Fixed around the world

with Jo-fietser



The dead velodrome

I really like to visit abandoned places. But seeing how a nice wooden velodrome falls apart can make me cry.

In December 2015 I’ve been in Ipoh for the Silver State Criterium. One day after the race my friends cycled with me to the Rakyat Velodrome in Ipoh. The official entrance is locked, so we had to crawl below the track to get inside. When I got inside and looked at the track I couldn’t believe my eyes. It is impossible to ride in this velodrome. Huge holes in the wood. You could fall inside the holes and end up on the gras we crossed to crawl in the velodrome. Somebody made big piles out of the old wood. I walked on the velodrome, but the rotten wood makes even that pretty dangerous.

The guys told me that the velodrome is shut down since nearly three years. Since that time nobody really cares about a renovation or a new velodrome for Ipoh. It’s sad to read that there is not enough money to care about the first velodrome in Malaysia.

Unfortunately there is just one other open air velodrome in Kuala Lumpur. The good news. They are building a new indoor track in Nilai.

It’s fantastic to see that guys like Azizulhasni Awang achieve great results in international competition! But it would also be great to see that somebody cares about the velodrome so that the next generation can train and get stronger.

At the end of April will be a big bike festival in Ipoh with several events for road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX and fixed gear cyclists. It would be great to see that the malaysian cycling ommunity is growing and that somebody cares about the youngsters. So please join the Ipoh bike festival from 29/04/2016 – 01/05/2016


Tokyo’s Fishmarket

Cycling the east coast of Taiwan and Taroko National Park

These are just a few impressions of cycling up the east coast of Taiwan. It’s a beautiful coastline with a lot of great places and just a few people.

Especially when you reach Taroko National Park and it’s huge Gorge. It’s stunning!

RAD RACE Tour De España 2015

What an awesome movie! The RAD RACE guys toured through Spain. Stunning landscape, great climbings, best crew! Watch it and enjoy it! I just feel psyched to be part of the next big tour! #doepicshit

Highest road in Taiwan // the KOM challenge by motorbike

After the bike show I decided with my friend Hugo to do something different. Leaving the fixed gear at home and get on a motorbike. Some of you might have heard about the KOM challenge in Taiwan. Basically it’s a road which starts at sea level and gets up to 3.275m at the wuling pass. The cycling event, which takes place every year in October, starts on the east costs and includes roughly 80km of climbing. We started on the west coast and the climbing part is just 55km. Still tough. Crazy steep parts, cold wind, but a view which is just amazing. In the center of Taiwan are huge mountains. More than 280 over 3.000m and the highest one is Jade mountain with 3.952m.

On our way up, we had lunch at the highest 7-11 in Taiwan and experienced that it was a stupid idea to start without gloves. However we made it to the top and enjoyed the view. However this is the highest road in Taiwan, there is no tourist attraction. On top of the hill you find a parking slot, a small hut with toilets and a sign which shows you how high you are. I found this very peacful. Not having thousands of shops on a mountain, where you should buy any over prized tourist souvenirs or bad food. Enjoying this quiet moment was great. When we continued riding, we ended up at Wuling farm. A nature reserve with a nice river, waterfalls and blooming trees. This was definitaly a place to stay over night.

When I woke up in the morning I heard heavy rain pelting on out hut. Although we waited for two hours, the rain didn’t stop. What to do? Get on the motorbike and go. Hugo gave me a rain jacket, but I still had no gloves and no rain trousers. I used one of these cheap rain coats as a rain trousers. Covered my shoes with plastic bags and my hands with plastic gloves and socks. Ready to go. On our way back to Taichung we used a small road, which sometimes was just a gravel road. Huge potholes and bumps, deep waterholes. You think that’s though and scary? I think it’s fun. I really enjoed having a cross motorbike and hitting this road.

Bike exhibition and drag racing

Four days bike show. Four days of meeting old friends, new people and looking at some cool bikes and other cycling equipment. To be fair, the purpose of this bike show is not to show the newest development of the companies. Therefore you should visit Eurobike in Germany. The purpose of the Taipei bike show is much more to make business. Lot’s of OEMs from Taiwan are at the show to sign contracts with their customers.

However it was pretty cool to meet friends from Germany, friends I’ve met before in Thailand and Singapore and of course many new people. Cycling with friends from all over the world just feels so good =)

Friday night some guys organised an illegal  drag race. 11km through town. From A to B, without blocked roads. I rode like hell, never stopped at any crossing, but sneaked through the traffic. I get away from the pack with a taiwanese and a korean rider. Luckily I managed to drop them before the finish line and won the race. What an amazing feeling! Now I try to recover a bit from these long and full days.

