Archiv der Kategorie: Gazelle Champion Mondial

Gazelle Champion Mondial

April 2010. Ich war neu in Bremen und brauchte unbedingt ein Winterrad.

Also es war einfach ganz schlechtes Wetter hier und ich hatte nur Schönwetterräder. Das heisst, eigentlich hatte ich nur ein rad und zwar mein Cervelo Solist von 2008. Ich hatte noch keine Ahnung von Stahlrädern, aber mir war aufgefallen, dass in Bremen andre Räder gefahren werden, als in Japan. Hollandräder, alte verlotterte Stahlschlampen, riesig schwere Trekkingräder mit Anbauten aus Panzerstahl…….also deutlich weniger Carbon. In Japan fährt man ja Colnago, Pinarello oder wenigstens Anchor, oder Damenräder für 150 Euro. Dazwischen gibt es relativ wenig an Angebot und Nachfrage.

Also bin ich, etwas naiv zu Fahrrad Feinkost gegangen, dem exklusiven Radladen in Schwachhausen an der Wachmannstrasse. Das wo die Eisdiele ist. Ich hatte ja keine Ahnung, ehrlich. Und ließ mir eine Gazelle mit Ösen für Schutzbleche andrehen, Modell Champion Mondial AA Frame von 1979 (konnte ich später anhand der Seriennummer herausfinden). Mit einem Sticker eines holländishen Radhändlers aus Den Helder, Jan Verdoes – einen ähnlichen Sticker sollte ich ein paar Monate später auf meinem neu erstandenen Union Fixie finden.

Der Rad war ein großartiger Mix von verschiedensten Komponenten: Shimano 600 Bremsgriffe, Weinmann Bremsen, Campagnolo Naben (bei der hinteren war die Achse gebrochen), Sugino Kurbel, Suntour Schaltung, Reynolds 531 Aufkleber….man das Rad hatte schon einiges mitgemacht. Das Hinterrad hatte auch einen schönen Schlag, so dass eine neue Mavic Open Pro Felge fällig wurde. Fahrrad Feinkost hat sich dann auch wahnsinnig viel Zeit gelassen, bis alles fertig war, so einen miesen Service war ich aus Japan nicht gewohnt. Na ja, aber ich war auch gerade zurück in Deutschland und mittlerweile habe ich mich wieder an die Sitten hier gewöhnt. Beispiel? vor ein paar Tagen beim Bäcker:

Ich :“Guten Morgen, ich hätte gerne ein Croissant.“

Die: „Aha!“

Na ja, also jetzt macht mir das nichts mehr aus. Jedenfalls wurde der Sommer 2010 dann wunderschön, warm, blauer Himmel immer, Familie noch in Japan, viel Zeit zum fahren am Wochenende und alles mit dem Cervelo, denn das ist ja ein Schönwetterrad. Dsa Gazelle habe ich aber dann im Herbst rausgeholt, bin damit zur Arbeit gefahren und ab und an auch längere Touren wenn es aussah, als wenn das Wetter schnell umschlagen könnte. Im Vergleich zum Cervelo ist das natürlich eine lahme Kiste. Ich fing dann an meine eigenen Räder aufzubauen und schnell merkte ich, dass es doch bessere Räder als Gazellen gibt. Ich meine Gazellen sind keine schlechten Räder, aber die sehen halt nicht so gut wie italienische Teile aus.

Im August 2011 habe ich die Gazelle noch einmal mit zu Freunden nach Diemitz genommen und bin dort mit ihr gefahren. Das war sehr schön, aber im Herzen hatte ich schon Abschied von ihr genommen. Ich habe die Gazelle dann noch ordentlich aufgemöbelt, alles neu eingestellt und geölt und  gefettet udn dann bei Ebay Kleinanzeigen zum Verkauf eingestellt. Nichts passierte.

Nichts passierte. Dann hatte Larissa Interesse das Rad zu kaufen, aber es war ihr einfach zu groß und nachher hat Tobi ohnehin ein viel schöneres schwarzes Olmo gekauft, dass ich dann für sie herrichten durfte. Schliesslich habe ich die Gazelle über Ebay verkauft.

