After 10 years without a bike, I finally got my hands on a gravel bike. I wasn’t aware how much I missed biking!
How I got back to biking
In my youth I often used my bike and even later during my time in Berlin, going by bike was a great feeling. Well, thinking of Berlin: that’s where my bike was stolen. Nothing dramatic, but I also didn’t replace it. Until now.
A few years ago we moved from Berlin to Bonn, and I luckily continued to work remotely for the company in Berlin. Well, that’s the good part. The bad part: I looked at the same walls for 99% of the time, so after some years of going fully-remote I needed a change. I changed the employer with a focus on their office to be right around the corner.
Now I am less than half an hour away from the office, so I can choose on a daily basis whether to stay at home (some days are heavily influenced by my kids), or go to the office and meet my colleagues.
This is very convenient and also opened the door to go by bike again. Many companies like my current employer provide benefits like Jobrad, which was a great chance for me to consider a more advanced and fun bike without the need to rob a bank :)
Choosing a bike
I researched bike options and found one at Canyon, with their headquarters quite near - along with a showroom and the possibility to test several bike models. They also provide a good consultation without expecting you to instantly buy a bike! That helped a lot to decide between a more sensible (a pure commuting bike like the Canyon Commuter) and a more exciting decision (a bikepacking/gravel bike like the Canyon Grizl).
After a night’s sleep I ordered the Grizl 7 AL, applied for leasing via Jobrad and sent my employer the form to approve the Jobrad as a new “Dienstwagen”. By the way: I ordered on Saturday and received the bike after only 6 days. I really didn’t expect the whole process to work so well! Canyon does a great job of preparing the bike, so that I required less than an hour to assemble it and go for the first test ride.
During the next weekend I already checked the tour to the office: not riding a bike for the last 10 years, I wanted to ensure that the route to the office would work for me and my level of fitness. Let’s put it like this: there aren’t any steep tracks between my home and the office - and the route itself, crossing the Rhine, is quite enjoyable.
The bike is not enough
The season is probably not the best one to start biking, but the unsteady weather also helps to think about additional gear, especially the right clothes. Ten years ago, I might not have considered to even gather information about “how to ride a bike”, but in times of information overload via internet and social media, it was just too easy to learn about the options, requirements, tips, and tricks.
There are great videos at YouTube, for example the German channel by Anke is Awesome. Anke tells you down-to-earth about the relevant bits and answered more or less all of my questions. Leveraging YouTube’s recommendation algorithm (in a positive way), I watched several other videos and channels, sometimes about required gear for shorter versus longer trips, challenges like Brevet or Randonneuring, and I became also curious for bike backing.
Going (biking) all-in
Long story short: I guess I’m going all-in and I’ll keep inspirational stories by Giant Cheerio and Wiebke Lühmann in my mind. Yet, before going on a ride of 10.000km, I’ll consider a Brevet of 200km or a tour up and down the hills to the Westerwald. Other channels by GCN auf Deutsch and Bastian Brutzer will help with their tips and tricks, and I will start with shorter and easier rides to Cologne and Koblenz.
I’ll keep you updated!