Monday, August 25, 2008

EuroBike Preview

Sneak peak of one of the show see the whole picture, stop by booth ZH-400

We are in the final stretch before Eurobike kicks off and we are still not ready, but then who ever is??? I have two complete bike builds (one frame and most of its parts aren't even here yet), two bikes to do some re-building on, and have to wash and polish up some others. My stand looks good though, simple, clean, easy to manage. For us things are going well, we have a couple articles hitting the newstands as i write this, one on the SSR, and one on a custom Deluxe we did for an editor at BIKE over here. Plus Bike Sport News did a nice little preview on us being at Eurobike. Even over here people like to spread the IF love...

TOUR article on the SSR

Our first customer over here, Stefan Algaier, competed in the Trans Alp on his new Deluxe, commenting on how it is the greatest bike he has ever had. He was poroud to say that it garnered many comments and admirers along the route, congrats to Stefan for completing his race!

Props have to go out to all whom have made the show for us possible, first and foremost our partner in this, Independent Fabrication who have built us sweet rides over the years, for this show and helped organize for the articles - THANK YOU!!!

EDGE for giving us leeway and product to build up the market in Germany, we are on our way! KING for so much support, Chris D & Chris A have worked and supported us all along; PAUL Components, one of our new brands and some of the best CX brakes out there; Arnaud for bringing us in to support Hutchinson at outdoor Demo and for placing rubber on our rides; Thomson - thanks David for all that you do!; Chad Roberts at Shimano rocks - 'nuph said; Fitzy & Elana at FOX; Christina & Jason at Crank Brothers, Max at FSA, Fizik, Connex, Nokon, and so many others.

I will try to keep the Blog updated daily, not just about us, but on the whole show, things I see and people we meet, stay tuned...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

IF 29er Hurt in Crash

Blue pictured at the 2008 SiS was severely injured while on vacation in Germany, but will make a full recovery back in the States.
Dave Blum, owner of the sweet babyblue 29er from SiS, dropped me a line. Seems he and his 29er took a tumble while riding here in Germany, and the 29er took the worse of it.

"On a sad note, during my last day in Germany (well, before the Lufthansa
strike trapped me here for an extra week), I had a rather nasty accident in
the Teutoberg Wald which resulted in a crushed/bent the TT of my IF.", sadi Dave in his email.

On the up side, Independent is working on the injured ride, and after replacing the toptube, "blue" is expected to make a full recovery and be ripping up single track in the near future.

Get well, our thoughts are with you!

PS. if that were a carbon or beer-can bike, it would be a total loss and in some landfill by now...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Worth Their Weight in Gold.

So I have decided to boycott the Olympics, not that the IOC nor BOCC will notice, but it is a personal choice. And a political one. I know the athletes when confronted with the question, “Will you boycott the Olympics?” The answer is inevitably “No” followed by “The Olympics are about sports, not politics.” Copout answer.

The Olympics are politics, and hosting them even more so. Don’t you think that China wanted to the Olympics to not only brush up its image but also to flex its muscle with a good gold medal showing? Maybe my decision not to participate seems small and insignificant, but if we all would be more active and stand up for what is the ethical thing to do, don’t you think the world would be a much better place?

Thankfully, cycling does not need the Olympics. I mean really think about it, does the fact riders like Merck, Armstrong or other champions having not won an Olympic medal tarnish or take away from their other accomplishments or careers? No. Has a rider ever built their career off of a gold medal? Again no. So then why play the game? I am sure there is a huge money factor for many of the involved parties, but from a riders perspective it is really just another feather in their cap.

Example, Guna Rita Dahle will go down in history as one of the most dominate riders, racking up a long string of World Cups and World Championships, and oh, she won a gold medal. Same for Bettini, a great classics rider, solid stage racer, multiple World Champion, also has a gold to his name. These two riders have had careers mere mortals can only dream of, even with out a little 24k piece of memorabilia from some sporting event that takes place every four years in a far away place where politicians and business interest groups greased the wheels of the Olympic machine.

Earlier in the year I had a pole asking you what is more important. The choices were top cycling events such as Classics, World Cups, Worlds and the Grand Tours along with the Olympics. In both cases (road and mountain biking) less than 10% chose the Olympics. So in the public platform, and in the eyes of most riders, an Olympic gold pales in comparison with a rainbow or yellow jersey.

We all need to engage more with the world we live in, be it in politics, voting, activism, volunteering, and so on… That includes making a political statement when you have the attention of the world. Riders must follow their convictions and not always the ambitions nor the all mighty dollar (even though it is not so mighty right now…).

