Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Natooke in New York Times Article

Dienstag, März 5th, 2013

It is great to find this recent New York Times article mentioning the cool new Chinese in tight jeans riding fixed gear bikes hanging out at Wudaoying Hutong and coming to Natooke fixie bike store. Click here for the full article called “A streak of Brooklyn in Beijing”.

It is a nice short article mentioning some of the cooler shops in the traditional hutongs of Beijing. If you ever come by Beijing you should stop at some of these and definitely come to our Natooke bike store.

Top 5% Most Viewed LinkedIn Profiles

Mittwoch, Februar 13th, 2013

I just received an email from LinkedIn stating that I have one of the top 5% most viewed @Linkedin profiles for 2012. Thank you to anybody who has viewed my profile on LinkedIn. This gives me pressure to actually do more on LinkedIn…

Natooke Fixed Gear Bike & Juggling Shop

Sonntag, Dezember 16th, 2012

Ted Baumhauer came for a visit to Beijing. He is a speaker and trainer in the areas of leadership, supervision and team building since 1982. Juggler and performer since 1994. Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from The University of Vermont. Author of the book Little Blue Penguins: Tales for Making the Transition to Leadership. He performed at the Waterbury (VT) Comedy Festival 2009, 2010, & 2011 and the 33rd RIT Spring Juggle-In in 2010. Winner of the 5 ball endurance and best trick at the 2004 Cornell University Big Red Juggling Festival.

So of course he came to Natooke shop. He then published an article on the Juggling Magazine of the International Juggling Association. To read the full article please click here. I copied his article into my blog:

Natooke Fixed Gear Bike & Juggling Shop

Ines in front of the shop.

Nestled down in Beijing’s Wudaoying Hutong, not far from the Lama Temple and the Temple of Confucius, is China’s first juggling shop and fixed gear bike shop, Natooke. Founded in 2009 by Ines Brunn and Federico Moro, this shop offers both locals and travelers juggling props and custom made fixed gear bicycles.

Ines began her performing career in Germany as an artistic fixed gear bike acrobat. As a member of the German National Team she worked to bring more flexibility and performance into that traditional sport. But her efforts to bring more artistry and performance to the sport were not always appreciated by the official sanctioning authorities. Despite that roadblock, her skill on the bike was noticed and appreciated by others outside the sport. As her notoriety grew, she started getting calls and offers to perform her version of artistry on a bike outside of the sport competitions. At the same time her performing career began to take off, so did her career in the telecommunications industry.

Fede

Through her job, she traveled to China and eventually moved to Beijing. That is where, in 2006, she met Fede Moro a juggler and performer from Italy. That friendship led to the idea of building a community of jugglers, unicyclers and performers in China. First, they arranged for the group to get together and share their skills at a weekly juggling meeting on Monday nights. As Fede is hardly seen in Beijing, and Ines is busy with the bicycle side, the juggling get togethers are a little more sporadic now, so please call ahead to make sure of the schedule. In addition to those events, Fede has held several juggling workshops and performing classes. These include classes for students at the Canadian International School of Beijing, and corporate team building workshops for managers at several Beijing based companies.

With their focus on building interest in juggling, fixed gear bikes, and performing, they began to attract more and more members. Because juggling props were not easily available in China, and their community of jugglers was growing, there was a clear need for a shop. That was the birth of Natooke in Beijing in 2009. Ines opened a second store in October 2012 in Chengdu, China, over 1174 miles (1890 km) from Beijing. Natooke carries a selection of Italian PLAY brand juggling equipment including MMX balls, SIL-X balls, bouncing balls, stage balls, contact balls, and a selection of clubs for beginners to professionals. The store also has both standard and fire poi, torches, diabolos, flower and devil sticks, rings (junior, standard, extra big, and dual sided), rola bolas and spacers to increase their height, spinning plates, frisbees, as well as a wide selection of bean bags and acrylic balls. Natooke is also a custom built fixed gear bike shop. Fixed gear bikes are like a unicycle in that there is no coasting. When you pedal the gears move both forward and backward. Because of their simplicity, the bikes are very light, durable, and very good for fast riding. Fixies have developed a reputation in urban settings as the bike of choice. Beyond being great for commuting they also great for tricks or games like bike polo because of their maneuverability. Each bike made at Natooke is custom built and unique.

