We had fun, cursed, suffered a little, drove fast and slow, cheered loudly, got angry and were happy to receive big praise. A great weekend with cycling, old and new friends, lots of emotions and the realization that not everything went perfectly, but a lot was really good - at the Düsseldorf Cycling Day, the "This is not Pottcrit" fixed gear race and our weekend with the “Ein Gang ins Glück” trip and our little pasta party “Two pasta and one beer”.
Monday, 09/19/2016. The local press reports extensively on the traffic chaos caused by the closure of the “Race am Rhein” racetrack. You write about late information, canceled birthday parties, workers who had to cross the line in their car and so on and so forth. One seriously wonders what will happen if the city decides to implement a car-free day. And one wonders whether the local press itself could not have done more to collect and communicate information about closures and traffic delays. Instead, a lot of what you could read in the run-up to the Düsseldorf Cycling Day was characterized by skepticism and ignorance. A carefree and positive mood in the city towards the event and the bike in general is difficult to build up in this way. Communication has certainly not been one of the organizational teams' strengths so far, but one mustn't forget that Düsseldorf implemented the cycling day relatively quickly. And it would be surprising if everything went perfectly the first time.
The fact that people line the route at 9:00 a.m. and cheer for the athletes shows that cycling is a thing in Düsseldorf and the surrounding area. Of course, at first glance it looks more impressive when car racing enthusiasts gather around a couple of horsepower cars pulling rubber circles on the manageable Kö, but cycling carries the enthusiasm to the surrounding area. Every spectator along the route contributes their small part and experiences their very own part of the event. In this case in Düsseldorf, Erkrath, Ratingen and above all Mettmann. The city council actively worked to attract spectators to the route, with success, as was easy to see. It was great to experience the enthusiasm with which young and old across all nationalities were there at the roadside.
The track itself made the good impression that was hoped for when it was closed off, after all the lap was no fun on normal days thanks to nervous drivers. Here the organizing team has proven that they understand their craft. Dusseldorf certainly has far more appealing routes to offer, but they lack the suitability for a broad field of riders, as is to be expected at the Tour. The fact that the paths were too narrow after crossing the finish line is a gimmick that doesn't play a role on the tour. If, as planned, there is another public race in Düsseldorf next September, one can assume that those responsible have learned from the traffic jam and have new solutions ready for next year.
But there wasn't just the "Race am Rhein", the classic "Rund um die Kö" also took place at the same time. While in the past few years there was mostly yawning emptiness at the barriers, this year everyone and their family members benefited from midday. The process planning certainly has room for improvement here, "we've always done it this way" shouldn't be an argument in view of the little edifying experience of the last few years. It is unfortunate that young cyclists have to do their laps on Königsallee at 9 a.m. in the morning in front of an empty backdrop. If, thanks to a generous donation under the name Petit Départ, a lot of effort is then made to recruit the next generation, such a plan seems absurd.
An event like "Rund um die Kö", which has such a long history and has what it takes to be an absolute cycling classic again today, must be competently and creatively accompanied and implemented in order to make the transition to the present day appropriately. It is bitter to see that the athletes of all ages who do their best in the setting in downtown Düsseldorf receive so little attention. We hope that the city and those responsible recognize the value of "Around the Kö" and act accordingly. As is well known, there are enough ideas to make the event more exciting, basics like a website would be a first start. As long as the design is placed in professional hands.
But actually we shouldn't complain, because we got two time slots on the Kö and were able to implement our small event together with the teams from FixedPott from Dortmund and the U-Lock Justice crew from Dresden: "This is not Pottcrit “ – the first visit to the fixed gear racing circuit in our city and hopefully not the last. Everyone who organized, moderated and accompanied this race worked on a voluntary basis and approached the task with passion, commitment and competence. I just imagine that the spectators around the Kö also felt it, the mood and encouragement after the race was great too, no wonder after Paul and Fabian were the moderators. On the other hand, the behavior on the part of some officials, who have once again proven that they, as supposed guardians of the true sport of the Grail, want to keep any fresh wind out of the game, is not great. A bitter aftertaste and the realization that working together in such a constellation will not take place again. Here you can confidently look to Cologne, "Rund um Köln" as a cycling event proves that young and old work harmoniously and in a good mood together in cycling, there the colleagues from RAD Race rock the route.
