Eurobike 2017 gallery – or the storm and the calm


This gallery contains 11 photos.

It has been one long, intensive and ultimately very satisfying week at the global cycling show Eurobike in Germany. Podiums, politics, presentations, workshops, rides – we increased our programme again this year and got great feedback from the bicycle industry … Continue reading

Taipei’s cycling fairy story – through the wardrobe to Narnia, or down Alice’s rabbit hole?


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My fifth time here in Taipei and the start of a great 10 days, Velo-city Global and Taipei Cycle Show back to back. It was a gleam of an idea four years ago, now it is a reality. But before … Continue reading

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

Eating and cycling combined in Taiwan – put it on your culinary bucket list


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It is going to be very hard in the next few blog posts to not just turn this into”101 reasons why you should visit Taiwan in 2016.” We have our major international cycling conference there in March 2016 so there … Continue reading

Brilliant day’s cycling in Taiwan – brief report

Taiwan Bike tour

There will be time for better edited, clearer photos.

There will be more time for ride and route information.

And there will be special thanks to my friends at the Formosa Lohas Cycling Association who delivered me a great day cycling today. Over 140 km south from Taipei to the smallish town of Dongshi near the bigger city of Taichung.

But as I sit in my hotel room tonight I can reflect on great company:

FLCA ride taiwan

Super riding and some great views;

reservoir view Taiwan cycle tour

Use of a very tasty titanium road bike that I really would like to own;

Phil's bike

Riding through the strawberry harvest (in March);

Strawberry harvest taiwan

But above all else…….. the food.

I must have sampled thirty dishes today, most of which I have never tried before. At some point I will try an inventory but I will just capture a touch of the variety with the Hakka style hot pot, the excellent steamed meatball in a dumpling and the incredibly weird drinkable jelly tea.

Traditional Hakka style hot pot Taiwan

Steamed dumpling meatball Taiwan


Wierd jelly drink Taiwan

No danger of losing any weight on this tour.

And tomorrow I am told we hit the mountains for real. As if my legs don’t ache enough.


When asked “what’s hot in sport?” never for one moment did I imagine the answer to be “bobble hats”. Makes sense really.

A small diversion away from cycling on my travels, and a tribute to my Nan’s knitwear output.

I have written numerous times about my visits to bike shows around the world, but this week I have taken a detour to one of to one of the world’s most important sporting goods shows, ISPO Sport in Munich.

I am actually here to attend meetings and events on the side of the show that have been extremely useful for learning about trends in health and physical activity and the business climate in which the global bike industry is working.

But of course I went for a walk around the show. It was enormous, bigger than all the bike shows except maybe Eurobike. There were no specific bike exhibits but lots of familiar outdoor brands and many of the companies that make outdoor and sports gear also cross over into cycling.

Photo by Kevin Mayne Photo by Kevin Mayne

But inevitably my eye is drawn to the unexpected. This is especially true of trade fairs where the major purpose of the show is to convince manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to take a particular range, not really to reach the individual consumers.

Photo by Kevin MayneWhen I first went to Taipei Cycle Show I was drawn to the booths that just exhibited a single item like bells, or a huge display of carefully colour coded bolts, there so that assemblers could order just the right part to match their bicycle designs. No reason why they should not be there, but the care and attention to detail put in to displaying the humble washer just caught my imagination.

So what was it at ISPO?

Bobble hats.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

Walls of bobble hats.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

Fields of bobble hats.

Photo by Kevin Mayne


Colour coordinated bobble hats.Photo by Kevin Mayne

The biggest bobble hat I have ever seen.Photo by Kevin Mayne

Who knew? If you want to convince the winter sports buying community that your product is the height of technical achievement you top off your display….with a bobble hat, lovingly designed and created by people who have invested a great deal of craft in their product.

Maybe it’s because I don’t come from a winter sports country, but somehow I was highly amused by the status given to the sort of clothing that represented the height of uncool in England because it was knitted by your grandmother in strange shapes and colours. The only exception was your football supporter’s hat that you wore on a Saturday.