Will you boycott the Olympics?

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Why we came...
Inspired. That’s how I feel right now. With SiS fresh in the rear-view mirrors I feel energized moving forward. In the sleepy little town of Weidenthal, over 400 hundred riders and many more spectators/ bike enthusiasts took up camp in one of the narrow valley-ends on a sportsplatz converted into some thing resembling the Burning-Man tent town.

This was the core of the single speed scene in Germany and included some from other countries in Europe. Spawned out of the Eingang Forum, Phaty and a well-organized crew provide not only a superb venue, but incredible support to the riders. This should have been the German Single Speed Championships.

People started rolling in on Friday to set up camp, meet with friends and hit some local rides. I was fortunate to be on one of them, although listed as the guide, I would have called it more guided discovery as we explored some great single track I have not even ridden. Our group swelled over 15 strong and was mainly made up of single speeders (myself NOT included)… I met some great people on the ride although the tempo was high at times, and the climbs long and steep, we did stop for some conversation along the way.

The best riding 29er I have ridden

I met a guy out of Baltimore who has the best 29er I have ever ridden, which also happened to be a Indy Fab. It was kitted out with KING all around, some powerful Avid Ultimate Juicy’s, a sweet sweeping back Seven Ti bar and an interesting Black Sheep Ti fork. Also on the ride was Mike aka. Wunnspeed whom I have been swapping comments on each others blogs with and it was finally great to meet him as well. He of course was on his Ti Black Sheep also dressed up in KING among other priceless jewels.

KING & IF of course

After the group ride, it was time for some good German Weizenbeir, and more conversation. A really bad coverband was warming up as the cool night air filled the valley. I wanted to stay, but had to get home.

I was back early and set up my IF booth and tent for the day. Immediately people came by to check out the bikes and goods I had on hand, often introducing themselves by their nickname from the EinGang Forum. Sandi’s bike was the hit. Two women would have walked off with it if I had turned my back long enough… actually there was a guy in a pink polo shirt who I think would have as well, but that is a whole another story. Friends were made, and I also got to see some sweet rides. Fixie was on hand, and had a sweet rusted, belt-drive fixed geared bike that was equally beautiful and amazing. Wood handlebar, polished bits rounded out a very nice ride. I wold later find out that they outsource their production to Twaiwan which I must admit wiped off some of the luster I had for them, but still two very awesome guys!

Show stopper.

A stunning ride.

Sandi & I had to pull the cord on racing with full Ernst due to Colin needing her around at night. So we decided to approach the night race at a fun level. Sandi did kick everyone’s ass in the pre-race single speed race, including mine. Reeling in the leaders my asthma kicked in and shut me down. After only a few guys had picked me off, then Sandi went blasting by with none of the girls in sight.

The day continued on filled with great conversation and bike watching and then you could start to feel the buzz in the air with the imminent beginning of the night race rituals. Waridi provided illumination for Sandi & I, we both rode her single speed that evening. Sandi was enroute to bring Colin to bed and come back for her lap, as I lined up for the start. We blasted into the night at 20:52pm, I was amongst the single speeders and almost couldn’t stop myself from laughing at times. There were a couple of really fun sections in the course, but I tended to get hung up behind others not being able to let er really rip. After one lap, I had to get a light adjustment, and handed controls over to Sandi. By now it was dark, and the field was spread out. When Sandi made back from the darkness and I pulled another lap before retiring from riding for the evening.

Sandi went home to take care of Colin, I hung out talking more with others and soaking in the spectacle. Eventually I retired for the evening, setting the alarm for an early wake-up call. Before the alarm could ring, I was awaken by the second ambulance in the night, there was some carnage. So I slid back into what were now some cold, clammy and damp chamois', but luckily I had scored an UnSchaltbar (not shiftable) jersey, saving me from a totally cold wet experience.

I pulled two morning laps rolling in after the 5:59 finish time on the second. A crowd gathered at the finish area, sharing stories from the night, laughing at each other misfortunes or laziness. It was awesome. More stories were told over breakfast and some really bad coffee. After which we all slowly packed up our things, joined the ceremonies and bided each other fare well.

It was a super event in all ways, and was absolutely one of the best I have ever been too. What is reassuring for meis that I know we have found some great people over here, and our paths will certainly cross many more times in the future. This scene is great, there is a lot of positive energy coming out of these people and I am eager for more!