Ines performing.

According to Ines, juggling is not something typically done for pure recreation in China. While the circus performers there are some of the best in the world, ball and club juggling is not something typically seen off the stage. Occasionally you might see some older citizens playing with diabolos in parks as a form of exercise. Beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be much hobby juggling for fun. Through the efforts of Ines, Fede, and their group, that is beginning to change. Ines told me a story about one man who found his way into her store. He claimed to have taught himself to juggle and then demonstrated a five ball cascade. To his delight, Fede joined him in a five ball pattern. Seeing another person who juggled for the pure enjoyment of it brought him to tears. Through the weekly meetings, Lao Zhou, eventually found a unicycle partner named Lao Sun. The two formed a partnership and began performing in parks and at organized events around China. As a side note, the two also bicycled together from Beijing to Shanghai, over 1000 miles (1600 km); No small feat when you are 58 and 71!

In addition to running her two stores, Ines continues to perform. She describes what she does as “gymnastics on a bicycle.”  Her performances include the European (2000 and 2009) and Israeli (2011) Juggling Festivals. There is a link below to see a video of Ines performing.  a quick Google Video search of her name will get you to several of her past performances.

If you are interested in juggling or fixed gear bikes and find yourself in Beijing, it is worth a visit to stop in to say hi! If you are performing near Beijing and lose your props on the way, you now have a lifeline.

Natooke means Green Banana in Chinese and that has become the store’s mascot.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Natooke

Wudaoying Hutong No. 19-1, Lama Temple Bridge (North 2nd Ring Road), Dongcheng District, Beijing. Phone number: (+86) 010-8402 6925

The shop is 100 meters west down the first hutong south of Lama Temple bridge and is on the right hand side.

To learn more about Ines watch: http://vimeo.com/21351654

To see her performing visit: http://vimeo.com/5833283

For videos of Fede visit: http://federicomoro.net/shows/

Global Times Social Mobility

Mittwoch, November 28th, 2012

Here is an article published by Global Times in the Beijing section of the newspaper about social mobility. I also copied the full article into my blog:

Social mobility

By Hannah Leung

 

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Indoor stationary bike races help pass the time until spring comes. Photos: Courtesy of Shannon Bufton

 

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Indoor stationary bike races help pass the time until spring comes. Photos: Courtesy of Shannon Bufton

Bikers are cool, but actually riding a bicycle takes more energy or motivation than some of us have.  But luckily, winter is a prime time to infiltrate the biking community and meet those fit, fun and athletic people without having to mount a saddle.

Winter biking activities are a gateway into fun events, socializing and progressive ideas, so take advantage of the sub-zero temperature to warm up to the biking niche without breaking a sweat. Whether it’s visiting multifunctional bike venues like Serk or Natooke or participating in indoor events, get the social wheels rolling without chilly pedals testing your mettle.

All year cheer

Biking while drinking is a bad idea. But taken separately, what better place to have a drink then a venue where fit people tend to congregate? Serk, discretely located in Beixinqiao, houses coffee, drinks and bikes in a streamlined, open space with high ceilings.

“Biking in the winter is a big concern which is why we decided to have something other than bikes,” said owner Shannon Bufton, who runs the space with his wife, a Beijing native. The husband and wife duo are also co-founders of Smarter than Car, an aptly named platform that favors greener alternatives.

At the front is the bar and cabin-esque café; look high for the assortment of bicycles hanging above. The gear and supplies are packed efficiently in the back. Novices can peruse through biking and outdoor adventure magazines on the side shelves, while serious bikers phase in and out.

