Violent gusts of wind, often from the front, sometimes nasty from the side, now and then also strong with pressure from behind, nowhere sheltered from the wind to stand and relax - if you compare the year 2023 to a ride, it was quite rattling . And looking at the speedometer wasn't very encouraging at times; despite constantly pressing the pedal, you didn't really make any progress. But at some point everything normalized a little, and at the end you can now mark the year as quite decent, which is certainly more than good given the circumstances.
What was going on in the cosmos bike?
The bicycle boom of recent years triggered by Corona was followed by a strange mix in 2023, which condensed oversupply on the one hand, purchasing reluctance, inflation and closed production facilities on the other into a complicated market situation. The fact that in the end even the big ones suffered or, in the case of Fahrrad.de, Wiggle, Chain-Reaction and SportScheck, fell by the wayside, did not cause us any gloating. Rather, it remains to be hoped that more and more cyclists will learn to appreciate the advantages of real stationary retailers again. And not just in the sense of “I want to support you and bring you my bike for service so that I don’t have a guilty conscience because I otherwise buy everything online.”
Don't worry, we'll spare you the verse with the rap about the evil Internet that destroys everything, after all our success is also linked to the Internet. Thanks to social media, our local activities are visible everywhere and reach you, a community that is just as enthusiastic about cycling as we are. Your positive encouragement, your praise and of course the numerous purchases that came about through our recommendations and campaigns make the hat possible. As a store, but also with everything that goes with it next to the store and makes the hat what it is.
Not to forget our partners who are at our side in these stormy times because they value our commitment to bicycles and know that for us the term passion is more than just a marketing slogan.
Excursions are always possible
First of all, we want to enjoy the positive things of 2023. And you can safely mention the rides of the women's movement racing bike, which invited people to the women's ride as part of Cyclingworld in March together with Iris Sappendel and started every Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Mütze from April onwards. The impressive organizing team, a combination of riders from the Dixsept, Cycling Club Düsseldorf, Café Cycle Club and the Mütze, has managed to put an impressive peloton on the bikes every week with continuity and a relaxed, positive atmosphere, which has great fun has conquered economic routes and district roads around Düsseldorf. The name Good Time Tuesday was a perfect fit; when you look at the social media activities, you immediately feel a good mood. In the winter months, a mix of online rides and bi-weekly Saturday rounds keeps the formed gang together before the cycle changes back to the beloved Tuesday round in the spring of next year.
The weekly summer hat outing has moved from Wednesday to Friday in 2023. Under the disco slogan #thankgoditsfriday we continued our relaxed round for the beanie community, charmingly with such success that in the middle of the year we were forced to reduce the number of available tickets and make the group smaller. For the 2024 season, our team and our guides will think about how we can create a flexible system that brings all aspects under one roof given the demand. It is important to us that the open character of the rides remains, that guests and newcomers feel comfortable, but it is also important to us that our circle of friends and our community always find a place in the peloton. A little more commitment, a little more regular participants, a little more of a fixed group, a little less anonymity are certainly good for the series and give newcomers in particular a lot more support and orientation if they want to join us. The development in the peloton, which meets regularly, is also something that everyone enjoyed a lot in the times before Corona.
It was nice to see in 2023 that a small team of permanent hat guides had been established around Andi, which made many trips possible this year. It was and is absolutely necessary to spread the commitment across more shoulders. We look forward to seeing this development continue in 2024 and getting a few more supporters. Only then will we be able to offer a wide range of regular excursions in 2024.
We are currently out and about on Sundays as part of the newly titled Winter Dirty Parade. Even if the weather this year is similar to the stormy round picture described above, we can't say that the fun has fallen by the wayside. In winter, a permanent crew has been established that is regularly at the start, which is certainly responsible for the positive atmosphere. And the small innovation of organizing the first WSP of the month as a gravel ride has brought a fresh tailwind to the entire series.
Our friend Roddy has been preparing another regular tour for a few weeks now. Under the title “Millionaires and Good-for-nothings”, we will be launching a fixed weekly round from January 2024 for everyone who has free time on the day, whether as a private worker, freelancer, shift worker or flexible home office worker whatever reason. You can find details about the route, speed and more on Strava. If you are interested, send us an email with the subject “Millionaires and Good-for-nothings” to info (at) chicemuetze.de, then Roddy will be happy to invite you.
In addition to our fixed weekly trips, we have again organized a considerable number of rides with our friends and partners in 2023. As part of Cyclingworld with Café Du Cycliste and Ritchey, with the Pari Souplesse Club and Schwalbe in July and September, as well as rides as part of Around the Kö with IRIS and a night ride with many partners as part of Querfeldrhein - there were a few of us On the go.
Team Dixsept Charity Ride
At the beginning of May, the Dixsept team invited people to a charity ride with their partners Bulle, Schvarz Kaffee, Weird Space and yours truly. We were able to help a little with organization and marketing, were the starting and finishing point and were happy that at the end the Düsseldorf refugee initiative Stay was able to hold a check for € 3000 in its hands. The response to the day was nothing but positive, the participants had fun and will enjoy their exclusive hat, which was given to all drivers, for a long time. Let's see if the idea doesn't become a regular event. We wouldn't mind.
After a three-year break, the Düsseldorf300 long-distance round was finally revived again in 2023, which we, as partners of the Cycling Club Düsseldorf, were able to support a little with our spirit and commitment. Even if we assume in advance that the weather will cooperate with such an event at the beginning of July, we still had to worry until the end as to whether the numerous riders would be able to go on the trip; storm and severe weather warnings made us doubt the day before.
