Archive for Juni, 2010

Wudaoying Hutong making Zongzi

Samstag, Juni 12th, 2010

Today I was surprised by a „you have to come to a meeting a 2:30pm“ by our friend of Wudaoying Hutong, the small alley that has been selected as one of the special streets of Beijing and its development is being pushed by the local government. I was alone in the shop today so I had to throw out customers to make it to the nearby community center. Even though I was there at 2:40 I was still early because the „meeting“ did not start until 3pm. I was one of the 6 foreigners that had been asked to come. We also had some elderly people, local worker as well as disabled to participate.

On May 5th of the moon calendar which this year is on June 16th of the sun calendar is Dragon Boat festival. Last year the Chinese government decided this to be again a public holiday after many years of not being so. If companies decide that Saturday and Sunday is a work day then the employees get Monday to Wednesday off. And most local companies do it that way.

And following a legend there is special food which =will be prepared and eaten on this holiday. It is Zongzi. So the local Wudaoying Hutong community ladies taught us how to make Zongzi using a special rice that gets sticky when cooked and dates folded in bamboo leaves.

Community Ladies teaching how to make Zongzi

Foreigners Making Zongzi

Then we all received a package of already finished Zongzi to take back home. And of course there was the obligatory group photo with us foreigners and the disabled.

The shop was not too busy. A Chinese guy that had only bought wheelsets, cog and lockring and cranks at my shop came by to show me his built up fixed gear bicycle.

Fixed Gear Bicycle in Beijing

Brendan at Natooke

Freitag, Juni 11th, 2010

Brendan came back to give back the bike he was loaning from Natooke. We took a picture of him with the bike polo mallot he made yesterday.

Brendan Allen at Natooke in Beijing

Later Max dropped by with his new handlebar on his Flying Banana track bike.The track drop bars were too narrow so he switched to road bike drop bars.

Flying Banana With Road Drop Bars

Work that Pigu

Freitag, Juni 11th, 2010

Today there was an article in the Global Times. They had interviewed Fede and Shannon while I was in Germany. The full article is here.

The title is „Work that Pigu“. Pigu mean ass. They had different sports sections, one of them being cycling. Here an excert of the original article:


For those who prefer to pedal, the city is always open for biking. Bicycles are available in a variety of colors, styles, and price ranges on practically every street in Beijing. Cyclists have unlimited control over pacing and routes. And bike rides are free!

Federico Moro is the director of Natooke, a bike shop that specializes in fixed gear bikes and juggling. Moro praises Beijing as a city designed for bikes: completely flat, dry, and loaded with big bike lanes. He said of course there are individual health benefits for riding a bike, but, really, „everyone benefits: more bikes means less cars, less traffic.“ And, of course, less traffic means less pollution for us all to breathe while we’re outside exercising.

Moro urges beginners to „get a bike and start to pedal. And get a helmet and a mask.“

Moro’s friend, Shannon Bufton, runs Smarter Than Car, a platform for promoting biking in the city. On the last Friday of every month, the group of about 50 riders hit the streets for a social ride set at a relaxing pace. Bufton agrees that biking is good for the environment, but also good for health. He said, simply, „It keeps you fit and keeps your weight down.“

Bikers looking for a challenge beyond the Dongzhimen interchange could head to the Laoshan Mountain Bike Course in west Beijing’s Shijingshan District. The 4.6 km Olympic course was made available to the public post-Games.

For serious mountain bikers, the thrill of riding in the paths of Olympians should outweigh the potential anxieties of getting a bike to west Beijing. And, for less serious cyclists, the trip to and from the course could be considered a full work-out in its own right.

Beijing Bike Polo

Donnerstag, Juni 10th, 2010

Back in Beijing I first need to get used to cycling in Beijing traffic. And the traffic jams are getting worse. And there are more cars in the bike lanes. Like this black BMW without license plate. He thinks he is the king of the road and does not need to follow any traffic rules.

Black BMW without license plate

A cycling friend from Oakland is visiting Beijing. Brendan loves playing Bike Polo and came to the shop to make two more bike polo mallots. Then we headed out to the Beijing CBD to an open space in midst modern office buildings together with some Chinese Fixed Gear riders. It took us a while to start a real game as most of us were playing for the first or second time and we were missing a mallot, then a guy fell and when we finally had 6 mallots it was already dark. It was still fun to hit the ball in the dark. And we had most people on fixed gear, Brendan on a freewheel, and later a guy on a fancy Flying Pigeon.

Beijing Bike Polo

Playing Bicycle Polo in Modern Beijing

Bike Polo at Night in China’s Capital

Natooke Fixed Gear Bikes

Mittwoch, Juni 9th, 2010

During my travel in Germany Fede and Samantha took care of the Natooke shop and actually built up many fixed gear bikes for customers. Until now we have never built up to identical bikes. Every bicycle is unique and reflects the customers personality. That is one thing that makes fixed gear bikes so attractive around the world. It is not just a bicycle. It is special. Here are some pictures.

Duncan’s stylish black Flying Banana with green hubs and retro tires.

Duncan’s Fixed Gear Bike

He even wrote some blog entries about his first ride from our shop at Lama Temple to Wudaokou as well as a 50km ride he did on the second day. It is great to see people enjoying cycling through the city. Beijing is perfect for that.