“Serk is a very flexible space. We have a workshops for bikes in the back,” Bufton said.  “People may put their bikes away in the winter, but they can still learn how to keep their bikes up in the summer.”

Active activities 

For those hoping to do more than sit around and take in the scene, winter biking options are surprisingly expansive. Serk is holding a thrice-occurring indoor bike competition in December, January, and March, called JISU PK. The event has two competitors race on stationary bikes for 30-seconds, an event fueled by alcohol.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Beijing Bunch Ride is a group that rides all the way through winter. Organized by TriBeijing and Serk, the group meets early Sunday mornings at Serk, before heading out.

Natooke, which customizes fixed gear bikes, has already become, well, a fixture in Wudaoying Hutong, holding many events at all times of the year.

Owner Ines Brunn, originally from Germany, first visited Beijing in 2001 and witnessed first hand the progression of a city cycling culture upturned by a car society. This has fortunately shifted in the past two years, with the emergence of a younger generation of bikers.

On Saturday, Natooke held a Mini Fixed Gear Revolution, a winter indoor event at Long Art Space in the 798 District that featured indoor racing and relay races. All levels of bikers were welcomed.

“I thought it would be good to have a counter event to summer activities, [one] less competitive and more focused on having fun in the winter,” said Brunn.

Despite being winter, there seemed no shortage of bikers, evident from the dozen enthused, well-dressed and mostly young Chinese locals that showed up around 11 am outside the shop prior to the event to ride up together.

Other events just require basic bike riding skills and a lot of zeal, including the Big Dirty ride on St. Nicholas Day, December 6, better known as the day foreigners dress like Santa and attract attention from locals.

“We’ll have a costume ride, like we had for Halloween. We’ll meet here at 8 pm and find Santa costumes for people who do not have them, then we’ll ride,” said Brunn.

Mind the elements

One obvious way to get involved is to treat the bicycle as it was intended, as a mode of green transportation. Don’t be deterred from starting now.

“I’m always confused when people say, ‘I don’t cycle anymore in the winter because it’s cold,’ and then they take the subway and walk forever. I find it much colder when you’re [waiting] for a bus or taxi for 20 minutes,” said Brunn.

Novices and experts agree on dressing well.

“You can put bags over your socks, [which] stops the wind from going in,” said Bufton, recommending sticking hot pouches (available at any convenience store) inside gloves and on top of the toes. “Always cover your ears,” Bufton added, knowing the value of keeping warm, after his feet started to go numb a few years ago from winter riding.

And unless you want to counterweigh the benefits of biking, wear a face mask to shield against pollution.

Of course, not all run-of-the-mill bikers are convinced, though aesthetics play a convincing factor.

“All the international kids in the area, especially Koreans, have cool looking fixed gear bikes…I’m sure that pretty bikes are a great conversation starter,” said Theresa Tong, a 26-year-old Australian studying in Wudaokou.

“But harsh wind is not my friend,” Tong said, with no plans of using the bike as a social tool to sneak into the cool – no make that freezing cold – biking subculture.

Donnerstag, April 12th, 2012

Here is an interview done by Joshua Samuel Brown during the Taipei Cycle Exhibition 2012 and published in the Bicycle Times magazine. I copied the text, but for the article with pictures please click the following link:

An interview with Ines Brunn, bicycle acrobat

By Joshua Samuel Brown

Hailing from Bavaria by way of Beijing, Ines Brunn has performed track bike gymnastics at bike shows and events around the globe. Our Correspondent in Asia caught up with Brunn following one of her performances at this year’s Taipei International Cycle Show.

How long have you been doing bicycle acrobatics, and how did you get started?

23 years. I was a competitive gymnast and wasn’t getting along with the Barvarian state coach and decided to leave the team. By coincidence I saw a lady who did tricks on a bike, and just got hooked.

What brought you to Beijing?

