Fresh Start Event

Donnerstag, Dezember 17th, 2009

Greening the Beige had a small event called „Fresh Start“ to view the video and pictures of this years events as well as capture ideas for next year.

Greening the Beige Fresh Start Fundraiser Event

We decided to do a first critical mass bike ride to the event. But unfortunately it was the coldest day of the year. It was freezing and we only had 5 bicycle riders – 2 girls and 3 guys. So in the cold of the night we only cycled very directly to the venue. And we were happy when we had arrived and gotten our free cold drinks. The next CM bike ride should be on the last Friday in January 2010 and I am sure we will have more cyclists.

First Beijing Critical Mass Bike Ride Cyclists

iLook Interview and Dalian Fixed Gear

Mittwoch, Dezember 16th, 2009

The Chinese luxury goods magazine iLook sent Ethan to come and interview me regarding fixed gear bicycle culture in China. It turns out that he started the fixed gear group and blog „Ocean Factory“ in Dalian, a Northern Chinese coastal city. Unfortunately there are currently still only 3 fixed gear riders in Dalian so far as the city is quite hilly. The photographer of iLook took a picture of Ethan and me in front of my bicycle shop.

Ethan and Ines in front of Natooke

Russell’s Bike

Mittwoch, Dezember 16th, 2009

My friend from New Zealand sent me a picture of his new fixed gear built up that I find really nice. And he is going to do more.

Russell’s Fixed Gear Bicycle

Natooke Fixed Gear Bike for Julien

Dienstag, Dezember 15th, 2009

By lunch Julien and I had finished putting together his flashy fixed gear bicycle.

Julien’s flashy fixed gear bike

We took the bike outside of the Natooke bike shop and Julien did the first virgin ride to make sure that everything is fine, like the height of the saddle.

Virgin fixed gear bike ride outside Natooke Shop

And then the bike had to undergo the typical photo shoot in our hutong (= traditional old Beijing alley with grey brick houses with wooden pillars).

Colorful Natooke Fixed Gear Bicycle

Unfortunately I did not have a 26.8mm seat post in black color. Other than the seat post I think this bike looks rad! And off he rode with a big smile.

Julien getting on to his fixed gear bike

Julien riding his first Natooke fixed gear bike

Beijing Courier Bicycle

Montag, Dezember 14th, 2009

A lot of people ask me if there are bicycle couriers in Beijing. Well of course! …but not the kind you are thinking of. A lot of goods in the center of the city are delivered on two or tree wheels. It is often some elderly Chinese guy that cycles in the summer with his tank top rolled up to the arm pits, spitting on the ground while smoking a cigarette and cycling at an amazingly slow pace.

But there are also the companies specialized in delivery like EMS (Express Mail Delivery) that use bikes. Today I say a nice EMS Flying Pigeon in the Beijing modern flashy CBD district.

EMS Flying Pigeon in Beijing

Express Mail Delivery Flying Pigeon in China

The guys riding these bikes ride faster than the typical tricycle delivery guys, but I would not call them bicycle messengers or couriers. And they often do not ride because they like riding but because their boss only gives them a bike and that is their job. So a very different perspective compared to bicycle couriers in other metropolitan cities around the world. But I wonder if Beijing will have bicycle couriers in the future – especially when the streets are more and more jammed and it will be obvious that cycling is the fastest way to get around or important documents delivered. I hope so.

A Theatrical Triathlon

Sonntag, Dezember 13th, 2009

The Beijing Actors Workshop in Beijing has been holding workshops on playwriting, directing as well as acting. And those three disciplines form the theatrical triathlon which was displayed this weekend at the Beijing International New Short Play Festival. Today they had 5 short plays on stage.

The first one was called „Sex and the forbidden city“ and was about the issues of foreign women in Beijing and how hard it is for them to find a date. I could relate with the four female characters. It is so hard for us strong willed Western women here in Beijing. The Western and Chinese men prefer the fragile Chinese women.

Short Play called “Sex and the forbidden city”

A very interesting but slightly confusing short play was called „lovely country“.

Theatrical Triathlon short play called “lovely country”

Funny was the beijing version of the musical „West Side Story“. The short play was called „Lao Wai Story“ menaing the foreigners in Beijing. It was a fight between the foreign students living in Haidian district of Beijing and the foreign Expats living in Chaoyang district of Beijing. They sang songs of the musical with altered funny lyrics only understandable to Chinese or the foreigners living in Beijing.

Short play “Lao Wai Story” - Beijing version of “West Side Story”

This was the last time for Anna Grace to be on stage in Beijing for a while. She is moving to New York city. So this was her goodbye performance. I hope she will be back to Beijing with many new ideas and inspiration.

Anna Grace goodbye performance in Beijing

Julien’s Fixed Gear Bike

Sonntag, Dezember 13th, 2009

After the ride Julien and I started to work on his bike. The wheels that we gave to bike mechanics around lunch time were already finished.

Julien’s Fixed Gear Wheels

But otherwise we just had the bare frame without the matching fork. But he had chosen his colors for the various bike parts.

Julien’s fixed gear bike frame

Of course we ran into some issues like getting the headset cups hammered into the frame or not having the right size seat post holding ring (even though I we had the right one in the Natooke shop). So we were not able to finish the bike. For now it looks like this:

Julien’s half finished fixed gear bike

Beijing Fixed Gear Ride North

Sonntag, Dezember 13th, 2009

Again a cold winter day and only foreigners came for the Beijing fixed gear bicycle ride out North of the city. Now the rivers like here at the North 5th rind road are starting to freeze.

Beijing Fixed Gear Group at North 5th Ring Road

We cycled along empty roads. Beijing is vast and not as crowded as many people outside of China imagine it to be. In many places it is actually quite quiet.

Cycling on empty Beijing roads

We then went into a park along the Qinghe River and stopped for snacks (longevity nuts and homemade bread and youzi) in a pavilion.

Snack break in a pavilion

Then we cycled around the huge and empty park.

Shannon fixed gear cycling in park

Katiushka and her bike in park

Ricky and his fixed gear bike in park

Of course the cold weather made us a bit cold and we were sharing our thoughts on best ways to keep the finger and toes warm. Shannon explained his multi layered plastic bag inside and outside of the sock approach to keep the feet warm. I might try that next time.

Explaining the use of plastic bags for warm feet in winter cycling

Then we cycled on to „Leisure Square“. I uploaded my pictures to a webalbum.

Cycling on “Leisure Square” in Beijing

Abandoned Building on Leisure Square in Beijing

Nico and Katiushka took some really nice pictures again. Here are two of their pictures of me balancing a track stand on the concrete structure of the abandoned building.

Ines Track Standing on Fixed Gear Bike

Ines Track Standing on Concrete Structure