Tag Archives: Germany

Off the blog, across the pond…

If anyone noticed, I’ve neglected the site. Spending 2 months in Germany for work / school with my family precluded spending much time penning posts in the typical narrative style i prefer. Perhaps to somehow compensate for failing to document my experiences in a journal, I’ve taken maybe more photos than i typically do. (And I take alot)

The holy trinity

I got an Iph0ne four right before I left and have used it more than my point and shoot Pentax w90 and DSLR K7 combined! I also finally succumbed to instagram. There is no turning back now. Of course my flickr is updated regularly as well.


Like I said, I have been working a ton and that has means that riding time has been less too. Lucky for me, hopping on the tandem is something my family really enjoys. And Phillip, of European Touches, and I have also managed to tackle some EPIC endeavors, like the Schauinsland König. Check out one of my favorite summer photos of him above.

Loaded up and rolling. Next stop Grenoble

That said perhaps one of my most EPIC trips of my life started today. Tomorrow Phillipp, our friend Karl and I are riding up Alp D’Huez Alpe d’Huez, Col du Sarenne and Col du Galibier. Also on our three day agenda are Col d’Agnel, Col d’Izoard, Mount Ventoux and more. We’ll see how I feel Wednesday night! Needless to say, I’ll have some brilliant blog material coming up as well attending Eurobike this month… I’ll be kickstarting this thing back into motion.

Common themes. Tunnels, Mission Workshop & Shimano groups

European Touches ~ Vol. 7 ~ Freiburg Collective Bike Expo & Rapha Ride

The weekend of May 7th and 8th saw the premiere of a new bicycle festival in „the bicycle capital of

Germany“ : the Freiburg Collective Bike Expo.


A wide range of bicycle related activities and events were offered, such as guided MTB rides in the

surrounding mountains, an entertaining dirt park short track race on sunday as part of the

„CremaCross Short Track Series“ and of course the long anticipated „Rapha Ride“ through the

Black Forest. Along with a small but no less respectable expo of a number of celebrated national

and international bicycle brands and some custom frame builders.


Fixie Inc and Subtil Bikes were there to exhibit their complete bikes and parts for the urban

cyclist. You might have watched some of the videos showcasing all the Fixie Inc models as these

have been praised on prollyisnotprobably.com – I originally planned to visit the guys in their office

this past December, but it didn‘t work out in the end – even better to meet Recep, one of the owners,

in person now and to have a look at their decent bikes. The „Chip Race“ Titanium-roadbike and

the „Pureblood“ Cyclocross-Beast were definite eyecatchers (check out the bottlecap on the stem).

Too bad there is no proper distribution in the US yet.


After that I went straight to see the bikes built by local frame builder Kai Bendixen, who had also

developed some of the Fixie Inc prototypes in the past – a small world, indeed!

The bikes on display included a pink singlespeed crosstype mountainbike and a beautiful

bottlegreen Randonneur-Touringbike. I am planning to meet Kai at his shop later this year

to show you more of his work.


Another great framebuilder I got to meet was Thomas Veidt, who specialized in building bikes for

short people – but of course he is up for anything if you plan to get a custom frame. He brought

a workbench with him and was carving lugs when I got to his booth. One of the bikes he was

showcasing was the first bike he built after he started his own framebuilding business years ago:

A stunning lugged steel roadframe equipped with a vintage Campagnolo nuovo record gruppo from

the late 70s – this bike has been used alot and was far from a perfect untouched condition, but had

soul and style for sure. After miles and miles of riding this bike is now sitting in his living room

he said, just to look at it.

We also talked a little bit about how he would like to show some of his work at the „Oregon Handmade

Bicycle Show“ – an expo way more down to earth than the over-hyped NAHBS he said.

It was great talking to you Thomas!


I didn‘t spend much time at either the Campagnolo or Chris King booth, but I am sure their high

quality components were well received by the bicycle-loving crowd. Now it was time for an

Espresso over at the Biosk-counter where Lars and Julien served the usual great coffee and delicious

snacks – all organic, of course!


My next stop was at the Crema Cycles booth were I talked to Basti for a little while. Crema Cycles

is active in a number of different ways – they sell custom frames by US-brands including Geekhouse

and Independent Fabrications over here in Germany, they organize events such as this „Freiburg Collective

Bike Expo“ or the „Crema Cross“- Tour and are about to go public with their own CremaCycles

Cross Country (26″ & 29″) and Enduro (29″) frames built by Canadian framebuilder Mike Truelove.

More of these frames will be shown at the Eurobike in the summer. (Expect twotoneatl coverage!)


Other exhibitors included German magazine „Fahrstil“ and Italian Cyclegear brand “Biciclista“, who are

famous for their colorful cycling kits.