I’d been working a high paying job in telecommunications based in China and doing bicycle shows on the side. I found that working a full-time gig made scheduling performances difficult, so in 2008 I quit to open up a bike store in Beijing. My co-workers thought I was crazy! Now I sell bicycles from my shop in Beijing and perform whenever I want.

What’s your weapon of choice for the streets of Beijing?

A track bike with 48-14 gearing; one brake. What can I say, I like to ride fast. Road racing is kind of new in China, and it’s fun to ride a road bike race on a fixed gear. The road bike riders try to pedal into corners after watching me and hit their pedals on the ground.

Is Beijing a good city for track bikes?

It’s great. Flat as a pancake and bike lanes everywhere. Also, people are used to seeing bicyclists, so as chaotic as things get people are looking out for you. And the weather is completely dry for three quarters of the year!

What’s the fixed gear scene like in Beijing?

They’re catching on. I started a fixed gear club in 2007, the first in China. We had two members to start, and we grew to seven after I put the word out to all the bike shops to call me if they saw anyone riding a fixed gear. Now there are at least 800 fixed gear riders in Beijing.

Tell me a bit about bicycle acrobatics.

Well, I started doing bicycle acrobatics in Germany, where it is a rather technical sport. You need to tell the judges exactly what you plan to do in advance. It’s very precise over there, very…German! What I do at shows is more what I like to call artistic cycling, more of a free-form choreography which is a pretty new thing. The sport doesn’t exist in Taiwan or Mainland China, so people tend to be quite amazed here.

What’s it like performing in the States?

When I perform in San Fran and NYC I get a lot of bike messengers in the crowd, and they just go wild. Sometimes I think they’d be less impressed if I were a man.And the woman love that fact that some of the badass hard core male riders can’t even do the majority of my tricks.

What’s the overall vibe at bicycle shows?

People can sometimes be rather serious at bicycle shows. I mean, cycling is supposed to be fun, right? Yet at the business level it can be all so somber. I try to use my performances to inject some festivity into what rightly should be a very festive atmosphere. It makes me happy that people watching me perform have smiles on their faces, even if the smiles only last until it’s time for them to get back to business.

Is there anyplace else you’d like to perform?

I’d love to perform at Interbike, and I haven’t performed at Eurobike yet.

Final Words?

I believe that only things that give happiness are self sustaining, and I’m convinced that cycling is definitely one of these things. Cycling is not only good for the environment, but good for the world because it makes those who do it happy. This is basically the philosophy at the heart of everything I do.

In Beijing? Visit Natooke, Ines’s fixed gear shop at Wudaoying Hutong 19-1 (near Lama Temple subway) Dongcheng District, Beijing 100007, China.

TaipeiCycle Exhibition

Mittwoch, März 7th, 2012

I just arrived in Taiwan yesterday and was at the TaipeiCycle 2012 Exhibition today.

VIP Exhibition Badge for Ines Brunn

The organizers of the 25th TaipeiCycle had invited me over here to perform every day. That is why I have a VIP badge. The performance schedule is printed in the Visitor’s Guide as well as in the Show Daily magazine:

TaipeiCycle 2012 Show Daily Magazine

I perform every day at the South entrance at 11:30am and/or 14:30pm:

Ines Brunn performs at TaipeiCycle 2012

After the performance I was walking around today. There were some nice new designs, like this neat and easy detachable fender:

Fender Design

Also I saw the SRAM automatic hub. I would like to try how an automatically shifting bike rides. And a small gadget was the iPhone hoister and amplifier for playing music while riding.

Automanic Hub and iPhone holder

I was happy to see that the bike trailer T2 designed by my Taiwanese bike polo friend Mark Chou received a design award at the exhibition. Congratulations Mark and the freeparable team with their dead old monkey (dom)!

DOM Bike Trailer T2

Another design which I likes was the brake that is integrated into the fork (for front brake) and the frame 9for rear brake). I bet that will help ride a little bit faster. Hope my next road bike will have that kind of brake.

