Mianzi Rei – My Legs My Gears from Colorado Media GmbH on Vimeo.
Fixie rider, road racer, tattoo model and vegan: Mianzi Rei is an icon of German women’s cycling and a driving force in Berlin’s urban riding scene. This stylish and contemplative video, My Legs My Gears, takes an inside look at her life in Berlin, her love of bikes, the thrill of spinning around a velodrome, and how a policeman once pushed her off her bike for riding on the sidewalk. We look forward to following Rei in 2015 when she competes in the Red Hook Crit fixed gear race series on her custom Hektor fixie with Gates Carbon Drive from Schindelhauer Bikes.
“It is great having Mianzi Rei on our team. She is ambitious, seeks new challenges every time she rides and is an icon of the European fixed gear scene,” says Jörg Schindelhauer. “Mianzi is always friendly and open-minded, making her the perfect ambassador for Schindelhauer.”
Gates-Nicolai Mountain Bike Team member–and Swiss BMX champion–David Graf ditches his BMX bike for a Nicolai Argon FAT in the new video “Pig Rodeo.” Watch G-Raf fly the tabletops and air out his balloon tires like a supersonic swine on the trails of Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Alee Denham and Kat Webster recently completed the bike trip of a lifetime, bicycling through 30 countries from Europe to Asia and back to their home in Australia over two years–all documented on their website, www.cyclingabout.com. The couple overcame adversity, enjoyed thrills, camped in stunning landscapes, ate incredible foods, persevered through nagging injuries and pains, befriended countless individuals and created enduring memories. The couple started in the Netherlands in 2012 with two Surly Long Haul Truckers modified to use a Rohloff hub and Gates Carbon Drive belt, then switched to a Co-Motion Equator with Gates belt drive and Rohloff hub. Riding without chains and derailleurs gave them more time to enjoy the sites and relax instead of doing drive-train maintenance. We recently caught up with Alleykat, now back home in Melbourne for several months, to get their story.
What is Alleykat, who are you, and what is your cycling history?
Alleykat is our combined name (Alee+Kat) which our friends gave us when we first started dating. We are both in our mid-20′s and are passionate about the world. So much so that we decided to dedicate two years of our life to travelling the world and meeting its people. We believe that bikes are the best way to experience the planet as we can work our way into all the places that regular tourists don’t often get to. Our bike offers no physical barrier between us and local people, so we meet people more regularly and get to experience the world’s amazing hospitality. We’ve never had to worry about waiting, timetables or understanding a transport system. We do what we want, when we want. Bikes give us the ultimate freedom.
Tell me about your trip: how long in length and time, and what countries did you hit?
We spent over two years cycling 31,000km (19,000 miles) between Amsterdam to Melbourne in Australia. We zig-zagged through Europe to Turkey, then headed into Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran before cycling through the ‘Stans (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan). We were denied a Chinese visa at the time, so we flew over it to Korea, and then caught a boat to Japan. The typhoon hit the Philippines late last year, so we went over to help. We then flew from there to South East Asia to cover six more countries before flying into Australia to complete the rest of our trip.
What kind of bike and gear did you have?
We started our big trip in two separate bikes (both with Carbon Drive) before realizing that a tandem would allow us to go further, faster. It turned out there were other benefits too, such as the extra space given to us on the road, overwhelmingly kind responses from the people who saw us, easier communication between us on the bike, and the feeling of a team effort. We got a custom tandem bicycle made by Co-Motion in the USA, and we carried around 40kg (88 pounds) of gear between us in five bags (no trailer… woo hoo!). You can see our gear breakdown here.
What were the high points of the trip?
The most mind-blowing thing about our trip was undoubtedly the people. It is always the people who make a place special, who change our perceptions and who open our hearts and eyes. We have had the most incredible travel experiences in the dullest of places. We’ve learned that we can trust more people than we ever thought was possible. We’ve learned that people are incredibly hospitable and on the whole, people are very kind and generous if you give them a chance… even in your own country!
What was the most difficult experience of the trip?
The hardest thing to deal with was how Kat was treated in some countries. Men felt it was their right to touch her inappropriately and even kiss her. Sometimes it happened multiple times per day, making it very hard to have a good time. This problem was localized in small pockets of the world, and we did become a bit better at dealing with it over time. We don’t want to discourage women from traveling, so let’s put it in perspective: Kat was treated very well 99.99% of the time.
Tell me about your experience with Gates Carbon Drive.
We had a very positive experience on the three bikes we’ve used with Gates Carbon Drive. At the time we left, we were unsure as to the durability of the system, but we thought we’d give it a go anyway. We carried a few spare belts just in case. Our first (and only) belt lasted 31,000km. Try getting a chain to last that long!