I stay fixed – this motorbike doesn’t like me

After six days on the road we did 1.770 km and on four of these days I cycled 530km on my fixed gear.
Now it’s the time to see the differences of #travelfixed and travelling by motorbike.


Short throwback: After two days on the road and four stops at workshops, we decided to leave my motorbike in Nah Trang to get it repaired. We still had one motorbike and my fixed gear. Riding all the time with 30-35 km/h would be too boring for Luis and we wouldn’t reach Hué in time. Therefore we attached an old tube to his motorbike with which he could pull me to be faster.

This wasn’t just a stupid idea, it turned out to be a great idea. We expected to go with 40-45 km/h, but after a short time we tried to get faster and cruised with 55-60 km/h over the vietnamese freeway. Of course on a fixed gear you can’t just relax. I always pedaled and used this as a great cadence training. After a while you feel a high pressure on your body. Especially the shoulders and arms needed to work a lot to stabilize the bike. But it’s fun to cycle faster than many of the other motorbikes. After 240 km a flat tire of my bike stopped us and I just jumped on the back of Luis’s motorbike to finish the last 160km of the day.

The Vietnamese put everything on their motorbikes. 3-5 people, huge boxes and even baby pigs in a cage. However, when they saw us with backpacks and the fixed gear on a motorbike or me on the fixed gear behind a motorbike, they came next to us and waved their hands. Some of them stayed even a few minutes behind us to take a video. What did they think: „That’s kind of normal for us, but these two freaks from Europe…“

The second day on my bike turned out to be the craziest one on this trip. We did some more km on the motorbike, before I get on my fixed gear in Hoi An. After 30km we passed Da Nang, a very modern a big city with crazy traffic. I really like to race with the scooters and motorbikes, but it’s also mentally demanding. Beeing faster also means that you have to think about what they might do next. Especially in roundabouts it’s a big challenge. Just get in and follow your line. If somebody crosses your line… well, pass him.

After this city, the next challenge started. Climbing a 10km mountain. You might say, ’no problem if you get pulled by a motorbike.‘ Well, of course you are faster, but you also realise that you have to do a lot of the work by yourself. Losing the motorbike in a curve and sprinting uphill with 48:14 is not as funny as it sounds. Also overtaking buses and lorries are an aditional challenge.

However, we made it to the peak. Next challenge. Descending. You might think the fixed gear is the challenge. Of course it’s more demanding, but on that day I didn’t trust two other things. The road and the vietnamese drivers.
The surface of this road is really bad. Lot’s of potholes and bumps. Not the best surface for skidding. But now about vietnamese driving.
Short summary: They don’t give a fuck. Beeing on the wrong side of the road, overtaking although there is traffic in the other direction. It’s normal that the buses and lorries overtake each other. If you’re coming from the uopposite8 direction, you just ride on the last meter on the side of the road. After a while that becomes normal. In our worst situation not just two, but three cars were facing us from the front. Obviously we found enough space to get through.
Thinking about these drivers, made me slow down a bit more on the descending.

Now the last part of this day. We were already close to Hué, when the sun got down. Hopping on the motorbike for the last 30km? No way, that’s gonna be cold. I put some extra light on my bike and then we were on our way. Night rides are fun. Behind a motorbike as well. Of course you have to watch out a bit more, but it’s also fun to pass the other motorbikes. By the look of their faces, they don’t understand how a bicycle can be faster. Especially not at night. However, we arrived safe in Hué, our northest destination of this trip.

After some sightseeing in Hué we get on our bikes again and headed back south. Two days later we arrived again in Nha Trang. The city where I dropped my motorbike. Shortly after we left the next morning with the repaired motorbike, it broke down again. I was so pissed about this situation, that I just booked a nightbus with the motorbike back to Ho Chi Minh City. Luis finished the tour on his motorbike and ended up with more than 2.200km.

This trip was great! Seeing different types of landscape cycling so much and experiencing crazy vietnamesea traffic.

Comparing motorbike and fixed gear for travelling seams a bit unfair, because mine broke down. But actually this shows, why it’s currently nicer to #travelfixed instead of using a normal roadbike. There is not so many things, which can break down. Therefore it’s way easier to maintain the bike and get the spare parts. Yes, without a motorbike I wouldn’t do more than 200km so easily. But the high speed also has it’s disadvantages. After 2-3 days I felt my ankle because of the high cadence I did for hours.

