Five years of “I do not despair” – revisiting our favourite posts

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On January 1st 2012 I published the first, tentative post on Idonotdespair.com To celebrate my fifth anniversary I have gathered together a small collection of favourite posts. Firstly your top 5 – the posts that have gathered the most visitors,some … Continue reading

Serious playtime – bikes, bike share and smiling

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When I am doing speeches and presentations about cycling I am usually concentrating on the serious benefits and economic arguments for cycling. But I often get to remind my audiences that there is a little bit of magic about cycling, … Continue reading

A cycling day in Helsinki

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I made my first visit to Finland last week, spending a day in Helsinki and a day traveling cross country to see Herrmans, an innovative cycling company. I have no doubt this was just a taster because there are a … Continue reading

Collective creaking and groaning – must be the start of the cycle touring year

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Yesterday I took my first cycling club ride of the year, breaking into the start of the Belgian cycle touring club season. As usual our club split into two groups, with those who have been riding all winter or who … Continue reading

It’s not just about the bike lanes. A beautiful cycle touring day in Copenhagen.

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As a cyclist it is so easy to be blown away by the waves of Copenhageners cycling to work and school along their wonderful bike lanes and forget to take a look at the city and its region. I haven’t … Continue reading

When life gives you lemons – make lemonade. When life gives you wind and rain and mud and a bike trail just round the corner …… go offroad.

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When we went to the Ardennes for the weekend I seriously considered not taking our bikes. The forecast was wet and windy, the landscape promised excellent walking, the old dog doesn’t keep up with the bikes any more.………. But somehow … Continue reading

To Burgas, Bulgaria for more cycling chat and exploration

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I do not despair’s exploration of the wide reaches of cycling continued in October with a trip to Burgas on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. I was there for a project meeting as part of ECF’s European Bike2work project. This meant … Continue reading

Dutch bicycles at home. A visit to the Royal Gazelle factory in Dieren, Netherlands

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I recently published a short article on the ECF web site about my visit to the newly opened extension to the home of Royal Gazelle bikes in Dieren, Netherlands. Link by clicking the picture or here It was a thoroughly … Continue reading

If you own the bike company why not ride to work on a Tour de France ready superbike?

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One of the amusing diversions at our recent Bike2work event at Eurobike was guessing what bikes the company CEOs would ride. In theory it was a bit complicated. They all had to drag themselves out of hotels all over the … Continue reading

British cycle tourist in the Netherlands – what I’m really thinking

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“Nice cyclepath”           “Oh look, lots of Dutch cyclists behaving normally”         “Bikes”           “Wow, driver stopped for cyclists”             “Windmill!” “Nice cyclepath”   … Continue reading

An “I love my job” kind of day – cycling, talking about cycling, looking at bikes – all in a great setting. Eurobike 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk2xaeXnxlM Photo Kevin Mayne

This is the first of a number of posts from my now annual trip to Eurobike, the massive bike show at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance (the Bodensee).

I’ll pick out a few individual stories and of course my professional work at Eurobike is covered extensively on the ECF web site and other media like Bike Europe.

However I have to start with Tuesday.

Tuesday was an “I love my job” kind of day, combining as it did amazing settings, some cycling, a hell of a lot of talking about cycling and even a few moments to look at some bikes.

But first a little context. Some of my readers will have seen my write ups from the previous three Eurobikes so I may have given you an impression of the scale of this event. It is the world’s biggest bike show and by far the biggest event in the area each year so it scatters us far and wide across the region to find accommodation. The good news is that this means I have got so see some of the lovely parts of this attractive region as we sought out places to stay. In previous years this has meant a hotel hidden in the city walls or even a celebrated monastery.

This Tuesday I woke up to sunrise on a fruit farm, tucked away in a tiny hamlet near the Bodensee town of Kressbron.Photo Kevin Mayne

Still and quiet apart from birdsong and offering a 5 yard walk up to the trees to pick a just-ripe apple for breakfast.

Photo Kevin Mayne

Promptly at 6.30am we were collected by ECF President Manfred Neun to take us on the next stage of the day. The “Leaders’ Ride” was our event to get the top people in the cycling business to beat the traffic and commute the 5km from the Friedrichshafen station to the showgrounds on the edge of the city.

Pilot? Experiment? On the morning of one of their biggest events of the year would the captains of industry turn out for a simple bike ride? We didn’t really know until 7.30 am when they flooded into the square by the station – probably 200 by the time we counted them all. We gave out almost 60 hire bikes from Nextbike so determined were they to come along.

Photo Kevin Mayne

Remember that John F. Kennedy said “nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride”? These folks don’t just ride the bikes, they own the companies and here we were putting huge smiles on their faces by having a short ride “to the office”.

Photo Kevin Mayne

Three days later they are still talking about the atmosphere and the networking and when Manfred announced we are going to do it again next year they all cheered! (He could have asked the rest of us first, but that’s the joy of Manfred)

Photo Kevin Mayne

The ride, press conference and photo call didn’t finish until 10ish, so second breakfast felt well deserved even if we had actually only ridden 5 kilometres.

First day of the show proper was then talk, talk, talk but of course I did sneak in a sideways glace at some of the exhibits, although the aisles were packed.

Photo Kevin Mayne Photo Kevin Mayne

To round the day off perfectly Manfred promised us that he would use his local knowledge to find us a restaurant by the lake on the way back to Kressbron. We actually overshot a little to get to the lovely island city of Lindau, the historic old town separated from the lake by a bridge. I first came here more than 30 years ago and I thought it was a lovely place then. In the golden hues of a late summer sunset with a tired but happy group of colleagues it was perfect.

Photo Kevin Mayne Photo Kevin Mayne Photo Kevin Mayne Photo Kevin Mayne

This gives me an excuse to end with one of my favourite songs of the last 5 years. Beautiful day