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Berliner Fahrradschau 2017 – Our Experience from This Year’s Show

After last year’s Berlin bike show, we already signed up for 2017 in June. 2016 had been deeply positive, we got some good resellers, a lot of interest, a steady stream of sales throughout the year that followed and some genuine fans. Obviously we had some expectations going into 2017’s edition – and Berlin did not disappoint.

KP Cyclery at Berlin Bike Show
BFS 2017 was great fun – we just need to get a bigger booth next year.

How was it for KP Cyclery?

As mentioned, 2017 was similarly positive, we had a ton of interest in the Sidecar and nice Bike Hanger sales. I must admit, I thought that since our Sidecar is so different from all other cargo bike variations, there would be some that would say ‘that doesn’t make any sense’. But the notoriously engineering-minded Berliners and Germans seemed really impressed by our ingenuity. The Sidecar turned heads at our booth and even more so when out for a test ride. The tilting function amazed people with a constant crowd of cameras pointed at it. Surely there ought to be a few of them riding around Berlin soon.

KP Cyclery Sidecar Bike At Berliner Fahrradschau Berlin Bike Show
Danny showing off the Sidecar Bike – what a crowd pleaser it turned out to be. Photo credit: René Zieger / BFS

Our friendly neighbours

One might expect that all of the exhibitors at the fair would be competitors and thus not overly friendly towards each other. However in the bike industry, it is the complete opposite. We we’re lucky enough to be neighbours with other remarkable visionaires – Halbrad (half-bike in English) and Brix / Sandwich bikes.

At first sight, we thought Halbrad we’re exhibiting a type of a foldable bike. After close inspection, it turned out to be what I called an unfoldable foldable bike. Designed to be allowed on trains without bike ticket, this nifty little thing is quite fun indeed.

Halbrad Halfbike at Berlin Bike Show
Halbrad (Half-bike in English) looks like a foldable bike, but isn’t.

Across from our booth, were the Dutch geniuses from Brik and Sandwich bikes. Brix bikes stood out with their crankshaft technology and Sandwich is a bike, with a frame made from planar surfaces – you can have the fun of assembling the whole thing.

Shaft Drive Bicycle at Berlin Bike Show 2017
Brik bikes makes classy bicycles with shaft drive instead of a chain.

Our two favourites

Other than our own stuff turning heads, there were some real gems to look at. Our own personal favourites were the PonyJohn bike by Retrovelo’s founder Frank. The bike features hydraulic steering, electric motor, and electric gear. As the man himself said – ‘that’s the maximum you can get out of a bike.’ The hydraulic steering really blew my mind.

PonyJohn Cargo Bike at Berliner Fahrradschau 2017
PonyJohn Cargobike features hydraulic steering, electric motor and electric gears – wow!

The 2nd favourite of the two was KleinLaster. This bike just stood out from the rest by the sheer passion that is seen in the craftman-ship. The whole frame is beautifully brazed and later filed down for an outstanding finish. What we loved is that the frame is kept without paint, only a clear coat goes on top of the raw frame, displaying the welds in their natural beauty. And of course the chain that connects the handlebars to the front fork is just cool to look at.

Kleinlasten beautiful raw cargo bike at Berlin Bicycle Week
KleinLaster is beautifully crafted cargo bike with a chain between the handlebars and the fork. One of our two favourites from 2017.

What’s next?

As said, 2017 edition of BFS was once again a hit. We will certainly be present again in 2018. Aside from that, the life in a small and young company is always a rollercoaster and turbulent. We are hoping to do at least a few more shows this year – let’s see how things play out in the near future. Keep following the blog, Instagram and Facebook and we will surely pass on a message of other shows where you can find us.

Cheerio,
KP, Danny and the team

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Critical Mass – a phenomenon on two wheels

Critical Mass Hamburg 2012
Critical Mass Hamburg 2012

 

Some of you might have already heard about “Critical Mass” events. However, for those not in the know, they are an excellent way to join in with the cycling community in your town or city, and take back the roads from the backlog of cars that often prevents people from getting on their bikes more often.

Held on the last Friday of each month, Critical Mass now takes place in hundreds of cities all over the world. However, the event has humble beginnings- it started off in San Francisco in 1992, when a small group of cyclists sought to take back the streets from cars. Just a few dozen people showed up to what was then called “Commute Clot”, as it was intended to make a stand by reclaiming rush hour roads. Afterwards, they all retired to a local bike shop, where a documentary about how Chinese road users worked together, queueing up at intersections until one side had reached “critical mass”, when they would then move forward. From this inspiration, a whole new movement was born.

Critical Mass Budapest 2013
Critical Mass Budapest 2013

Just how big each Critical Mass event is depends on where it is held, and who turns up. Sometimes there isn’t really any organizational structure to things and it is more of a spontaneous event, and whoever takes part simply goes with the flow. But in other cases there are highly dedicated people who put a lot of work into organizing it. Some groups choose to plan a route beforehand, and pass out flyers to show riders where to go while others even put up a live GPS to track the current position of the mass. These more regular rides tend to be a lot smaller, with a dedicated group who frequently get together, but in major cities like Berlin (June 2016: 2800 riders) or London (May 2016: 1000+ riders) they are massive. In some places, such as Budapest, Hungary, there are just two Critical Masses per year- on Earth Day and International Car Free Day (April 22 and September 22 respectively) tens of thousands of people join in, making for quite a spectacle. These are great opportunities for people to join together, make new friends, and show the world just how powerful the cycling community can be.

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Risto Kalmre – founding father of a country’s urban cycling scene

As we talked about Lucas Brunelle last time, this time we are going to take a look into the life of someone slightly closer to us.
 
Often referred to as one of the founding fathers of the bicycle culture movement in Estonia, man who has gotten thousands of people to gather up on their bikes, and a man who brought together people across different continents for Simple Session – Risto Kalmre.
 
Risto is definitely best known for organising one of the world’s biggest extreme sport competitions Simpel Session with his brother Mario. Hosted annually since as far as 2001, the event brings together BMX riders and skateboarders around the world, currently with the audience-base of over 1 million people, both at the spot and behind the screen.
 

This event has inspired the brothers so much that by the end of 2015 they opened the biggest extreme sport centre in the Baltics – Spot of Tallinn. Right beside Tallinn, with a great mission to offer better and more opportunities for the young & talented riders across the country.
 
The urban bicycle movement started in 2011 during Tallinn Bicycle Week, when Risto Kalmre, with a few other bicycle enthusiasts, organised a night ride (called Tour d’ÖÖ). Starting off as an event of organisers and their closest friends it has now turned into mass rides with over 2000 participants. This amount of people cycling on the streets directly shows the growth of the urban cycling culture in Tallinn. Events like these are a good way to show the growing existence of cyclists and through that have a louder voice in the future of city planning.
 

 
Seeing the growth of the urban cycling movement, Risto, back in 2014, made the next obvious step – opening a bicycle studio (called JOOKS) in one of the fastest developing parts of Tallinn. A studio, which serves purpose as a store for dapper urban bikes, serving coffee and is also known as the headquarters of Tallinn bicycle movement. Furthermore, it is used to host variety of events, for example few smaller concerts from Tallinn Music Week.
 
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At the end of the day, Risto is a graphic designer by profession.  After all of this organising he still has time for running an agency.
 
Risto is truly a person, who “takes the bull by its horns” – if something isn’t right, he makes it right. He truly wants to make this place better and more liveable for all of us.
 
Where to next, who knows, but with the Simple Session coming right up, lets wish them all the best.
 
Sweet sixteen Simple Session! Watch it live this weekend at – http://session.ee/2016/otse/