The day of the event brought pretty much everything weather-wise that is possible in Central Europe in July: sun, heat, storms, thunderstorms, rain compatible with the tropics and a drop in temperature of 14°. It was more than impressive that after completing the 200 or 300 kilometer route, almost all participants gathered in the cap yard for the pasta salad party. And certainly a strong argument for not waiting so long for a repeat.
The classic ride is back
The nucleus of the cap, the classic exit, experienced another renaissance. While we have rarely had the chance to move our downtube gear lever cars in recent years, Volker has already brought the classic ride back to life at Cyclingworld in poor weather. As part of Around the Kö, there was also a slightly rainy edition with partner Brooks, which, however, had cult character for all participants thanks to a visit with delicious pasta at Helge Achenbach's Culture without Borders eV and an extensive tour by the chef himself. There are signs that the activities will continue in 2024, as there is also a group of interested parties who would like to breathe life back into the steel racers with downtube shifters. In recent years there have been repeated thoughts about a Düsseldorf parts market in the spirit of the Rommerskirchen racing bike exchange, perhaps something will get moving next year.
We ride for World Bicycle Relief
The different rides in 2023 not only put a smile on the faces of numerous riders, but also provided a small support to World Bicycle Relief. The money donated funds bikes that change lives. More on the topic here on the WBR website.
With Around the Kö and Querfeldrhein, the city of Düsseldorf now has two impressive cycling events that are making waves far beyond the city limits. The race on Königsallee is now considered a role model, at least in North Rhine-Westphalia, when it comes to combining ambitious and organized cycling, participation events for everyone, children's and youth formats and a family-friendly supporting program including exhibitors, food trucks and musical accompaniment.
Around the Kö reaches spectators, is fun for athletes, and can look forward to partnerships with local and national sponsors who combine the Kö race with a contemporary event in an exciting location. One can certainly argue about the extent to which we as a hat are responsible for these changes, and one can also argue about what this actually does for the hat. But one certainly cannot question that Around the Kö has developed positively since 2016 and is important for the cycling culture of the city of Düsseldorf and the wider area.
We are pleased that many of our partners have helped to initiate these changes in recent years. And we hope that Around the Kö 2024 can take a further step and is not based exclusively on self-exploitation and the positive madness of a few persuasive people, but rather that framework conditions can be created that at least guarantees compensation for the professional structures' expenses.
While Rund um der Kö has weathered a number of storms and changes since it was founded in 1968, Querfeldrhein, with its three-year history, is certainly still a complete newcomer. And yet the two-day event at the Grafenberg racetrack made it onto the podium of the German cross and gravel events. We were there from the beginning and were one of the triggers for such an event in our hometown. The organization team here was professional right from the start, which has also led to the rapid development over the last three years. But professionalism is largely carried out on a voluntary basis, a circumstance that no one can expect in the long term and which, in our opinion, must change.
The city of Düsseldorf must ask itself whether such an event, which arose from a grassroots movement and its radiant impact, represents an enrichment for the city and, if the answer to this question is positive, it should literally provide means and means to enable further steps . Quite clearly: we are not talking about excessive sums here, but rather about appropriate resources.
Let's get to the store!
In the past year, we have implemented more than eighty individual bike structures for our customers, from the lightweight hi-end carbon racing car with electric gears to the lightweight gravel bike with a high-quality steel frame for fast off-road laps to the sporty travel racer aka Randonneur for the big adventure on two wheels. These bikes contain our know-how and our conviction, so this number is a great sign of trust in our work. You can find some examples in the gallery following the article.
But it wasn't just our individual solutions that were in demand; our selection of sporty complete wheels made many customers happy. The fact that, due to the market situation, a decent start to the gravel bike adventure is possible for well under € 2000, this year has once again brought many newcomers to cycling.
Our core range has changed little in 2023, simply because we are very happy with the brands we work with. Practice is often the best guide; the response to our product selection often comes directly on our trips when our customers are on the road with the items. We continue to be inspired, go to trade fairs and look for new, exciting products. And it remains important to us, in addition to our bikes, to offer a wide and high-quality range of clothing, helmets, shoes and accessories that delight us and our customers. Gladly and often off the beaten track.
Our online shop was newly launched this year. Small, fine and reliable, it supplies our friends who don't live in and around Düsseldorf with hat items and a few other selected little things. Some new things were released in December, so you can access our entire merch range. Now it does too. 😊
What else was there?
We are pleased to have found our perfect partner for bike fitting in Nils and MotivAktiv in 2023. The response to Nils' work has been great and, despite all the self-confidence in our view of geometry and frame sizes, it massively expands our skills. In late autumn of this year we moved into our shared bike fitting shop at Oststrasse 20 and took our first steps there. In the next few weeks of the new year, the store's opening hours will be extended and we will offer an extensive and high-quality range of cycling shoes there. Without reducing our range in our regular store. Thanks to bike fitting, the topic of custom frames can also play a different role for us in the future; the additional space and Nil's work offer more options.
And something else very local: we take off our cap and throw it into the sky with a loud yee-haw in front of the Düsseldorf Cowboys team, who caused quite a stir in their first cycling starts in 2023. Second place at the Düsseldorf city championships and first place in the cross relay as part of Querfeldrhein are quite a feat. We were really happy that the team was wearing the bright colors of the hat. And we are excited to see where your journey will take you in 2024.
In 2024 we will be ten years old. There is certainly time for a detailed look back. Now let's look ahead. And look forward to 2024.
Have a great start into the new year everyone!