Genau, es hatte sehr schön alte Klemmen von Shimano Dura Ace, jetzt fällt es mir wieder ein. Die klemmen heute an meinem Union Fixie.

Sugino Kurbel, bereits gepimpt mit einer goldenen Kettenblattschraube. Alle meine Räder haben eine Kettenblattschraube in einer andren Farbe als die andren vier. Das ist mein Markenzeichen.

Mit der Gazelle unterwegs, hier einmal vor meinem Lieblingskriegerdenkmal in Worpshausen. Hier ist die Gazelle noch im Feinkost-Urzustand.

Mit der Gazelle in Diemitz.

Alles über meine Gazelle Champion Mondial hier.

 

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Eingeordnet unter 2012, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Meine Räder, Mob

Autumn in Germany

It is already getting cold in Bremen. And much to my surprise, there is even the occasional scrub of Kosmos blooming on the sides of the streets.

I took the Canyon out for a fast ride on Friday evening. Very fast indeed, only 2:07 hr for the usual 70 km loop along the Wuemme to Worpswede and Fischerhude and back. My shape was „ma ma“ but I could draft behind several tractors bringing in the hay and finally I was behind a scooter (small numberplate, speed limited to 40 km-hr theoretically) for almost 8 km.

On Saturday I was too busy building up the new bikes. Yes, the plural is correct as I am working on the Union Single Speed as well as on a new Kotter frame that I am going to built up for a friend of mine, currently working in Saudi-Arabia.

The steel frame was made by Kotter, a company from the South of Germany for their own racing team. The frame was chromed first and then painted with a thin layer of lilac paint, so that the chrome is shining through the paintlayer from underneath. It is hard to see the real beauty of the frame on a photo – one has to see the frame on a nice autumn day outside in the sun. This called „Chromovelato“ in Italian.

I also decided to sell my Gazelle winter bike. The new blue Olmo works very well with removable mud guards and I really don/t need two winter bikes. In case you are interested:

It is a Gazelle Champion Mondial A Frame model from 1979 with serial number 3237 359. Framesize is 60 cm, made of Reynolds 530 tubing. – Sorry Hiroshi, Sorry Tom you are out. You can see the frame in the original Gazelle catalog from 1982 on Page 13 on the top. I upgraded the components, now there is a super-light Suntour Cyclone Mk. II rear derailleur attached, plus new bar tape, new wiring and and and. Should be ready to run and be misused in the winter. 320 Euro plus shipping if you like.

On Sunday I felt the first onslaught of German virus on my body and since today I am finally confined to the house. The good thing about being sick is, that it takes away the pressure of all operational issues in normal life (clean up the garden, help daughter with her homework, fight about money wisely spend on bike components with the wife, scold wife about money uselessly spend on figure skating dresses – same wife by the way). Instead one can lean back and think about the strategic things in life, provided that the headache are not to big and the nose is not running faster than the supply of tissues will last:

So, this will be one of my last post on the Positivo Espresso blog. In the last weeks I have set up a new blog in German which will be much more handy when communicating with the other cycling guys in Bremen. Once it is completely ready for launch a will let you know.

As a kind of farewell gift David and me have published some excerpts from the „Great Kanto Cycling Book“ I was writing with the help of Phil and Thomas from TCC in 2009. The original idea was to publish it as a book, but nobody was interested to pick up the threads in Japan and I was too busy organiszing my new life in Germany.

So instead of leaving it in the drawer to rot, David and me decided to make the content public. Perhaps somebody else would like to add or comment on some of the pages – plaese feel free to do so.

To see the Positivo Espresso blog growing from 0 to almost 60.000 hits has been a great pleasure. However, most of these hits had been made when I was already in Germany. So I believe it is would be better to set up something similar in Germany again before hanging on too long with the original site.

While blogging on a separate site, I still feel as a member of the Positivo Espresso Original Core Team (PEOCP) and I will continue to stay in contact and ride together with all of you. Actually most likely I will ride together with Stephen on Mallorca in two weeks time.
Read all about it … later and elsewhere.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

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Eingeordnet unter 2011, Bremen, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob

Trainingscamp Diemitz


For cyclist Diemitz isn’t as popular as Mallorca, the Alps or Southern France when it comes to the selection of training grounds. Nevertheless it has its charm.

