Let's be honest - I don't have the faintest idea how to explain a year like the one we just rocked down here with our hats to anyone. But I'll try. And try not to lose the thread completely.
The start was not easy, we brought the corona pandemic and lockdown with us from 2020. We could have guessed that Brexit and delivery bottlenecks would come on top of that. We were actually focused on the move, but the date kept getting delayed due to construction.
It all sounded very simple: after various delays, we are moving from the backyard at Talstraße 22-24 to the backyard at Oststraße 119 in March. A good 800 meters as the crow flies. A new shop, a little larger, with charm, in a backyard that will be our home for the next few years with a clinker facade and great new neighbors. That was the plan. Instead, after our move in mid-April, the building acceptance of the property was unfortunately missing. We had a shop set up, the lockdown was coming to an end, we had bikes, new clothing collections - but we weren't allowed to open. Because the operating license was a long time coming. And it was slowly becoming clear that she won't be coming in a few days either.
In order not to be completely without income, we talked to our new neighbors from the Schuhmacher brewery and asked if the currently vacant Hut Gut shop could be rented. Part of the space was available, so we built a hat-style pop-up shop in a day. Two clothes racks in, a cash register, two bicycles and the shop window decorated. Add an improvised changing room and you have a mini pop-up solution. At the time we were assuming three to six weeks. At the time, we didn't expect, even in the worst forecasts, that it would take more than four months to move to our real store. But as life goes...
So while we walked back and forth between Ost119 and Ost129 fifty times a day to fetch things from the store that had been set up into the pop-up if there were customer requests, our store finally filled up with water during a heavy rain. After initial investigations, it was clear that everything had to be dismantled in order to set up drying equipment and then lay a new floor in the shop. At that point at the latest, we were already completely through with 2021. The year no longer wanted to be our friend.
After we set up the shop a second time after the repair work and finally had an operating permit, we officially arrived at our new location Oststr.119 on September 12th. Due to the delays that continue to accompany us, we have to improvise in many areas, but at least we now have a shop that allows us to show our range. Something that should have been the norm since March 2021. We and you are missing the café, after all it is also part of the cap DNA, so we always want to hope that the construction work in front of our door will soon pick up speed, the access route will be barrier-free and unrestricted and we will finally have the terrace in an appealing atmosphere that we have been missing since spring 21.
Getting through this time would not have been possible without help. Thanks to our regular customers who showed understanding for this madness and were relaxed. Who strengthened us, gave us time, conveyed confidence and showed understanding for our sometimes battered nerves and remained loyal to us despite the barriers and obstacles that kept appearing. Believe us, nobody needs a number like that. And the scope of the whole story is only fully apparent when you were right in the middle of it.
This applies to our entire team, which has been constantly confronted with the restrictions over the past few months. Thanks to everyone for the top job and for overcoming the challenges with a good mood, confidence and creativity. Mutual support, encouragement, understanding for each other - none of this can be taken for granted. It's always easier to shine when the sun is shining, it's only when crises come that you see how good you are as a team.
Thanks also to our partners – your support was important. There was so much praise for our work over the last few years, so much encouragement and trust in our strategic orientation and our work, as well as flexible solutions for the problems that arose – that felt good.
And thanks to our new neighbors, the Tonies, for the help and support we got from you. You gave up rooms that were yours to help us - great cinema. And thanks to Thea and the team from the Schumacher brewery for offering flexible help in difficult times.
Time to focus on the positives to take away from 2021. One of the first actions we implemented in 2021 was “A Day In Hell” with the Rapha colleagues. Originally, the opening of the Cap II was intended to be a big celebration of the fact that we both offer parts of the Rapha range in the cap and are a supporter café for the brand and the RCC. However, despite all the love, the pop-up store did not allow this due to the limited space and the lack of infrastructure. But our route, which was specially scouted out for the day in hell, was tackled by more than 200 drivers on the weekend of April 11, 2021. And the response to the evil beast was great: 112 km with more than 2000 meters of altitude difference in the Düsseldorf area made everyone who was looking for a challenge happy. Especially on the “right” weekend in April, when constant rain and 4° Celsius made the ride a real slog. Over the last few months, the circuit has developed into a real permanent one, which many visitors and ambitious cyclists like to ride in whole or in part.
On September 12th, the Königsallee was dedicated to cycling. Even under the difficult conditions caused by Corona, the 21 edition of Rund um den Kö can certainly be counted among the highlights of the cycling season in our hometown. Thanks to the professional event implementation by Alexandra from DestinationX and the support of the Cycling Club Düsseldorf team directed by Stephan Hörsken, we were able to have a great car-free day with a great racing program at the to spend We have already written an article about this, which you can find here.
The transition to the first edition of the Querfeldrhein/Rival-Cross weekend at the Grafenberg racecourse was seamless. The biggest event to date, in which we were involved with Schicke Mütze, gave us a weekend that gave us a lot of strength with its positive mood, but also with the feedback in the weeks that followed. You can find a review of the great weekend here on our website.
Thanks to this format, our vision of making more cycling events in Düsseldorf possible, professionalizing them, putting our shoulders on many broad shoulders and not only addressing the scene, but also bringing together the elite, young people, everyone and women, spectators, fans, those interested and curious get more contours. And as you can hear, other formats are in the starting blocks to inspire cycling enthusiasts in Düsseldorf and far beyond the city limits.
As is well known, we at the cap often move off the beaten path, both on the bike and with our campaigns, ideas and events. But after this year we are sometimes happy about a touch of normality when established series can be implemented and everyone involved can enjoy them without much effort. One bright spot in this regard was the return of the winter bitch parade. Our winter exit series entered its seventh season this year and was fun as always, despite 2G restrictions and registration formalities. We have combined the useful and necessary with the good and offer donation tickets for the World Bicycle Relief for every ride as part of the registration. We would be happy if you would help with a small contribution during the season so that we can all experience a few wheels for Africa with our tours over the winter and thus help to create structures there that make life better.
One year ends, the next begins. Time for a new calendar on the wall. With the hat, we have established our calendar over the past few years with pictures of the events, trips and bikes of the past year. Also in this year. A bit late, just like the last few years, but I think given these months, you'll forgive us. As soon as the calendar is here, you can pick it up. And we'd be happy if you donate €10 to the World Bicycle Relief, we'll set up a box. So there will certainly be a decent amount of bikes when we count the total at the end of the winter season.
All right, let's hope for a start in 2022 that makes life a little easier for all of us. Let's hope that all necessary measures will be taken to minimize the disruptions that Corona has on all of our everyday lives and to take the fear out of the pandemic. We hope that we can finally welcome you soon in an environment that you and we enjoy and that continues the great story of the hat. We look forward to meeting each other in the courtyard of the cap in Düsseldorf300 or Schotter,Kies und Moos, when cyclists stretch out on our terrace and enjoy delicious coffee and a snack.
Let's hope that the year in review 2022 will be a lot more fun because we had a great year together. There's some news on the bike side that we'll be letting you know about over the next few weeks, you can look forward to a fair amount of new bikes coming out over the next few weeks and months.
Let's do it better. Together.
Carsten and the team of the cap