In Cologne, you can also see the advantage in terms of experience based on the exhibitors around the races, the mile on the Steinstraße still seemed a little uninspired and hesitant in terms of cycling. Angry voices spoke of the shooting festival in the provinces and missed the mobile phone case sellers, but we are sure that in the future there will be more exhibitors and catering providers that correspond to the orientation as an international cycling event. Our partners from POC, Adidas and Campagnolo have made a start there. The Düsseldorf RadAktiv-Tag is something different in terms of orientation, but should be a role model in terms of atmosphere.
We were pleased that Porno al Forno's enthusiasm for the upcoming tour and the race on the Rhine attracted so much attention from the media and ultimately also from the officials. Of course, we hope that further steps will be taken in the area of musical accompaniment. There are plenty of opportunities for cooperation in Düsseldorf. With "This is not Pottcrit" we messed up the musical program ourselves, it's guaranteed not to happen to us again.
Our own festivities in the Chic Hat started on Saturday, after all it was a matter of welcoming guests and showing them something of Düsseldorf. That a fixed gear legend like Brooklyn's Alfred Bobe Jr., who upset a young fan by giving him his autographed bib number after "This is not Pottcrit," performed with the Chic Hats team on Saturday and many others on a single-speed tour in the Düsseldorf area makes us happy. Alfred and all the other fixed gear heroes made it clear this weekend what an exciting and necessary addition to cycling culture they are. Individualists, non-conformists, crazy speed freaks and thoughtful fine spirits, everything is there, everything is important and just right in the hat. In such moments we realize that we are not alone with our approach, our interest in design, art and culture and that we are part of a larger whole. Even if it's still a tender seed in Düsseldorf.
In the early Saturday evening there was a get-together to our liking with beer and pasta salad. A film by Carolin Kewer, the organizer of the Art Crash Rides in Los Angeles, plus guests from the traditional cycling environment chatting intimately with fixed gear riders. FixedPott mastermind Paul Baluch moderated himself half lying in the basement, in which he asked for the gold sprint on the roll. Loud cheers sounded through the courtyard of the cap, the fun was palpable that evening. Our local hero Stefan, who we really missed on the track on Sunday, really rocked the gold sprint.
“Road bikes are the new punk rock” was one of the headlines when we opened our hats. The quote certainly seems a bit short-sighted, the racing bike culture is as complex as musical tastes. And a Rudolf Scharping as President of the BDR is as far removed from punk rock as Heino. Boredom in cans. But that's exactly why cycling and the associated events need a good portion of fresh cells. It's not always just about building sporting elites, it's also about having fun. If he is there, the performance usually follows by itself. You have to take people with you and show them how great a bike ride can be. Whether on the race track or on farm roads is secondary. At the end of the day, we all just want to enjoy a few good hours on the bike.
Thomas Geisel and the city tour emphasize that they want to use the momentum offered by the Tour de France to bring cycling forward in Düsseldorf in the long term. We should take this seriously and support it, not measure everything at one or two events, attach it to one or two cycle paths, but work to attract the attention of Düsseldorfers in the long term and to enable a permanent switch to cycling. For decades, the city of Düsseldorf only thought about cars, now it's time for a change. And despite all the criticism, this weekend certainly showed many how much fun cycling can be. And by July 2017 at the latest, we will all see how much attention this can trigger around the world.
The hat says thank you. To everyone who helped make this weekend so big. A curtsy in the direction of Dortmund and a curtsey in the direction of Dresden – Fixedpott & U-Lock Justice Crew rock the house. diggers
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