First of all, where the hell is Diemitz? As cyclists tend to prefer the mountains as opposed to the sea, Diemitz isn’t necessarily on the radar screen of the cycling world. It isn’t located at the sea either, but in the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (aka Meck-Vorpom) and just in the middle of a huge region of lakes and swamps, connected by canals, know as the Mecklenburger Seenplate (Mecklenburg lake district). The Müritz lake is the biggest one in Germany after the Bodensee in the South, created by the river Rhein. But the lake district is more than the Müritz lake, there is water everywhere. In fact one can travel from Berlin in the South through the lake district to the Baltic Sea by boat through a system of interlocked canals and sluices.

Our friends, having made a fortune in Tokyo, Moscow, Munich and recently in Riyad, bought their summer estate about 9 years ago in the small village of Diemitz. Every August they invite their friends and relatives to stay with them for the weekend or perhaps longer. Our family was there the first time last year and last weekend we drove to Dimietz for the second time – by that it has become something of a regular event in the short history of our family in Germany.

Also, in case you haven’t found out that by yourself or didn’t thought too much about the importance of this, Diemitz is located with the former German Democratic Republic. Having spend most of the last 20 years since the German reunification in Asia, I still have difficulties to cope with the fact that there is only one Germany left. Not that I am against it, but still for me it has been a surprising development and when riding by car to Diemitz I tend to say „We are crossing the border now“ or „Better not to have a car breakdown after Helmstedt (the former border town on the federal highway).“ If you would ask me what came first, German unification  or introduction of the Euro, I would know that the former is a precondition for the later, but I would tend to place them at more or less the same point of time. Completely wrong.

The region has the charm of the former regime. Some villages are rundown, many streets have cobblestone roads and the roads between the small villages are nice looking alleys. The most amazing fact about the lake district is, that nobody is living there. It is, so to say, the exact opposite of Shibuya. There are vast amounts of land dedicated to foresting or to large scale agricultural operations. This is only natural for mountainous areas, but the landscape her is rather flat with rolling hills.

What would be better to ride along in style with a bike that fits the area? So I took my blue Gazelle with me and set off one afternoon to explore the area around Diemitz. I had to wait some days as the weather was terrible. Rain all day long, some of the largest recorded rainfalls in history. Even some roads were closed the the fire fighters were busy pumping water back into the lakes.

With the sun coming out for the first time the roads dried fast and I zoomed through up and down the hills. There are alleys, fields, swamps, lakes and dense Forrest of pine trees. There is a lot of variety and a lot to see. To ride over the cobblestoned sections of the road, mainly within the limits of the villages is a rather painful but authentic experience. Perhaps a modern carbon frame would be more comfortable, but an old steel bike is so much more charming. A good training for the L’eroica next year?

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Eingeordnet unter 2011, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob, Touren

Bremen Ekiden

When I was still living in Tokyo, the Positivo Espresso Ekiden ride used to be the first ride of the year in the last years. Snow and ice in Bremen made all rides too dangerous so far, but with temperatures well above 0 degrees, blue skies and dry roads I finally wanted to get out in 2011.


When one is working on an old bike, one can forget easily that the purpose of repair is not to have a good looking bike in the garage, but to have a good ride on a well functioning bike.


I woke up late and read the post from David, describing his trip with Froggy  to Wada and Bijotani in cold weather today. That inspired me finally to get out of the warm study and get the bike ready. Thank you David, for getting home and blogging quickly.


The Galibier project is no finished yet. I spend some evenings building the wheels with old hubs and new rims but I wasn’t comfortable if I have applied the right amount of tension on the spokes. The trueing went quite well, lateral trueing and dishing Isn’t so difficult but vertical trueing is. So I decided that the last adjustment should be done by the pros. And a lot of things they found were wrong: Did you know, for example that braking wires and shifting 

Fixed gear? No gear is much cooler.



wires have different diameters and so have there hulls? I never looked that closely at my bike as to notice that the brake cables are 5 mm and that shifter cables are only 4 mm thick. And to mount old school aero shifters on bullhorn handle bars is so difficult, that even the pro shop doesn’t know what to do. I will get surprised on Monday.