Black Flying Banana and Duncan

Charles decided for a cheap aluminum frame a nice rims matching the hubs.

Charles Aluminum Fixed Gear Bike

Mark also chose the aluminum frame and choose nice Velocity rims and expensive but classy seat post, stem and handlebar.

Mark’s Urban Bike

James wanted to stay with the black and white on this aluminum frame, even though he came back to change his tires to the full color DURO tires in red to match his grips. Here is the picture before that change.

James Fixie from Natooke

This is a nice lugged chromoly Flying Banana frame and crown fork in a very light blue color with Halo tires and Modolo stem and handlebar.

Lugged Chromoly Flying Banana Fixie

Happy Fixed Gear Rider

Goodbye in Germany

Dienstag, Juni 8th, 2010

Today I had to do again some lawn mowing and carrying the last things for my parents. Then I could pack my bags. After a very delicious lunch we headed to the train station. It was time to say goodbye again. We asked a lady that was passing by to take a picture of the 3 of us, but she seemed to not know how to take pictures so we tried to explain to her and then the picture looked like this:

The Brunn Family

So then we decided to take separate pictures. First with my mom.

Ines and her mother

And then with my dad.

Ines and her dad

Then I boarded the train and then the plane and flew back to Beijing.

Interesting Vintage Bikes

Montag, Juni 7th, 2010

I went to Erlangen again to meet my physicist friend Martin. It was a nice day again so we went to a beer garden. He told me that the current rule that was set up by King Ludwig the 1st of Bavaria around 1800 states that an outdoor place selling beer need to allow people to bring their own “Brotzeit” (food) to be allowed to call themselves a beer garden. That means that nowadays many places that have a sign „Biergarten“ are not really beer gardens, because in most places it is forbidden to bring food or drinks, even for children.

Martin and Ines in Erlangen

Then I went to Gustl’s house to see some of the interesting bikes he has built in the last 50 years. I have known Gustl since 1989 and it was always fun to listen to his witty comments. He has been working with young athletes for over 42 years. One of the strange bikes he built is a unicycle with a tiny wheel and a huge gear ratio. This is like riding a tiny wheeled fixed gear bike in a wheely (on the back wheel only).

Unicycle with Huge Gear Ratio

He has half a bike with 2 tiny front wheels that he had built about 30 years ago. It seems to be a unicycle with 2 support wheels  and therefore looks like it is easy to ride, but it actually is not! Gustl challenged me for a race on 2 of those bikes. With his 69 years he is still very agile and has great balance but he also had some issues getting started. It is so fun to ride.

Weird kind of Unicycle

His father used to have a bike shop and he learned as a car mechanic so he was always playing around making interesting kinds of bikes. He made a tall bike tandem, that he does not have anymore. He also made a bike for 2 people that only had 2 wheels, but 3 frames and the person on the left had to use his right hand to steer the left side of the handlebar and the person on the right had to use his left hand to steer the right side of the handlebar which made it really hard to ride. The parts of that bike are in this pile.

Pile of Weird Bikes

He also has some really old trick bikes like this almost complete original one, just the front wheel is missing.

Vintage Trick Bike

It is too bad that he had thrown away so many of these valuable vintage bikes. He gave me wooden rims for my bamboo bike, some really old leather saddles and one of the medium old trick bikes so that I can start teaching some children in China the sport of artistic cycling.

Vintage Trick Bike Pile

Then I drove to meet my good friend Alex to go to a small little beer garden. I passed by the center of Nuernberg that looks really nice on such a beautiful day with the historic castle and medieval city wall and towers.

Historic Nuernberg

Artistic Cycling and Acro Balance

Sonntag, Juni 6th, 2010

Driving a different route than usual I saw a new site of Adidas built in the North of Herzogenaurach. Both Adidas and Puma are both expanding and building new sites in their town of origin. The nice thing is that there was a bicycle lane even out here in the countryside.

Bike Lane outside of Herzogenaurach

I went to to meet the artistic cyclists Karina, Paulina and Inga. There were practicing for the upcoming Bavarian Championships. They need to do well in order to qualify for the German Cup.

Karina and Paulina Rossbach 2er Kunstfahren

Karina for fun invented a new figure that looks classy. But she did not hand it in to the actual organization.

Classy Karina Split

I was also training. It was nice to be on a good fast wooden floor again. I was happy that I still was able to do the handstand on my bike. Then we took a picture together in the old school style on our fixed gear trick bicycles.

Traditional Stillstand on Artistic Bicycle

Inga does not ride anymore so we took a normal picture outside.

Inga and Ines

Then I went to the Zirkuslabor started by Tatjana Bilenko and Fritz Mack whom I used to perform together with for a few years (about 1996 to 1999) in the performing arts community show called “Vorsicht Variete”. Today they were doing some acro-balance.

Tatjana and Fritz Acro-Balance

Gerhard Pfeiffer and I were also practicing some partner acrobatic. We took a video that I uploaded only to facebook.

Tatjana performs on the trapeze and other aerial things like this ring. So she was practicing that too.

Tatjana in Aerial Ring

I hope next time I can see them perform, because they have been doing it as a full time living for quite some years now. That last time I saw Fritz he was still having his corporate job.

Tatjana in the Zirkuslabor

Then I drove home to have some delicious barbecue in my parent’s garden.