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VELOBerlin 2018

VELOBerlin marked the occasion of the second bike show in Berlin this year, only a mere three weeks after the Berlin Fahrradschau. Despite having a slightly different vibe to the BFS, there were still a ton of awesome bikes and events to check out.

The first big event of the show was the 8bar crit on Saturday afternoon, organised by Berlin’s 8bar bikes. Although it rained for quite a lot of the afternoon, it was an exciting race, with riders from all over the place coming to Berlin to race around the track behind the former Tempelhof airport terminal. Despite the rain, there was a good crowd in attendance, and it was great to see many familiar faces riding. Below is a great video about the crit made by Francis Cade from the 8bar team:

The second notable race was the Berlin edition of the International Cargo Bike Race, held on the Sunday afternoon – this time with much more pleasant weather. A relay race, riders also had to pause to load their bikes up with various cargo as they raced around the area used the previous day for the 8bar crit. Check out the cool video below by pedalkultur for assorted scenes from before and during the cargo bike race:

A big part of VELOBerlin was the International Cargo Bike Festival, hosted for the very first time this year in Berlin. There were all kinds of cargo bikes on offer to check out and ride, including Berlin based manufacturer Pedal Power. In fact, most of the 9000m2 covered space directly behind the terminal building was dedicated to cargo bikes of all shapes and sizes. I won’t claim to know a lot about cargo bikes, but I think most of us can agree that the more of these there are in the city and the less cars, the better. As we mentioned in a previous article, you can now even rent a cargo bike for free; we hope that this trend will really take off and the number of cargo bikes available to rent around the city will grow and grow.

Moving inside, the two huge hangers adjacent to the covered area were occupied by (mostly 2-wheel) bikes, bike accessories, non-profit organisations and other firms promoting cycling, both in the city and further afield.

Many of the ubiquitous Berlin brands and builders were there: 8bar, Fern, Meerglas and Ostrad, all of whom we met and interviewed back in October for this feature. Other Berlin-based firms at the show included Cicli BonnanoGramm bags, and Wheeldan, all of whom we are keen to meet soon.

Many local shops brought their wares to the show: we really liked the bikes that The Gentle Jaunt and Bikedudes were showing off.

Aside from the more Berlin-centric stuff, many bigger internationally-recognised brands were also at the show: Giant, Schwalbe, Abus and Brooks.

Other cool stuff was happening near the entrance to the show: free bike coding/marking to prevent theft, free bike washing, a bike flea market and temporary bike repair stations.

We really enjoyed going to the show, and it was a clear indicator that bike culture in Berlin continues to thrive. If you didn’t go this year, make sure to check it out next year.

16th April 2018 0 comment
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Berlin Fahrradschau 2018

Starting in 2010 with 90 exhibitors and 5000 visitors and now with over 300 brands exhibiting to over 13,000 people, the Berlin Fahrradschau is a fantastic event for anyone in Berlin (or nearby) interested in cycling.

Held every year at Station-Berlin in buildings of the former Dresdener Bahnhof near Gleisdreieck, the BFS offers visitors the opportunity not only to drool over some of the coolest bikes available, but also to check out live races, workshops, talks and panel discussions. It’s also a great chance for Berlin bike manufacturers, teams and organisations to promote themselves.

The BFS started Friday 23rd and finished Sunday 25th of March. We started off by riding the Brooks/Tortuga Cycles gravel ride on Friday morning, before going to the show proper on Friday evening to check out an interesting panel discussion about the future of German fixed gear racing. Several key players in the scene were involved, including the German fixed crit series, Rad Race,  8bar, Standert bikes and Messpack.

On Saturday we went back to check out the bikes.  Many Berlin bike brands were at the show, including 3 we met last year for our 5 Berlin bike manufacturers feature: Fern, 8bar and Meerglas. Additionally, we saw beautiful bikes from Cicli Bonanno, Wheeldan and Schindelhauer.

In the vast room behind the exhibition hall there was live BMX, trials bikes and bike polo, also with a space to try out bikes from the show.

On Saturday evening we trekked up to Hohenschönhausen to check out the Rad Race Last Man/Woman Standing,  an evening of fixed gear crit racing. It was great fun, with a real party atmosphere – check out the link for a great write-up with pictures. As you can see from the results, several of the top 10 riders from both the womens’ and mens’ races were from Berlin teams: 8bar, Schindelhauer and Messpack. Watch the official Rad Race video below.

On Sunday it was back to the show to check out the Standert Points Cross race, which used both the ‘backyard’ behind the exhibition hall and the indoor events room itself to create an awesome, challenging cross-country course. Check out tons of great pics in the link, or the youtube video of one rider riding the course below. It was really cool to see a cyclocross race like this in the middle of the city and the shorter track meant the crowd got to see a lot more of the action than at a classic cyclocross race.

What bikes were hot?

As expected, adventure/gravel/all-road bikes were super popular, with countless manufacturers big and small showing off bike-packing rigs with drop bars and fat tires. Traditional touring set ups with panniers seemed less popular.

A big range of slick urban/city bikes was also on offer, hopefully indicating that city cycling and commuting are on the up and up. Cargo bikes also seemed to be quite popular: we saw lots of people trying them out and there were several exhibited at the show.

Fixed gear and single-speed bikes seemed to be as popular as ever, with a huge selection of sexy bikes to check out from 8bar, Standert, London’s Brick Lane Bikes and Hamburg’s Suicycle.

We didn’t get to see and do everything at BFS18, but what we did see and do was fantastic, and we can’t wait for next year. If you haven’t been yet and are even moderately interested in cycling, definitely check out next year’s show.


31st March 2018 0 comment
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