The Galibier not ready. The Peugeot too nice to move it on even slightly wet rodes. The Cervelo also too nice. The Pinarello is sold and shipped. Bad Boy too slow. So after long back and forth I opted for the trusted Gazelle. Not so fast but reliable and with mud guards. I felt like a girl in font of a mirror, selected a dress for a night out in town.


Still I needed to do another half an hour of preparation. The chain was rusty, I had no spare tube ready, the air pressure was way too low … all this tiny things one have to take care off today. I relish the times when I just didn’t know and consequently just didn’t care about all these adjustments.

Heading out in direction North Sea a strong headwind met me just from the start. Along the usual roads at the „Siel“ the first cyclists were out and I tried to maintain a pace of 30 km/hr even while exhausting myself quickly. When I arrived in Ritterhude, I made a left turn for Worpswede following my standard loop and suddenly I had the strong wind in my back. That was fun now. So I reached Worpswede in almost an hour with 31.0 km/hr average speed, climbed up the hill and continued in direction Fischerhude. As this was the first longer ride of the year I didn’t want to overdo it, so I stayed in the 150 – 155 HRM range. at Worpshausen I made a short break and Gazelle and me remembered the guys from Worpshausen that were killed in world war I. This is a long and cherished Positivo Espresso Bremen tradition, that the first ride of the new year always stops at a WW I memorial. Even my parents knew about that: They married January 4th, 1962 and their honeymoon led them to, among all possible place, Verdun. Where they visted Fort Douaumont and perhaps met other couples on their honeymoon who had the same splendid idea. Or perhaps not.


Again, I was facing a strong headwind. The part between Worpshausen und Quellkorn is the most boring portion of the standard loop. The headwind was getting even stronger when I took a right turn at Fischerhude and rode on a small road in direction Borgfeld. Borgfeld is located within the federal state of Bremen (while the rest of the tour is mainly in the federal state of Lower Saxony) and for some reasons the family and relatives of the last German emperor, Wilhelm II, are living here. 

There is nothing special about Borgfeld though, one doesn’t feel any wind of history, only the smell of horse shit. Well, this is what you would think of Borgfeld normally. But today it was quite different. As the snow of December has melted and it takes some time for the water to reach rivers and get carried to the sea in the flat lands of Bremen, all the pasture to the left and right of the road was flooded. That looked very nice, finally I had the feeling that I am living close to the sea.


I continue on my way home. Three hours out on the roads. 75 km done. Shabby by Tokyo standards but not too bad for Bremen. The Gazelle was wonderful as usual. It would have been easier to ride the Cervelo, but riding the Gazelle costed more effort and was the better training therefore.


I noted today that the Assos Airjack 951 jacket is too warm for temperatures of 10 degrees and more. I need a long sleeve jersey from TCC, possibly now.




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Eingeordnet unter 2011, Bremen, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob, Touren

Winter Goals

The morning after another day with heavy snowfall in the Bremen flatlands.

On Monday the sky was blue and the roads were dry so I took my Cervelo out of the garage for a 80 km standard spin. I made it just up to Worpswede, about one hour, when it started to snow again. There must have been some very well blue-camouflaged snow clouds somewhere up there. I had to ride about 25 km back to Bremen against the snow and the roads were slowly becoming white. The snow was rather dry and while there wasn’t sufficient quantity accumulated on the surface, it formed in small hurricane patterns. When I came home it was snowing heavily and when I left for work an hour later on the Gazelle, I was hardly able to steer through the snow.

I rode to work early in the morning the next day on the Gazelle through the snow. It is a little bit tricky to ride on a racing bike with 700 x 23C tires as every little bump below the snow forces a sudden and unexpected change of direction. I thought it as a good exercise to learn how to control a slippery bike. I was probably just thinking that and how great I was handling the steering already and how fast I could go, when I came to a crossing where I had to brake a little bit harder. I did it too hard, so that the rear wheel went to the right and me down hard on the road.

