Monthly Archives: June 2009

New bike heaven

So I have been away in Scotland, and then there as a week back at home just outside London. It was good week, with a lot of work to do, both work work and work on the flat. As always being here brings a lot of different tasks and hats that I have to wear.

Finally the bike storage is ready. This is awesome for me, because it means that bikes are no longer in the living room, and that I don’t have to clean them straight away, as soon as I get home. Also, and this is important. As much as I love bikes, I enjoy not having them in my sight all of the time.

With regards to the bike love, the new one is finished. Unfortunately I don’t have scales here, so I am guessing the weight at around 6.4kg…. perhaps a little more. Honestly, I am not as weight obsessed as I once was and the bike itself doesn’t ride lighter than the old one (6.63kg). That said, I am spoilt. I mean these are awesome machines, far more bike than I will ever need.

I have been doing a bit of riding of course, with a 50mile cruise yesterday through the undulations of Berkshire. It felt great.

I have things ahead of me this week. The Pretty One’s Birthday and a trip to Italy too.


My lifestyle means that I have friends allver the world. In fact, I think anyone who studied languages will have this same thing. This weekend in Scotland was a result of that. We were invited to the wedding of a friend of mine with whom I worked in Kufstein, Austria while we were both at university. He was at a different uni to me, but living in a tiny Austrian town and being the only two native English speakers there we became best friends. He developed an interest in cycling too and the pair of us would climb mountains everyday on our bikes. Towards the end of our time there we hired a car, and drove to France to watch the last time trial of the 2002 Tour de France. We managed to stay in contact, and just recently The Pretty One and I went to his wedding in Glasgow. This meant flights from LHR, followed by a ceremony in Paisley Abbey and reception at her parents house. Firstly, I think it is worth mentioning that I am at that age that all of my friends are marrying left right and centre, but this one was one of the best. The Pretty One and I were made to feel so welcome. Not only this, but Glasgow has some areas of interest (wow, that’s almost a complement), and I am planning a return to spend more time with the bride and groom, possibly getting some riding in.

Glasgow and a drive

Since Willingen, I have been back at the office for two days then drove back to the UK on Thursday. This takes forever. There is five hours worth of motorways on the Germany, Belgium and France side of things, then an hour for the tunnel, before another couple of hours in the UK. I had forgotten it was SO far, and arrived somewhat dazed from the journey, only to find myself without a front door key! The most important thing with coming by car though, is that it enabled me to bring bikes. The new one is nearly finished and I am very much looking forward to riding it. At the moment it must wait though.

Yesterday we flew to Glasgow and are attending a wedding today. I hadn’t been into the centre of Glasgow before, and it seems to be a mix of the extremely ugly and the beautiful. The domed ceiling is where we later had dinner.

Going back to the UK

So my time in Germany is drawing to a close for this session, and I am really looking forward to being back in the UK and with the Pretty One.  Tomorrow will see me in my little French German car with three bikes on board (two mine – one still being built – and one The Pretty One’s) drive to the tunnel, and arrive back at home at about 1am.  No time for relaxing though, as I will be flying off to Scotland for a wedding for the weekend.

I have booked some holiday leave so I can really enjoy the new road bike once it is built.  As yet, I don’t have any plans to visit anywhere specific, although I think that I need to do one ride of around 100 miles.  I say this for two reasons… the first is that I need to shock my system into being fit again, the second is that I put my name down, finally, to actually ride an event this year.  To be fair I have another planned, but I will see how I measure up.

For now, it is sleep time.  Roll on tomorrow!

Product development

Being part of a company with a cash cow product is both a blessing and a curse. Our main and strongest product is known worldwide, and sets standards still. The problem comes when being more than that product. Innovative ideas, and other strong products also exist and function offering similar advantages to our original concept. The question is always how to get this message across.

The product development seminar was about getting the sales guys to think like the product developers, and vice versa. I think it worked.

Willingen Festival

Maybe I have written this before, it is difficult to remember. The thing about the bike industry is that it is a village. You see the same people where ever you go. In some respects it is quite nice, same faces, same relationships and the same level of professionality (ahem!)

Willingen isn’t a festival that I was working at this year. I came to look around and to ‘get a feel for the market’. The concept of this is a strange one. I would have thought by now that I am fairly ‘expert’ but all markets are different, and I try as much as possible to leave the German market to the national sales guys. What is true is that Germany has some very regional brands, and these were all present and correct. In the end though these festivals are all the same. Essentially they are a good thing as it gives a chance for the brand to interact directly with the customers, but unfortunately all the customers are often interested in is special pricing at the event. It is annoying, because for the sake of our local dealers it is something we aren’t wiling to do.

I am in my 1980s hotel now, but will give you the view from the balcony. Yes, that is a ski jump in the distance.


Returning from dinner, perhaps I undervalued this. Tomorrow our external sales department will meet with our product development to exchange ideas. The mood at dinner was good. I will update tomorrow.


Oh how I love my Klein. The bike gets better and better with every upgrade.

The bike is from 2002, technically a Trek made Klein, but it was still made in the old Klein factory, or rather the frame is, and recently I fitted disc brakes to it, and wow, if I could just find a frameset in this league which is modern day full suspension, that would be awesome.

Rode through the forest today, single track and technical, and just tried not to hit the brakes. Three hours.

Tomorrow it is the Willingen festival. Like Sea Otter, but German, not in California and not as cool, relaxed or as good! Ha ha!

Modern technology

I don’t know what they were doing either! Trying to pump the Rhine dry? You’d think that with the hugely expensive taxes in Germany, the fire brigade would be better equipped (not to mention the 14 year old firemen).

Brussels and other things

So I have been off to Brussels to see a friend of mine who was over from Mexico. Working for the European Commission seems to have its perks, and Germany’s obsession with bank holidays mean that I had a day off.

My friend is a keen cyclist, and it is great to get her opinions about things. Honest feedback about our products from expert users who aren’t part of the industry isn’t always easy to get. Mind you, it was more of a trip for a bit of a chin wag.

I also stayed with another friend, who I have only seen a couple of times since university. I suppose this is the advantage of studying languages – I have friends all over the place.

I have decided, however, that Brussels is not for me! The traffic situation is fairly dire, and it is very expensive!

This weekend I intend to do some riding, and then there is the Willingen Bike Festival. That should be interesting.

As for the new bike… well it is getting there. I will be back in the UK to finish it off I think, and then I am there for three weeks.

Still living on sofas here. 😦

New bike

Yesterday I went to Canyon after work to puck up a new frame. For those of you who don’t know Canyon, they ate a major force on the German bike Market. The frame I have is arguably the best on the market regardless of price, and holds it’s own against more costly rivals. My connection to them is that I know the CEO personally.

I am looking forward to getting it built over the next couple of weeks with a usual over the top selection of top shelf bike parts. Most of all though, I am looking forward to riding on the road again, and cycling with The Pretty One.

Another bank holiday tomorrow in Germany. How they ever became the international economic power they are, I’ll never know. For me, I travel to Belgium to meet a couple of friends in Brussels. One of whom is over with work from Mexico.