27 October 2019

Classic bikes in MOB's shop

MOB told me that he is selling lots of good quality city bikes, mountain bikes, e-bikes, and even some electric scooters.

But the other bikes around his shop that I really noticed were the "Eroica-eligible" classics hidden here and there.

You can find the rules for Eroica bicycles in Regulation 6.1 of the Eroica -- an annual 200+ km event on the bianca strada of Chianti in Tuscany. Basically, the bicycles should be from before 1987, or more recent ones that are "historically inspired".  No brifters, etc. I realized that MOB could easily outfit a team of tall Bremen-based riders to join the Eroica.

Here are two of them. First, a Pegliaghi.

Is it for sale?

Next, a Cinelli Supercorsa with gorgeous components.

Beautiful Campagnolo downshifters

Holes drilled ... for grip? Save weight?

A Peugeot ... too large a frame for Jerome.
Nagasawa track bike -- MOB bought this Keirin frame with me in Tokyo!

You can learn about all of these and more on MOB's blog.

Gute Fahrt near Bremen

Ferry plank signage
On Monday afternoon MOB and I took a ride in the countryside along the River Weser northwest of Bremen. The ferry (ferry company?) was the Weser courier, and they wished us and all the other vehicles a "good ride" as we rode off the boat. I explained to MOB that "gute fahrt" sounds to a juvenile American like "good fart", which is not really an appropriate farewell greeting, but is nonetheless very funny.

In a juvenile sort of way. Very juvenile. 

This word "fahrt" in German has a lot of comic potential. Where is Dave Barry when we need him?

I rode the Ridley with a 1x SRAM setup. Very nice. Very comfortable. Plenty of gear range.

700x40 Donnelly Strada tubeless ready tires. Very comfy and reasonably fast. 

The tire tread is just right -- some help on gravel and in minor wet patches, but still fast on paved roads.

We headed off to the north and after city streets eventually turned into an area of parks, marshlands, and agriculture. We made a brief photo stop on the grass-covered levy just as we rejoined the Weser most of the way out of town.

We soon arrived at a neighborhood facing the river, which included a road at river-level and another one along the top of the small ridge upon the side of which the houses were perched. This view must be very precious in an area of the world with almost NO hills.

We attacked the climb from lower to upper road, known as the "Mur de Bremen" or "Wall of Bremen".
The climb up the infamous "Wall".  Maybe 9-10m elev gain in a 60-70m path?
An impressive vessel, the tall ship Deutscheland. I believe used for training sailors.
(Can be rented for special occasions?!)

MOB points toward the sailing vessel.

Industrial areas -- power lines and wind turbines near the river.
LOTS of wind energy in northern Germany.
As we rode along one stretch, I could literally smell the wild blackberries. Delicious.

MOB said last time he rode by here he did not notice the berries ... something about
trying to hang on at the back of a very fast moving peleton of cyclists.

Wow, those look tasty! (They were, tasty!)
The bushes extended for hundreds of meters.
Likewise, somehow it was amusing to see an old Kellogg's cereal factory as part of the German industrial landscape.
We're not in Battle Creek Michigan anymore.
But Kellogg's is here.
Anyway, the ride was a nice exploration, and I can see the attraction of being in a place where good riding routes are only a few kilometers away.

You can see your route below, or get the Strava GPS track here.
Our route.
The blackberries were on the west side of the river ~75% of the way back to town.

26 October 2019

MOBs bicycles - Road

MOB's shop carries a large inventory of bikes. Of course, MOB rides road racers, he is primarily a roadie, and so you would expect the store to be a great place to test and buy a road bike. You would not be disappointed.

There are lots of brands, but the big three are Cannondale, Trek, and Wilier (in alphabetical order). There are a few Giant bikes around, but he is no longer handling them. And the bike I rode on our trip through the marshlands north of Bremen one afternoon was a nice Ridley gravel bike.

But Cannondale, Trek, and Wilier are the main lines of bicycles.
As you may know, bicycle manufacturers offer pricing discount/rebates to stores that sell large numbers of their machines, so a retailer needs to focus in order to get favorable/competitive pricing. The fact that he has 3 major brands ... unlike the "all Trek" store I go back near Komazawa Park, for example, is a testament to both MOB's sales volume and his customer focus.  (Of course, in Europe Trek is not just Trek, it is their subsidiary/affiliate Diamant, which offers many kinds of bikes other than road racers. And even if MOB loves to ride and sell road bikes ... in fact, there are more people coming to his shop to buy Diamant city bikes than there are high end Trek road bikes.)