How did the Gates belt and sprockets compare to chains you’ve used? Did using the Carbon Drive belt make the trip easier or less maintenance?
The best thing about belts for us was the maintenance-free nature of them. We cleaned our belts with water and a toothbrush about once a month on average. We found that they required more frequent cleaning on dusty roads with really fine grit, but those kinds of roads were only a few short sections of our journey. On the whole, the Gates belts certainly made our life easier.
What are your plans now that you have returned home?
We are taking some time to think about and remember and reflect on all that has happened over the past few years and determine how to implement some of the amazing ideas we’ve come up with. It would be easy to float back into jobs, but we think it’s important to extract everything we can from our life-changing experience. With that in mind, Kat has recently started writing a book about our journey. She has also decided that it’s time for a career change from teaching to dietetics, so she will be studying as of next year. I’ve decided to devote some time into making our bicycle touring website even better, and will invest time into learning new skills, notably the ins and outs of documentary film making. Work will have to wait.
The few images we’ve shown in this post are just a tiny sample of the incredible video and photo archive Alleykay have compiled of their trip. Below is their video report from Laos. It’s hard not to love these guys once you see and hear their enthusiasm for this beautiful nation, its people, wildlife and culture. Who knows? Their joyful attitude may convince you to embark on a bicycle journey yourself.
CyclingAbout.com // Alleykat Loves Laos (EP.12) from Cycling About on Vimeo.
The X1 from Schiller Sports blurs the line between boats and bikes. The frame is made of rust-free anodized aluminum, with stainless steel components and inflatable pontoons. The propulsion system features a Gates Carbon Drive belt and sprockets because a chain would corrode. The X1 may be the most advanced water bike ever created, a vehicle that allows bicyclists to “experience the thrill and freedom of biking across a spectacular blue planet,” says company founder and CEO Judah Schiller.
Riders steer the X1 via two oscillating props connected to the handlebars. It weighs about 45 pounds, can be disassembled to fit into the trunk of a car or home closet and can hit speeds of 8 knots (10 miles per hour) depending on rider ability. Schiller worked with engineer Marcus Hays, founder of Gates belt drive eBike brand Pi Cycle, on the design. “If you can ride a bike, you can ride the Schiller X1 anywhere there’s water,” Schiller told USA Today in an article about the invention. “I had the X1 out at the beach locally, about a mile offshore, and ended up biking with dolphins.”
The X1 costs $6,495, with a special Founder’s Edition for $8,775. The company is based in the Bay Area and all X1s are manufactured in Northern California. Learn more at www.schillerbikes.com. Just watch out for sharks.
Judah Schiller chilling on the X1 off the coast of Northern California, above, and pedaling near the Golden Gate Bridge.
MK1 – Tilt-action cargo trike from Butchers & Bicycles, Copenhagen from Butchers & Bicycles, Copenhagen on Vimeo.
Based in the historic meat packing district of Copenhagen, Butchers & Bicycles is a cargo bike brand that exemplifies the energy and innovation that has made Denmark one of the world’s most progressive cycling nations. Butchers & Bicycles and its three founders (Morten Mogenson, Morten Wagener and Jakob Munk) have a simple goal: make cargo bikes that are a practical and easy alternative to cars for people and businesses that carry large objects. “It has long been established that the bicycle is in fact…in many cities, actually even faster,” they say.
Their first model is the Mk1, a cargo trike that comes in a pedal or electric version. The Mk1-E electric bike (above) features a 250-watt MPF drive for pedal assist up to 25 kilometers per hour, plus a back-lit control unit with a USB plug for phone charging. Both the Mk1 and Mk1-E can be purchased with the Gates Carbon Drive belt system for low maintenance and grease-free practicality.
The other noteworthy innovation is the cargo box, which tilts with the rider for better handling.
The Mk1 also features:
- a lightweight aluminium frame
- a parking/kickstand that can be raised and lowered from the riding position
- NuVinci N360 internal hub gearing for seamless shifting
- hydraulic disc brakes on all three wheels
- double wall aluminium rims
- Schwalbe puncture proof tires – 26’’ rear / 20’’ front
- quick release saddle and handlebar adjustment
- mudguards/fenders on all wheels
- durable cargo box with easy access front door and child-safe lock
- cargo box mount for children’s car seat
- lockable glove box with integrated cup holder
- 1 year free service in the Copenhagen showroom
This brand has style. We love their logo, and the Butchers & Bicycles showroom looks immaculate. Follow them on Facebook @Butchers & Bicycles, Copenhagen. If you like bikes, put Copenhagen on the list of places to visit. Rent a GoBike through the city’s eBike sharing program and pedal over to the meat packing district.