But of course the highlight of the weekend was the Rapha Roadride – Jon and I were super proud to

support Rapha and it was a pleasure to put together a route for the ride. Inspired by my post from last

year, Kieran of Rapha Germany asked me to come up with something similar. The challenging terrain of

the ride included three climbs, one of which the Schauinsland-mountain with its 11km ascent, it was the longest.

Outstanding views were guaranteed with this route!


About 40 people gathered Saturday morning in front of Rapha‘s „Mobile Cycle Club“ truck and signed

up for the ride. After Kieran’s introductory words everybody got on their bikes and we were ready to roll.

As we left the city limits it started to get hilly immediately and not long after that the first serious climb

was waiting for us. Of course we didn‘t stay together as a group the whole time, but we all met again on

top of the Schauinsland where snacks and drinks were served. All this worked out surprisingly well and the

whole ride didn‘t see a single puncture. Great!


After a breathtaking descent into the Münstertal valley with topspeeds well over 70km/h, some short

dirtroad and gravel parts, more climbing and great riding through vineyards we got back to the

Expo-grounds about three and half hours after we had left. What a great experience to ride with all these



This event was the first official Rapha event in Germany and marks the beginning of active campaigning

over here. So far the German market has been more or less neglected, but I am sure this will change

from now on. And what a way to start activities here in Germany.


Overall this has been an awesome weekend – amazing weather and great people! Freiburg really is

the „Bicycle Capital of Germany“ and I hope for a new edition of this event next year with even more

exhibitors, more activities and more people showing up.

In other news, I am totally stoked that Jon and his family will be spending the summer here in Freiburg and I am sure

this will lead to many more posts on the blog. Can‘t wait to show you around Jon!

More photos can be found on the European Touches flickr

PS: You can also follow me on twitter for irregular updates from the cycling world over here …


Check out the video of the ride here: twotoneatl.com/2011/05/18/rapha-rides-the-blackforest-video

European Touches ~ Vol. 4 ~ Berlin

Finally, after three posts of „European BS“ a.k.a. places you maybe never happen to visit, I want to tease

you with some info about three amazing bike shops in Berlin.

Some of you might have been to Berlin before and maybe some of you are thinking about going – and let

me tell you, you really should go and spent time over here – this city is buzzing!

And if all the sight-seeing and partying leaves time for an afternoon of bike shop hopping,

these would be the places worth checking out:


My first stop was at Keirin Berlin in the „Kreuzberg“ district, just across from subway-station

„Schlesisches Tor“. I went there for the first time over 2 years ago with Stacey and Jon, when they

spent their honeymoon in Europe and I really loved the shop. I think Mortimer, the shop owner, told

us back then that „Keirin Berlin“ opened a little before Trackstar in New York and therefore may be

the oldest trackbike shop.

And you can tell that this shop has been around for years – countless little pieces of „Keirin memorabilia“

can be found in the shop and some insane bikes from actual racers are hanging on the walls, including

an old Cinelli-tandem, which was ridden by GDR racers back in the day.


They have a number of old track- and original Keirin-frames in stock, I saw a nice looking „3Rensho“

sitting there for example and there was a „Diamant“ frame (GDR fame) hanging from the ceiling.

New frames, bags, parts, hats, some kits you name it – they have it all!

It is a great place and even if you don‘t want to buy something for your bike, you can always go

there for a coffee and buy a magazine.  Pictured below is Issue 1 of Fahrstil, a German cycling journal.


Next stop was „Goldsprint“ – unfortunately a little harder to find and quite a walk away from

Keirin Berlin. Shop-owner Alex had been busy blogging about Berlin’s fixed gear scene and after

building bikes for a number of friends he decided to start his own business.

Apparently he moved from his parents basement to the current showroom location about 2 months ago.

Since this place just opened this summer not a whole lot of things are in stock, but of course Alex

will order whatever you want. He sells brands like Veloheld, Leader bikes, some sick frames by polish

brand TenFour and has many BLB parts. He is also offering a custom made steel frame, handmade

in Europe from Columbus tubing, for around 700 Euros.


The next day I made it to Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg to check out Cicli Berlinetta. A friend told me about

it and I was expecting a lot, but what I saw there was even better! This shop is all about the beauty of

Italian bikes and components. They probably have well over a hundred vintage steel frames and bikes

hanging there – Chesini, Coppi, Colnago, De Rosa, Gios and the list goes on.


I have never seen this many beautiful frames in such great condition in one location before.

These guys also sell their own great looking custom made steel frames for either road or track.

And again this is all about Italy, so you can get their frames in a funky green-white-red colourway.


A „Cicli Berlinetta“ branded wheelset made from Ambrosio/Miche parts is also available in different

colours and available for 270 Euros.

Leaving the shop I sent Jon a text message saying „I just left the most amazing bike shop ever!“

Some more pictures can be found on the European Touches flickr.