Good luck to them all, if colour coded bolts matter to someone then why not bobble hats? My Nan would have seen it as a challenge to turn out another batch from her extraordinary selection of leftover wool.

Impressions of Eurobike 2014 – cycling with style


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Fortunately I am not a cycling writer, at least not one who has to write about bikes and bits for a living. There are over 1300 exhibitors at the world’s biggest bike show so it is hard to get an … Continue reading

Now our bikes have got an obesity problem. Fat bikes the trend at Taipei Cycle Show 2014

Photo by Kevin Mayne

When I go to the big bike shows I try to have a wander round and see if there are any trends that catch my eye. After a while the sea of alloy and carbon can become overwhelming so the eye is only drawn to superb design or something quirky.

Cargo trailer At this year’s Taipei Cycle Show I was actually on the lookout for signs that the growing interest in cargo bikes in Europe might be backed up by the companies who make so many of the elements of our bikes. With the Asian heritage for carrying loads by bike I always believe Taipei should be a good place for research. However this year I was almost completely disappointed apart for two items in the Design Awards section – a small trailer and a stylish pedelec (IZIP E3 Metro) with load carrying front and rear.

Photo Kevin Mayne


There was also a very cute Louis Garneau bike with basket which I liked.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

However I was struck by one trend that is massive in every dimension. While last year the fat bike was a novelty on a few stands this year they were absolutely everywhere, it appears that the Taiwanese manufacturers think this is one of the trends their US and European importers are going to run with for a while so many had designs on show to prove they could meet the demand.

Taipei Cycle Show

Photo by Kevin MayneA have read some reviews and stories about fat bikes and I can clearly see the attraction in the countries where snow lies feet deep for months on end, or if you have a convenient sandy desert or beach to hand. They would be fantastic to hire for a fun day out at a bike park. But a mainstream part of the market? Not convinced.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that fat bikes are largely created to meet Rule 12 of the Velominati, that is to say

“The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.

While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. “

A bike that satisfies the need for the cyclist who has everything? Now that might work.

Taipei Cycle Show


Story of Taipei Week – the rise and rise of Youbike

Xiangyyun Road Taipei

End of a another Taipei Cycle Show week and a great kick off for the Velo-city conference for Taipei 2016.

Lots of photos and contacts to talk about.

But if there is a theme of the week it is the extraordinary growth of the public bike share scheme Youbike (or U-bike) which seems to be liberating the city’s citizens. A 30% growth in cycling appears to have rocketing Youbike use at its heart. Not least because they have cracked combined ticketing with metro and bus services, the ultimate in convenience. A lot of cities could learn from that.

I may have stretched the “rise” a bit much by trying to haul one up one of the forest covered mountains that cover almost a third of the city. My knees and back rebelled, because the gears are not really aimed at scaling the hillsides, but the views were worth the pain, and the walking.

Photo Kevin Mayne

More updates next week.

Charming Ravensburg, Germany

Ravensberg Blaserturm

Ravensberg leather house

One of the pleasures of this year’s Eurobike was further discovery of Ravensberg, the town we stay at in the Allgäu region of southern Germany. 

I stayed there last year and found it was charming town with an attractive car free town centre and a lively bustle of restaurants and bars. However because we only use the town as a dormitory I didn’t realise that there was much more to it than the streets between the station and the main central Marienplatz.

This time we stayed in the delightful Hotel Obertor which is actually built into the city walls and the Obertor (upper tower) itself. A few morning photos don’t quite do it justice but it is a great location.

Ravensberg Obertor and Obertor Hotel

And just beside it was another tower, known unusually as the Mehlsack or “flour sack”. Great name, especially as it had a much more imposing name of the White Tower at St Michael when it was built but locals nicknamed it because of its shape and colour and the name stuck.

The Flour sack Ravensberg

Apparently the town almost completely avoided war damage because it was of little strategic importance which is why it is so well preserved. Another time I must try to have enough time to do it justice and I recommend it you might do the same. Good restaurants and hotels too.