After that I thought what a bloody stupid prick I am. I am not 26 any more when I rode home in the rain on my Motebecane on a bicycle lane than was separated from the pedestrian walk by a line of randomly spaced bollards and I crashed directly with my right knee into one without seeing it. That hurted very much but I survived, nothing was broken and there were no consequences at all. Now I am 48 and every time I fall it takes weeks until all of the pain is gone and I really should consider this when making cycling decisions.

So after spending a day in the office, trying not to move at all and after another night at home, trying not to move as well, I went into the garage and refitted the Bad Boy with the winter Schwalbe tires (700 x 30C). I was reluctant to use Bad Boy in the winter, first it is very messy to clean the bike, second the paint is very sensible to scratches (strange spec for a MTB or urban hybrid) and third it has no mud guards. And forth, the last time I crashed really hard was riding down from Yabistu Toge to Hadano on Bad Boy with winter tires.

But winter in Bremen leaves me no other choices than to ride on fat tires:  The Bad Boy was placed just behind the Cervelo and the Gazelle and the electric shopping bike of my wife and the new green Giant of my son and the Peugeot Galibier frame I am working on. Which stands in front of the old Pinarello frame which I am polishing and the beautiful Peugeot I have bought recently for fun and just leaves enough space for this super cheap Pesacarola racing bike I incidentally bought and the beautiful Gianni Motta I could not resist to buy. If performance really depends on the number of newly acquired bikes, I should be ready for Paris – Roubaix.

In other words, I took me some time to get the bike out, mount a saddle, pedals, tires, saddle bag, speedmeterand lights, which took another half an hour. All of this for 15 minutes of riding to work.

After having done the commute now three times I have to say that it is actually much more fun than on a racing bike. It is also stimulating not to been overtaken by grandmothers on their sturdy Holland-bikes while trying to stay upright on the Gazelle.

On the weekend I will utilize my newly rediscovered cycling courage to ride through the white planes on the Bad Boy.

And after coming home an having enjoyed a cup of hot instant coffee, I will go to work on the Peugeot Galibier frame. I am still waiting for parts to arrive at my home and I am excited how some of the purchases, like the charge saddle, the Maillard 700 high flange hubs will look like. Although I have to admit that assembly of a bike is a tricky business, even if one has most of the tools. I wasn’t able to remove the crankset covers from the Pinarello frame and had to ask for assistance at a bike shop. I am also not able to mount the Shimano 600 rear tube shifters properly. And it was an absolute nightmare to fiddle white handle bar tape around a bullhorn handle bar. Well, this must be the fate of the Euro-cyclist, I guess.

I will post some pictures once the wheels have been mounted.
Meanwhile have fun in the snow, if you have snow.

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, Bad Boy, Bremen, Cervelo Soloist, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob, Peugeot SB

Winter Ride

I was leaving the house at noon after spending the morning checking the complete flickr photo account of Tom for pictures of fur coats. To my excuse I have to say that there is very little else one can do in Bremen in November when temperatures had dropped down to zero degrees.


Nevertheless I prepared myself for a short winter ride. The words „preparation“ and „short ride“ and their relation to each other change completely over the seasons. In summer the duration of a preparation is about 15 minutes and consists of putting on socks, heartbeat monitor, bib shorts, jersey shoes, gloves and helmet (in that order. I try to avoid looking into a mirror when having only socks and heart beat monitor on) then running back to the house to collect the water bottle, running back again because one has left the camera, then cursing and climbing back up the stairs to look for the map, thus filling the required 15 minutes interval. This is then followed by rides of eight hours plus, as long as the sun is visible in the sky and in Germany during the summer than can be a damn long time. There is much more enjoyable riding time compared to less enjoyable preparation time.