Integrated Brake

After the exhibition closed the organizers invited for the TaipeiCycle night and 25th anniversary party. I was so happy to attend this party that was on the same day as the Natooke 3 year anniversary. Happy Birthday Natooke!

TaipeiCycle night and 25th anniversary party

kiDulty Article about Ines Brunn 伊泉

Mittwoch, März 7th, 2012

The Chinese online magazine kiDulty published an entry about me and Natooke and my fixed gear bike. You can have a look at the article here.

They also took nice pictures (can you see how I was freezing…):

Ines Brunn wheely on kiDulty Magazine

Ines Brunn doing a Fixed Gear Bike Skid

Fixed Gear Bike of Ines Brunn

kiDulty asked me when and how I got in contact with fixed gear bikes. Well that was long time ago. I started doing gymnastics style tricks on fixed gear bikes in 1989.

They also asked who did the painting on my bike frame. Actually that was me and my assistant Doudou as I was playing around in preparation for a design exhibition under the theme “Awakening Spring”. I will be displaying a new bike with nice flowers painted on the frame.

They asked me to share my views on Fixed Gear. I think riding a fixed gear bike is a lot of fun, and it is  convenient. I also ride a road bike for cycling in the mountains or racing, but the feeling of riding a freewheel bike compared to a fixed gear bike is completely different. A fixed gear bike is very light due to its simplicity, riding fixed gear makes you feel one with your bike as if it is part of you. You can precicely control the speed on a fixed gear bike making it the best option for riding in traffic. Also on a fixed gear bike you can ride backwards, do fun skids and other fancy moves. I love to perform on my fixed gear bike.

At Natooke we custom build each customers bike. You can choose all the different parts to assemble your unique bicycle.

In addition, cycling is the most environmentally friendly way to travel. I love cycling through the streets of any big city of the world. It makes me very happy.
kiDulty also asked what I would say to young peopel that want to start riding fixed gear in China. Many people have the minconception that riding fixed gear means you cannot install a brake. But that is not true. I recommend everybody riding on the streets of busy Chinese cities to instal a safety brake, even if you have practiced enough and really can stop you bike at any moment without a hand brake, I still advise to have a brake. I find it sad to see some kids that started riding fixed gear and were all excited take the brake off their bike and then have accidents. Now they do not like riding a bike. That is a pity. Please ride safe and enjoy!

BJ Bikeboy Alleycat Videos

Montag, April 18th, 2011

Here are some amazing videos from the April 16th Beijing Lining Bikeboy event.

The first video is done by Shannon who had his camera mounted on the fork of his bicycle and got some amazing shots.

The second video is done by “Niurenku”. There team had come to film during the event. I like that they went to 4 of the 5 stations and filmed there too as well as of course the beginning of the race. But I need to improve my Chinese.

Natooke and Bikeboy

Video of Natooke for Bike Boy

Sonntag, April 17th, 2011

Before the Lining Bike Boy event there was filming of the different fixed gear bike teams. So they came and dressed us up in Lining clothes and shot this short clip about our NATOOKE fixed gear cycling team. Click here to see the video.

It would be nice to see a longer version of this…

An Inspiring Ride with Ines Brunn

Montag, März 28th, 2011

My friend Berta had worked for a while on getting enough footage with her Canon 5D Mark II digotal SLR for this video project. She accompanied me to different performances and had to cope with bad lighting and strange strange backdrops. But I think it came out really nice.

Here is the beautiful video on vimeo and on youtube.

The best thing about it is the music to it that was all played by Zac Courtney with his drum sticks hitting my trick bike and nothing else.

Zac Playing on Trickbike

Zac and Berta during the Filming

And here some websites and blogs that featured it:
Locked Cog
Fixed Gear Hungary
Takeover LA
Pedal Consumption
Froots Fukuoka
Mad Motion Track
Cyclonesia