I would just suggest this kind of travelling to people who are really fit and a bit crazy. Otherwise you won’t have fun. A motorbike is definitely a good opportunity to see a lot of this country.

I guess it would be cool to do trip again. Not just the south, but the whole country.

Travel Vietnam by motorbike or fixed gear

Travel Vietnam by motorbike, they said. It’s fun, they said. They are right! It definately is an adventure!

In Siem Reap I’ve met another bicycle enthusiast, Luis from Barcelona. Unfortunately he is not travelling with his bicylce, so he planned to travel Vietnam by motorbike. In Ho Chi Minh City we found two nice scooters with which we wanted to travel up the cost until we reach Da Nang. What to do with my fixed gear? Leave it at a bike shop in Ho Chi Minh City? No! Take it with me on the journey. We disassembled the bike, Luis strapped the frame on his Ortlieb messangerbag and I strapped the wheelset on my Chrome Kharkiv bag. Ready to go! After we got the bikes we decided that it’s too late to get far away. Therefore I cycled and Luis drove with his scooter around town. After 5km Luis had to stop, because his chain get off. The easiest way to get back to the shop? I pulled him with my fixed gear. I guess this was a funny picture, but luckily the shop owner just gave us a new motorbike.

First destination should have been Mui Né, a city at the coast. After roughly 50-60km we had to make our first unplanned stop. Luis had a flat back tire. Whatever, there are plenty of bike workshops at the side of the road, so it was quite easy to find somebody, who could repair that. Back on the track we had a good run, until it become dark. Already before that I realised my motorbike doesn’t have enough power as at the beginning and stuff like the honk weren’t working anymore. After a while the engine just tuned off and I had to stop. We tried everything, but it wouldn’t start again. What to do now? IT’s dark, all workshops are closed and we still have 30km to go. We parked the motorbike in a side road, I assembled my fixed gear and we rode to the next hotel. It shouldn’t be to difficult to find a workshop at the next morning to help us repair the motorbike. That’s what we thought. When we came back to that spot at the next day, the motorbike was gone. Obviously it was not stolen, because the guys from the shop next door explained me with hand and feet (no word of English) that it’s anywhere else. So I hopped on a scooter of one of the guys and he drove me to a house roughly 1km far away. My motorbike was there. But the house wasn’t a random one. It was the local police station. Explaning the officer that this bike is mine and that it has broken down the night before wasn’t so easy. Again no word of English. However with the rental bill, calling the bike rental in Ho Chi Minh and a lot of smiling convinced the police guys a little bit. I guess the money we gave them was also a good help to get my motorbike back. Afterwards we found a workshop, the guy changed the battery and we were back on the road.

After 150km my motorbike broke down again. Luckily it didn’t take much time to find another workshop. However, explaining the guy that it wouldn’t help, if he changes the battery again wasn’t so easy. We could convince him to charge the battery and find the problem. He worked on the bike but we couldn’t really understand what he was doing there. Whatever, it was running again. For how long? Roughly 100km. When we reached Nha Trang, our destination of the day, the engine turned off. Luckily, very close to the hostel.

So what to do now? We figured out, that the broken part might be the alternator. But should we rely on a bike, which already broke down three times? No way! The night before we already had this idea, that I can just cycle up to Da Nang. And that’s the plan for now. I’ve just prepared my fixed gear for the ride. To be faster, Luis will pull me a bit. This will be slower that with two motorbikes, but  a.) it’s better to not use the shity motorbike again and b.) it’s gonna be fun!!! We will see what will happen. =)

This tour is definately a big adventure. And we still have a whole week on the road.


Cycling at Angkor Wat

Have you ever been at Angkor Wat? So many tourist are running around, the roads are blocked by scooters and even more locals want to sell you food, drinks and clothing. Angkor Wat is the main temple and the one which is in best conditions. Therefore most of the tourist focus on that temple. I did the same on my first day 😉 Afterwards I cycled a bit north to Angkor Thom. A whole city full of temples and old buildings. It’s stunning. Unfortunately the sun was going down and I had to do it in the next days.

On my second day I left my hostel at 5am to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. In terms of tourists you’ll nearly see the same amount of people as during the day time. It’s crazy! You feel like at a concert. People are pushing you to get to the best photo spot. I just sneeked through for some nice shots. I relaxed at the sunrise and cycled to some other temples afterwards.

On  my last day I cycled to Banteay Srei with Luis, a friend from Spain. We cycled around the whole area of Angkor and ended up with 90km. A nice ride with lot’s of temples and places with less tourists, then the days before. I enjoyed that 😉

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