European Touches ~ Vol. 3 ~ Hamburg days

It‘s been a while since my last visit to Hamburg, but I finally made it back for a couple of days.

It was great to hang out with some of my friends who go to school up there

and as always the city itself amazed me.

Since the weather was supposed to be pretty good I decided to bring my road bike to go for a little ride

along the Elbe-river. Even before meeting my friend Oskar I got on my bike and wanted to explore some

of the countryside northwest of the city.

I went down the „Elbchaussee“, one of Hamburgs longest streets and probably the most expensive part

of Hamburg. I made it to Blankenese, an old fishing village, where I took a ferry to cross the river.


On this side of the river, the so-called „Alte Land“ you find huge fields of apple-trees and some lovely

little towns. Bummer the weather turned bad and it started raining.

i was about 20 km downstream from Hamburg and  decided to take another ferry to get back to the

other side and rode back to the city to wake up my buddy Oskar, who had worked a nightshift.


The main purpose of this trip was to see the band of some of my friends from Freiburg play a show at

the „Uebel & Gefährlich“. This venue is situated in a huge old bunker in the heart of Hamburg’s

Saint Pauli“-district right by the Millerntor-Stadium, home of the famous Football team „FC St.Pauli“.

I was at their first show ever over a year ago at a squatted house with hardly any people in the crowd and to

see them play one of Hamburg‘s best clubs now, touring Germany and having a record deal was great.

The last months must have been really exciting for them.

But of course I wanted to check out some bike shops, too while I was in town.

I had heard about Swiss bag-manufacturer „Freitag“ giving away GOrilla fixies (RIP) for a day at no

charge at their store locations and while Oskar had to do an interview with Antony Hegarty of

„Antony & the Johnsons“ for German music magazine „Spex“, I decided to try these bikes for a few hours.


At first glance the bikes looked pretty good – including decent parts like Miche cranks and hubs

and a San Marco Regal seat. The cabling for the rear brake was kinda weird though and there were

no toeclips, so they could have put more thought in these bikes but after all this is still a brilliant idea

and I was thankful to try it. They even offer you to take a lock and a helmet if you want. Sweet.


My first stop was at a new „bike boutique“ in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel called „Two Wheels Good“.

I locked up my bike in front of the store and while walking in I knew this place was weird.

It looked amazing in there, the bikes were presented on white cubes, perfectly lit and arranged – it

looked like an art gallery with framed black & white photography on the walls.

The girl working there was busy with another customer and since I didn‘t want to interrupt them I got

my camera out and tried to take a picture just to instantly get yelled at for doing so. I tried to explain

what I was doing and that I would write about the store, but she wouldn‘t let me continue to take photos.



So I guess this place is all about looks and design – selling only complete bikes along with a handful of

random parts like grips, Brooks stuff and Nutcase helmets.

They don‘t have a workshop and only arrange service for the bikes they sold.

This really isn‘t a bikestore this is bullshit.

I don‘t mean to be an idiot about it and it is great to see people being interested in bikes and

high quality parts, but these folks don‘t have any connection with the bikescene at all and don‘t want

to get their hands dirty. How can you sell these bikes if you personally don‘t even ride that kind of bike?

I dare say that this is the wrong way to do it.


The next stop was far more promising, I went straight back to St. Pauli and arrived at „Suicycle

just while they were opening the store. The guys were loading their van to go down South for

Eurobike later that day and I had the chance to see some of their new products.

They will be offering two mid-price frames this coming season including a trick frame, the  „Widowmaker“

and track frame „sankt pauli“, made from Columbus and Sanko tubing.


Suicycle has been offering a handmade steel trackframe (picture below) for years, now these imported

frames are supposed to complement their product range.

They are currently looking for North American distribution, hopefully Eurobike works good for them.


The difference between this shop and the „boutique“ couldn‘t be more obvious.

While everything was carefully arranged at the other place and there were no signs of manual labor,

this shop looks like a bike shop is supposed to look. There were people walking in grabbing tools to

work on their rides in front of the store, a lady walked by pushing her bike and asked if they could

fix her front wheel and of course Jan, the owner of the shop, offered her to work on her bike at a

reasonable price giving her a rough estimate of the expected cost.

This store has been around for years and is an important part of Hamburgs fixed gear scene but also

these guys are part of their community and won‘t turn down any request. Thats the spirit!


After leaving the shop I rode around town for little while before turning the bike back in at the

Freitag store and meeting up with Oskar to have lunch. Chatting about our days so far and hearing

about his interview I also learned that there is a new bike sharing system in Hamburg called „Stadtrad“.

It has been around for about a year now and from what I heard it seems to be pretty successful.

I didn‘t have the time to try it, but saw many people use it later that day and during the night to

get home after partying.