In winter, on the other hand, the preparation time is endless. It starts with the pounding about the right choice of attire. Lately I have been reading something about how PE members laughed about overdressed, sweaty winter riders they encountered on their trips and that left me now as a nervous, neurotic wreck shortly before every ride. Am I overdressed? Will somebody laugh at me?  Shall I sell my yellow Assos Fugu Jacket? As if there were not enough issues already, I have always cold feet. So I started to use two layers of shoe covers. One neopren type just over the Shimano MTB shoes and another wind stopper like material on top. The neopren type shoe cover was cheap and I bought it at Rose, the favorite shop of Ludwig and myself. I shouldn’t really complain about them and it is certainly not in my interest to vituperate about Rose. But today I needed close to 40 minutes of preparation time and a large chunk out of that time was consumed by trying to close the zipper on the backside of the shoecovers. As this can only be done when the shoe covers are on, my neighbors saw me winding on the road in all kind of poses, commonly known from 12 year old Romanian girls engaging in rhythm sport gymnastics.
After I have finally managed to zip up both shoe covers I was seriously considering to keep them on until the next ride. Sleep with them, shower with them, walk around in holy academia …. everything is better than to put them on one more time.


And after endless 40 minutes of preparation, how long did I ride? 3 and a half hours. This relationship is sadly distorted. Coming home, I needed time to shower, redress, eat, drink some coffee, again valuable time spend. 5 hours bike related activities, not much riding thereof.

I choose a longer standard route today, along the river Wuemme (the Tamagawa equivalent) as usual but then further on to Lessum. There weren’t much bicycles on the road but quite a few people have opted to take a walk. I hit a cobblestone section of the road that was lying in the shadow of some trees and immediately the ride got wobbly and I almost fell down on the slippery surface. From then onwards I rode very carefully, checking the surface for spots of black ice and keeping speeds down. Now all the leaves are gone and it is more fun to ride on the bike paths as they are cleared of all obstacles. I rode on to Ritterhude, one of the few places that provides something like „hills“ and I climbed about 50 meter elevation difference as a preparation of the Transalp. The further on to Osterholz-Scharmbek where I took the obigatory SOS landscape photo, and further on the Worpswede on the standard loop. My average speed was down to 25 km/hr and I am not exactly sure why. Sure, there was some headwind but overall it was just difficult despite keeping the heartrate in the 145 – 155 bracket. 


The road from Worpswede to Quelkorn was just boring as usual, I really don’t know why I am riding there. Fischerhude to Borgfeld in contrast is quite nice but I was quickly running out of steam. I had no food with me and when I tried to drink from the water bottle I noticed that the nozzle was frozen solid.  My Ciclo device showned now minus degrees and my feets and my hands were iceblocks. Just four days ago I visited in a university excursion I huge German fish monger called „Deutsche See“ and we were shown arround the cold storage facilities, minus 24 degrees…. that was really cold. But today on the bike didn’t felt much better. My thoughts were running around…..a tune popped up in my head, first „Walk Hard“ by Dewey Cox and I could imagine this conversation from the trailer going on between my body and my mind:

„So maybe you don’t believe in me after all?“
„I do believe in you, I just know you’re gonna fail!“ 


Gazelle, leaning against a gate. Variation of an old theme.



Then I was again on the river Wuemme and after crossing the railroad line and after making a turn a Riensberg graveyard I was back at the house. 82 km only, time outside the house almost equal riding time. Too cold to make a break. By the way, to opt for the lighter Assos air jacket 851 with some uniqlo heatec trikot below was perfect. I need another pair of shoe covers, some overgloves and an hour more time for preparation though.

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, Bremen, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob

Proven ways to improve performance levels

Lately, mainly because I am focused now on academic achievements rather than physical ones and perhaps because it isn’t much much to ride a bike on wet roads, under grey clouds, threatening to pound merciless tons of icy water on barely prepared riders in minus temperature. And all of this in the flat lands of Bremen and its surrounding. I had to think of ways how to get back into better shape and survive the winter season.


Veteran riders know that there is one method commonly applied when performance levels are following the function curves of y (level) = 1/x(time). The nice thing about this method is, that you don’t need to overdo yourself on the bike, something that is rather unpleasant as described above. It is very simple: Buy a new bike. And what can be more pleasant to buy a new bike in the country of Germany where it seems that every cellar and every attic is filled to the very top with vintage frames from Italy, France and England. I am not a big fan of petroleum-based frames, even my dear aluminium Cervelo is out of favor in the harsh environment of North Germany. However the Reynolds 531 tubing of my Gazelle is performing well. So I thought that I need something similar. Now here it is:

First ride, properly dressed up in Japanese construction worker pants.



