Archive for the ‘Natooke’ 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.

Bike Polo in Chengdu

Freitag, März 1st, 2013

Finally I came to Chengdu mainly to see how the Natooke Chengdu shop is doing and see what is happening here in the cycling scene. It was easy to spontaneously convince the Larry and Jake to play a little bit of bike polo today – even though it was a Friday and it was in the daytime. Unfortunately Jake had to stay in the shop take care of it. We did not post this polo meet up anywhere so just a few people came, but we were enough to play polo.

Chengdu Spontaneous Bike Polo

The average age of the Chinese people that showed up was slightly higher than in Beijing.

Chengdu Chinese Woman Bike Polo

Chinese Old Style Bike for Bike Polo

Amazing Chinese Woman Playing Bike Polo

She actually was just passing by and found the game interesting. She then stopped and chatted with us. So we gave her the mallet and she right away jumped on her bike to try it out. But after a while she understood that she might first need to get some practice with the mallet and ball but not riding a bike. So she started running around the court getting the feeling for the mallet.

Chinese Woman Practicing Polo

I asked her how old she was and she answered that she is getting younger every day. She had amazing energy and ball handling skills.

Elderly Woman Excited about Bike Polo

Spring Festival Pollution Bike Polo

Mittwoch, Februar 13th, 2013

Our Beijing bike polo coach Tom arranged a special bike polo session during this Spring Festival holiday. So today we met up at the usual winter time of 2pm at our usual spot at the West side of the Worker’s Gymnasium as every weekend.

Coach Tom invites for Spring Festival Bike Polo in Beijing

As it is Chinese New Year most of our Chinese bike polo players were celebrating with their families or otherwise engaged. So except for Honghong only foreigners showed up.

Beijing Pollution Bike Polo Meet-Up

Bike Polo in Beijing despite the high level of Air Pollution 2013

Actually another reason why only 8 people came could be the hazardous pollution level we had again in Beijing.

Beijing Air Pollution Index for Today

We had an air pollution maximum of over 400 just when we started playing! I was happy because of course I have my great Respro anti-pollution mask designed for urban use and sports to protect myself from all the particles down to the PM10, PM2.5 and even sub micron size. Actually most of us use Respro anti-pollution masks. My Respro Techno mask is in the so called “Ines” pink color.

Respro Techno in Ines Pink and Ribcap Helmet Cap

I also had my Ribcap helmet cap which is so great for bike polo. Here are pictures of two Beijing Natooke bikes and the Beijing pollution haze.

Gabriel’s Flying Banana Polo Bike from Natooke

Ben’s Flying Banana Polo Bike from Natooke

After polo we packed up to go to a restaurant bar and have oven baked pizza and fresh waffles with loads of maple sirup, chocolate and whipped cream. Here is a creative way of carrying 2 bike polo mallets (the Respro mask and the green Ribcap fit well):

Beijing Bike Polo Ninja

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/

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.

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!

3 Years NATOOKE

Mittwoch, März 7th, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATOOKE!

Natooke Logo

Our shop has been open for 3 years already. I cannot believe it. We started Natooke shop on March 7th 2009 in the center of Beijing. It has grown very big but we are still in the same traditional hutong building.

Natooke Shop Outside

We soon after started a Chinese twitter site. There are almost 5000 people following our daily updates in Chinese. Of course we organize many events and are happy to have so many people join.

Bikes in front of Natooke

We just started the Chinese Ebay (called Taobao) . There we are selling parts and bikes to people who do not want to come to the shop or live somewhere else. But still we have so much stuff in the shop.

Natooke inside

Volker in Natooke

Donnerstag, Januar 5th, 2012

I love the coincidences making life so interesting! Today a Chinese woman came into Natooke. I was in the office and could only hear her asking my empoloyees. Isn’t your boss German? What is her name? I have a friend who says he thinks he knows her. My employee asked me to come down and I finished writing something and then reluctantly went down thinking this might be another Chinese person wanting me to teach their brother or child some German (which I of course do not do and never did). When I came down I saw Volker Zwack from Herzogenaurach. Oh my god! We had gone to the same school but I have not sen or heard from him since 1997. That was so cool!

But that of course by itself would not be too much of a coincidence.

They actually decided that they would have a look at Wudaoying Hutong as their friends told them it is becoming a really nice street to go. When they were walking past my shop he stopped and he remembered that he had read somewhere about 6 months ago that I have a bike shop, but he was not sure if I actually live in Beijing. Of course he also had no idea about the name or what kind of bike shop it is or where it is. They had the feeling it could be mine as we have a huge German flag hanging on the outside of Natooke. So they decided to come in and ask. So great!

Volker in Natooke

We went and had a nice hotpot dinner together and talked about the old times and some of the people we are still in contact with. Unfortunately Volker is already flying back to Germany tomorrow.

Video of Takao Bike Polo Cup Kaohsiung

Donnerstag, Januar 5th, 2012

Two Natooke bike polo teams as well as our own Natooke bike polo coach went to Taiwan last December. We had a Natooke men and a Natooke girls team. Today I saw the official video of the Takao Cup of Asian Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships 2011 in Kaohsiung Taiwan. Watch on youtube.

I also stumbled across another video of our Natooke team dancing away and trying to get others to join in. it is hilarious. It is always fun with the Natooke guys! Here’s the link

My pictures from the bike polo cup are all on the Natooke website in this gallery.

Natooke Bikes

Montag, Januar 2nd, 2012

Last year we have been busy all kinds of amazing custom bikes for so many people. As we are re-doing our Natooke website I am uploading pictures of the bikes we built for customers, as well as our happy customers and friends. Here are just some pictures of Flying Banana bicycles.

Classic Flying Banana Fixed Gear Bike by Natooke

Aggressive Flying Banana Fixed Gear Bike by Natooke

Custom Writing on Flying Banana Fixed Gear Bike by Natooke

Watermelon Flying Banana Fixed Gear Bike by Natooke

White Flying Banana Fixed Gear Bike by Natooke

Green Flying Banana Fixed Gear Bike by Natooke