For more about the cycling in the area too see last years’s post here

Ravensburg morning Germany Allgau Ravensburg weigh tower

Not despairing at Eurobike 2013 – the cycling industry’s family gathering

Eurobike Bike ShowLuggage bound for Eurobike

This year’s reflections from the world’s biggest bike show. No, not the Tour de France or the streets of Copenhagen where cycling itself is on show. This is the biggest show of bikes, bits and all the associated services that go with them in the world and it attracts an enormous range of visitors and companies to Friedrichshafen in southern Germany. (Keeping the rough rule that my professional work stays distinct from the blogging my work at the show can be seen over at ECF’s news pages here.)

Eurobike display BH

I have to be honest, am not someone who can get excessively excited by the promised benefits of a new carbon weave or the relative merits of some enormously expensive braking system over another. There are many cycling bloggers and journalists whose raison d’etre is bikes and bits so I have to leave judgement on the merits of the products to them. This year I was even so busy I didn’t even get a single test ride which was a little bit frustrating.

My “Do not despair” thoughts are all about people and atmosphere with the occasional showstopper moment thrown in. I do like bikes as art or design and to be fair to our industry colleagues there are plenty of occasions when the exhibits have some “wow factor”, but to me that is aesthetic as much as technical. (Not all bike show exhibits are eye catching for the right reasons – remember this moment of madness from earlier in the year?)

It is essentially a trade show, business to business, so its primary target is manufacturers, bike shop owners and their wholesalers who come to sort out what bikes they will be selling in 2014, what the components will be and where the trends are. On the Saturday it also opens its doors to around 20,000 cyclists, mainly from Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

The overwhelming impression you get from Eurobike is just how big the bike industry is when you see it on a global scale. This year Eurobike had 1400 companies, 2000 journalists and 45,000 trade visitors putting well out ahead of the other two main shows at Taipei and Interbike in the US.

It is also home base for Europe’s biggest cycling market Germany so there is a lot of focus on how cycling in Germany is going in any given year. As my regular readers know I am very excited about how cycling in Germany is growing, I think their cities and cycle touring have a formula for success that is bringing results.

Eurobike opening 2013Now it is very clear that this importance has the highest level of political endorsement in Germany because the star of Eurobike this year wasn’t a piece of technology or even one of the celebrity riders like Tour de France breakthrough star Markus Kittel. They were all swamped by the appearance of “Angie”.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. With respect to our French, British and Italian friends she is almost certainly the most powerful politician in Europe and in Germany she has superstar status. Various coincidences of the German election campaigning season meant that Eurobike fitted her schedule but the overwhelming mood of the show was that this was a breakthrough moment for cycling in Germany. Nearly 18 months ago I wrote about President Ma of Taiwan coming to open the bike show at Taipei and declaring himself to be Taiwan’s number 1 cyclist.

At the time I was able to reflect that this couldn’t happen anywhere else in the world, it was entirely due to the business clout of the Taiwanese bike industry.

How wrong I was, and how pleased I am about it too because it is a real coup for cycling in Europe, not just in Germany. I was very pleased to get a place in the room for the opening because it was a bit of a superstar moment for us policy wonks too.

Angela Merkel at Eurobike

Angie herself was somewhat of a surprise package as well. One of our journalist colleagues said she “stole the show”. I think I have only every seen this rather sour-faced, serious woman who is set on bashing her own and other people’s economies into shape. So when she got up on stage, smiled a bit, relaxed and told a few modest local jokes she had the whole room in her hands. It even worked through the rather overwrought translator who was breathlessly trying to keep up through our earpieces in a horrible monotone.

She did apologise for not being a cyclist, explaining that when she was 15 the Russian soldiers in the forests around her home stole her bicycle, but apparently that wasn’t the reason she had a political reputation for not liking the Russians!

As well as the political clout the other stars of a business event are of course the business leaders, however their presence is much more low-key. It isn’t the impression I get from reading about other industries like cars or IT where the CEOs are put on a pedestal. No Steve Jobs moments at Eurobike, Here you are quite likely to bump into the CEO of the world’s biggest bike company casting a paternal eye over his company’s display (Tony Lo of Giant) and the others are out and about on the floor.