A beautiful Peugeot racing bike from the seventies in grey, pimped up with some orange accents in the form of Schwalbe Ultremo tyres and new orange handle bar tape. Everything else is right from the original bike: Mafac brake levers, Huret derailleur, Suntour shifters, Maillard high flanged hubs …… 



This is just perfect to cruise around in the old streets of Bremen, parking in front of the city hall dating back to the 16th century or paying a visit to a friend living in an rundown art deco villa from the early 20th century.

And it is also perfect for the challenges that area awaiting me in 2011, in particular for the Transalp. David and me are pretty much ready and excited to sign up in December 1st for the event. I need a good bike to bring me over the alps and I thought a triple crank set would just be what I need to speed up the 20% slopes in Austria and Italy.


Of course this bike is much to beautiful to be ridden. It will be stored in our garage under a black tarpaulin and I will dare to take a look from time to time. In the meantime the Gazelle has to bear the brunt of snow, ice and rain in Bremen.


Some more bike porn pictures from the seller, a vintage pro shop in Muenster. I exchanged the tires and the replaced flat bar with the original drop handle.


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Eingeordnet unter 2010, Bremen, Cervelo Soloist, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob, Peugeot SB

Ajisai

One of the many reasons I bought the apartment in Bremen we are now living in was, is that in the garden Ajisai flowers were blooming when I took a look around the first time. This was at the end of June and I thought, great, just like in Japan Ajisai are blooming with the start of the rainy season. As it was raining hard in Bremen at the end of June. Today I went out into the garden and noticed that the Ajisai were still blooming. Not by coincidence it was also raining again. 

Great, I thought, this is the perfect weather to test my rain gear. It was still pretty warm, 10 to 13 degrees C, but just to be sure I opted for some „goofy“ (Thanks Dominic) underwear from Uniqlo and full rain protection: shoe covers, rain trousers, rain jersey, watertight gloves and, most important, Cervelo racing cap. Despite of my general looks I wanted to be recognized on the road as a true connoisseur of bad weather cycling. And of course I chose the Gazelle over the Cervelo for this type of weather, It is slower but I am now used to that. 


There was almost nobody outside once I had reached Bremen city limits and so nobody could mutter something along the lines of „true connoisseur“, I was only seen by some car drivers and some framers heading out to get the cows back in the stables. But I made good speed and within no time I reached the bridge over the river Wuemme where I leaned my bike against David Hasselhoff, pardon me, my mind was wandering, against the fence to shoot the compulsory trip photo. 


As I said, there was almost nobody outside and it seems that this condition will continue for quite some time. One of the restaurants had a notice board outside, informing the few human beings passing by, that the winter break will last until May 2011. That means 6 months, if I am not mistaken. Where am I? I mean, I was not exactly cruising up the road to Arima Toge in which case I would have understood that a restaurant along the road would 

have a winter break from September to July and closes down the rest of the time due to inaccessibility because of landslides.


Then I fast ride back and right to the office which is so conveniently located between my home and the major cycling grounds. Of course, Sunday, nobody there as well, weekend break since Friday noon which is almost compulsory in Germany. Out of the office on the bike, oh, a flat rear tire, despite Continental GP4000 (black, this time) but this are the dangers riding in the wet. I slipped and slided the 3 to 4 km home riding the bike with the flat rear tire and kept thinking of Paul Simon. „You know the nearer your destination…

The rain gear was perfect. I still head dry and warm feet when I arrived home later after some leisurely hours at the office before I had to engage in some serious children education. It’s not that I ride as much as I did in Japan but i am on the bike almost every day. With the rainwear I feel confident that this will stay so until say May 2011.

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, Bremen, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob

Bike, leaning against a pole

Well, it can be done.
Good luck and have fun in Saiko on the weekend.