MOB had very nice things to say about all three of his major brands.

MOB has always liked Cannondale bikes -- he rode an olive green Cannondale when we started riding together in Tokyo, and he also had a Cannondale "bad boy" one-armed-fork MTB as well.

As a dealer, he say that Trek's Switzerland-based team stands out for its wonderful service to its retailers in Europe. The bold colors are, well, very nice, even if not so Germanic. And the Diamant bikes fill out the line.

Aero, direct mount brakes.

Madone -- a classic name. Project One - customization.

These are new since I last bought a road bike - internal cabling adjusters.

Trek even offers subdued colors. They have everything.
And Wilier is his new love -- Wilier make beautiful racing bikes that are very fast and light. The company has revived an old Italian brand in recent years and is based in the countryside north of Venice. French Team Total Direct Energie rode Wilier Cento10Pro bikes in this summer's Tour de France.
Another adjuster for internal cabling ... on the down tube.

The Wilier HQ building -- Italian style.

Next post -- something about the non-road bike part of the shop.

05 October 2019

Cyclyng Bike and Cafe

Part, only part, of the Cyclyng Bike & Cafe shop.
MOB's shop is located at Silbermannstrasse 2, in the Uberseestadt, which is a newly developed area on what was once a major industrial site within the port are of Bremen, Northwest of the Center City. The River Weser runs on one side, while an inlet for mooring ships is on the other, separating this manmade isthmus from the rest of the city. Many new, upscale apartment blocks are built or under construction in this area, with the population going from zero to tens of thousands in the past few years, and office and retail space mixed in. There are nice walkways (bikeways?) along the river, and a manmade beach. Importantly, this location allowed MOB to get plenty of space for the shop in a nice, new building, decent parking for customers who pick up/drop off bikes by car, reasonable rent, and it is not too far from the city center.
Cyclyng signage
Another interesting feature of the location is the proximity of Stadler, a HUUUGE warehouse store for bicycles. This building is, literally, the largest bike shop I have ever seen, and it is just at the entrance to the Uberseestadt. We are talking Home Depot or Costco size! I guess if someone wants to shop for a bicycle in Bremen, ... they are likely to come to this area, and if they do, they will check out both shops. More often than not, someone who appreciates a personal touch, and excellent mechanics, with competitive pricing, will end up buying from MOB.
MOB's shop is the red pin drop. City Center is at the lower right.
Like most bicycle shops, MOB's business will make some money selling bicycles, but eventually he hopes to build a large customer base who rely on his shop for maintenance, upgrades and consumables. He has an excellent full-time mechanic already and will add another, with a nice space for maintenance ("to-die-for," as they say). He did an incredible job in getting my Ti Travel bike ready for Paris-Brest-Paris.
The Wilier mats kept me from drooling on the floor as I looked at the racing bikes.
When I think of MOB's philosophy of this shop, it reminds me of Tsutaya's T-Site in Daikanyama. Apparently the founder of Tsutaya/Culture Convenience Club decided to make his own "dream store". He did not worry about whether it would make money, about how much revenue each section would generate. He made a store he loved ... and as it turns out, everyone loves it. It is always full. And the sales, well, they take care of themselves.

So MOB's store is designed the way he loves it. Others will also. And the business is off to an excellent start and on a good track.
MOB's 2008 JCRC Champion Jersey
Plenty of supplies - consumables, gels, bars, etc.

Helmets, saddles, shoes, bottles, tools, some kit, etc., etc. All you need.

Does that say America?

Color coordinated cable-end covers!

Very Nice Trackstand
The store seems very much a family operation, and Kazuko is in charge of the cafe side of the operation. The cafe is spacious, the food delicious, coffee tasty, and there was plenty of cycling literature to browse ... enough to keep a customer coming back over and over. I've just sent several years of Bicycle Quarterly issues to add even more to the collection.
Some of the cafe seating area

Food and drink preparation with a smile

Bicycle postcards?

Salad for lunch
Catalogue of the leading bicycle collection in the world ... recently sold off by the collector!
(The postcards were inside here.
The Cyclyng Logo.
Next post -- some discussion of the bicycles themselves!