Tony Lo Giant at Eurobike

Product wise the E-bikes remain the place where the biggest buzz is happening, especially in Germany. Bernhard Lange, President of the German manufacturers’ association ZIV was even able to tell Angela Merkel that cycling has delivered her target of 1 million electric vehicles on Germany’s streets although the ferocious political leverage that the car industry has here meant that she quickly had to tell him that they hadn’t meant that.

One of my favourites was actually British, the GoCycle is a very stylish folding E-bike which I am actually hoping to test in Brussels in the next few weeks.

As I whizzed around the booths there is always room for some stylish carbon and huge arrays of mountain bikes but fortunately right in front of our booth was the Eurobike award winners’ section so I was able to sneak over and take a look at some trend setters.

Among them my first look at a Surly fat bike which was a pretty eye-catching. I have seen increasing mentions in US blogs about them and in the winter of last year I could almost have done with one in Belgium.

Surly at Eurobike

Surley Fat Bike

Eurobike Award WinnerVery, very stylish cloth coated saddle from Brooks. Since the company was saved by Selle Royal I think they have done a great job bringing Italian creativity to this most traditional of British icons. It is cotton set on vulcanised rubber – pretty much unique.

Eurobike award winnerHäse’s recumbent cargo bikes were very popular in the bike tryout area and were a distinctive sight all over the expo..

Unfortunately the scale of Eurobike does provide the other overwhelming impressions of Friedrichshafen show and an almost permanent talking point amongst the attendees. Once inside the Messe (exhibition centre) it is busy, but well run and efficient. Outside is chaos. There are not enough hotels so people stay up to 30km away, but this in turn means they largely need to drive to get to the show. Some of the veterans have booked the same hotel for about 15 years to keep a place and other experts from the mountain bike festival scene enjoy the camp site instead. However most just drive – on Thursday the queues to the West were over 20km long.

It would be nice to think we could all ride in on the great network of cycle paths or get the plentiful shuttle buses but even the cycling advocacy world knows that getting your way in and out from the countryside in good shape to stand and meet people all day isn’t practical for everyone. Many try to avoid driving, including me. However even with a relatively straightforward journey I managed to mess up one day and required 3 stages of public transport to get back to my hotel at 10.30 pm. Instead of rich Swabian cookery I had a burger from a well-known fast food brand at Friedrichshafen station which really did not sit very well. Not my finest hour.

However bad it gets it seems Eurobike is an addictive draw for the global bike industry and it looks likely to remain the key show of the year. Increasingly it is growing on me. I genuinely believe we have a very special business, I like the personalities of that community, even the most battle hardened CEOs of stock market listed industrial conglomerate seems to smile more when engaged in the bike world. But at Eurobike they are also surrounded by thousands of company owners for whom running a bike company is a multi-generational passion which has been passed on for as much as 100 years. From bike shops to giant companies like SRAM and Shimano we still see the founders intimately involved in many companies, still bringing the energy they had when they started out.

It never feels like that when I work in any other sector, long may it continue.

Kevin Mayne, Tony Lo, Patrick Seidler, Jeroen Snijders Blok, Stan Day, Ton Van Klooster, Tony Grimaldi, Frank Bohle, Manfred Neun

Folding bike – seats three

Bicycle Taipei Taiwan

These diminutive machines are quite common on the streets of Taipei. I never actually saw one with the extra passenger on the back but I saw a few with a child in the front seat, unfortunately never when I had a camera to hand.

I can think of reasons why this might not pass any number of EU regulations, but is a perfect solution for a family in a small apartment.

Taipei Cycle Show – here we go again

Taipei Cycle Show stand

Just looked back at last year’s blog posts when I was a novice blogger and a bit overwhelmed by the Taipei Cycle Show. Where else does the President turn up to open a bike show and I get to shake the hand of Ernesto Colnago.

So much cycling bling, so much sensory overload.

Now looking forward to a great week, it will be flat out but should be time for a few photos and posts. Click the Taiwan tag below for a preview from last year and for why I am going here’s this year’s advert.