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob

Zeven: City Limits

Feeling an urgent need to remove Barfy McBarfington from the top page of this blog and to put in some more cycling kilometers before the winter starts for earnest, I decided to make a longer trip on the weekend … and to blog about it.

I checked out the weather and it was raining hard. Great, I thought, finally I could test my full rain equipment with the Gazelle and ride an hour or so until I am wet. However, after having a leisurely consumed breakfast, rain clouds had moved on and the sun was shining again. Forcing me to conduct a longer ride.

I didn’t trusted the weather though, and that’s why I choose the dirt guard equipped Gazelle over the Cervelo. Temperatures had dropped to 5 degrees C average so I chose the Assos air jacket 851with color-matched cap. So many things one has to think of before finally start riding…..

The roads were still wet from the rain and the Gazelle is a wonderful bike. Thanks to the well dimensioned mud guards one doesn’t need to worry about dirt and spray. And the bike is old so it doesn’t matter if it gets dirty. Cleaning is so easy, no worries about scratches and so… just wonderful. The drawback is, that the Gazelle is actually not

a very fast bike. Well it is fast enough to take me back and forth to work, which is about 4 km from my house regardless of the weather, but it’s about 30 years old, heavy, it has 2 by 6 gears and the shifters sit on the downtube. For lazy riders like me, who never learned to move their hands away from the handle, it is essentially a single speed bike and that’s how I use it.
It needs time and effort to accelerate. Once it is running one can keep the speed with approximately the same effort as riding with the Cervelo, but it takes much more effort to reach, say 30 km/hr. And frequent braking and accelerating can be quite power-consuming. All in all I was about 10 – 15% slower than on the Cervelo. But it is winter and riding on a more power-consuming bike can be a very good training – one doesn’t need to drag tires begin the bike always.

I decided to ride up to Zeven, which is a town I passed in May when I did the Bremen bike marathon – and got lost. Zeven is just in the middle of the SOS landscape area surrounding Lower Saxony.

So far so good. I made a very short break at a gas stand in Tarmstedt to buy some croissant and when I was home the attendant called me to tell me that I have left my Blackberry there. So I had to make another trip to Tarmstedt, this time by car to retrieve the phone one day later. Need to know something about Tarmstedt – feel free to ask.

Generally there were a lot of wet leaves on the roads and on the cycling lanes. A lot of the roads have trees planted on both sides and there is not much effort done to clean teh surface. I had to go slower than I wanted to go as I was afraid of a crash. 

After Zeven I made the usual Turn to Worpswede and climbed the gruesome „Weyerberg“ hill; the legend says that this is a sand dune that got lost in the vastness of the SOS landscape. On the slopes down I reached even 55 km/hr, an unheard speed in 2D Bremen. Within no time I was back on the main cycle highway along the river Wümme between Dammsiel and Kuhsiel, when I noted that another cyclist tried to draft behind me. I let him do that, until we came to a T-section where I faked a left turn, he went right and then I was in his back. This road was leading to the second climbing challenge of the day: The bridge over federal highway 27. So I let him go in front and as he knew that I was behind him he worked hard and then accelerated when the slope began. I would have loved to write that I then boldly overtook him on the Gazelle (and I still wonder what prevented me to write just that), but as a matter of fact, I didn’t stand a chance to accelerate with the Gazelle and with 100 km plus distance in my legs so I watched him move away. „Wait for the Transalp, sucker!“ I shouted behind him, but he was too far anyway to hear me, so I negatively impressed some old ladies taking a walk only.

122 km after I have started I was back at home. Not such an impressive distance, but I could ride all of this in 4:30 hrs, including all breaks. It was much harder than on the Cervelo. It was also only the second time after taking bad boy out for a spin in Chichibu last year, that I made a 100 km plus trip on another bike than the Cervelo.

Yes, the Gazelle will be the bike that I will ride between now and April next year.

By the way, opposed to Barfy McBarfington, who is a nobody, David Hasselhoff is a national German hero and one of the main responsibles for German unification in 1990 (the other responsible being his car). Therefore the inclusion of David Hasselhoff pictures in posts on this blog is expressively encouraged.

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, Bremen, Gazelle Champion Mondial, Mob