As far as I know this is the first serious bike sharing system in a major German city, hopefully it

continues to be a success and inspires other cities to install something similar.

Some more pictures can be found on the European Touches flickr.

European Touches ~ Vol. 2 ~ Early Morning Black Forest Ride

It‘s been a month since my first post here and let me tell you, a lot of things have changed bike-wise.

Finally, a few months after I bought the Kazane frame and after months of saving money

for parts, a friend of mine put all pieces together and the Kazane saw the light of day.

I have to admit that I kinda neglect my fixed-gear bike now and only use it for daily commuting,

but it is just so tempting to take the road bike and as you leave the city, you are in the nicest and most

beautiful countryside you can imagine. There are just so many places to go and so many different options

when you have gears around here, it would be a pity not to do it.

Besides a few other rides, I have been going up the „Schauinsland“ mountain about 10 times in the past

3 weeks – with it‘s elevation of 1,284 m (4213 ft) it is a nice but challenging climb – at least for me

as a rookie roadie.


As you reach the top, there are a few different ways to extend your ride or go down – this morning I

decided to cross over and descend into the „Münstertal“ valley. This turned out to be a great choice:

a road in great condition (at least the first half), great views and hardly any cars made this a lot of fun.


Leaving the valley, you come through the little town of „Staufen“, I especially liked the ruin of an old

castle situated on a little hill close by. Coming from the flat northern part of Germany, this gave me

„vacation feelings“ again, as riding my bike in this area usually does.


After all, this round had a lot to offer: a climb, a descent, some flat parts and a few little hills –

all this within about 60km.

The weather was amazing and it was great to do the ride before the heat of the afternoon.

Münstertal round

Coming back to Freiburg I stopped at the market, just around the corner from my place,

I bought some fresh, locally grown fruit for breakfast, before I had to get dressed up for a friends wedding.


Since Jon & Stacey took their tandem with them to Europe for their honeymoon, I thought I should

post this picture of the couple:


My friends will not be traveling with this tandem, but they rode it to the ceremony – still pretty classy.

Introducing: European Touches ~ Vol. 1 ~ To Breisach & Back

Introducing European Touches.

This inaugural post ushers in a new regular column here on the site highlighting European cycling

penned by a long time friend of mine, Philipp. He recently traveled with me to SF.



After what seemed to be an endless and unusually long period of rainy days down here in Freiburg

(supposedly Germany’s sunniest city), we were blessed with a beautiful summer day this Saturday.

Since my new Kazane roadbike is still not yet built up, I only have my fixed-gear basket-bike, which

I like to call „the workhorse“. I really couldnʻt go into the Black Forest with its steep ascents on it, so I

was again left only with the option to go out West towards the French-German border, a relatively flat area,

called the „rhine valley“.

I decided to ride to the little city of  Breisach, on the Rhine river, with France just across.

I have made this round a few times before (at leat half the time I ended up with a flat at some

point in the middle of nowhere) but took a little different route there today.


Just outside of Freiburg’s city limits you start to see vineyards – you literally ride through fields of apple and

cherry trees with the vineyards always in sight. This area is called the „Kaiserstuhl“, along with Germany’s

big Riesling-Regions (such as the Mosel and Rheinhessen), this is one of the best places to grow and

produce wine in the country – if you ever have a chance, try some vino from this area.

Cycling Specific Signs

Not only did I get to enjoy the lovely countryside surrounding the city, but I was also amazed by the

huge network of bikepaths, all in excellent paved condition & signposted quite well.

You can really tell that Freiburg is one of the most bike friendly places around.

And not only is Freiburg treating bike commuters very well, but it seems like everybody owns a

roadbike, too. I met innumerable people on road bikes, many of whom were old guys on their

expensive bikes.

Passing some of them on my „workhorse“ and getting astonished looks really made my day. Burn!


After arriving in Breisach I decided to go up the hill to the Romanesque cathedral,

which is pretty much the only sight this little town has to offer.

I knew that a short but steep cobblestone-road was waiting for me – the only way to get up that hill.

Definately a Paris-Roubaix moment climbing this road on a fixed gear.


On my way back I came across a local under-15 road-race.

I stopped for a little while and saw some ambitious teenagers racing their roadbikes real hard,

letʻs hope it is a generation of new Jens Voigts.

This ride with its 53km and the perfect weather certainly was the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


My new wheels for the Kazane arrived today – nice 2010 Ultegras.

As soon as the bike gets built I’ll join a few friends on their weekly „Wednesday night ride“ and hope

to discover some of the Black Forest valleys that I would otherwise never be able to see riding fixed.

Alot of cycling will be happening this summer, thats for sure!

found that old cargo bike in Breisach

Pictured above is an old cargo Philipp found in Breisach. All photos taken by Philipp.