My name is Sebastian. I love to ride my bicycles. I ride them at home in Berlin (formerly: Helsinki), on country roads nearby, on long tours all over the globe and – since the addition of a folding bike to the fleet – I even carry one of them into all kind of places and public transport vehicles.
Cycling is not only the smartest way to move about in the city (in terms of flexibility, as well as air pollution and liveability of the urban space), it also serves as a daily workout routine and is a great way to relieve stress. And for travelling, the bicycle is just the right mode of transport to be fast enough to get to places, yet slow enough to experience them.
Since 2013, I have been tracking my cycling kilometres, primarily in order to challenge myself to ride more every year; the statistics have however also been valuable in observing the decay of components or required service intervals.
Meet the bikes
The fleet currently features three bicycles, each with a distinct purpose:
My primary commuter ride is a 2014 Brompton M6R, with reduced gearing and a telescopic seat stay to accommodate my long legs. I expected a lot when purchasing it, but even these high expectations have been exceeded: “El Brommito”, as it has been named, is such a fun ride it puts a smile on my face every time I get to ride on it. In its first two years, the bike accrued a whopping 4.000 km, today hovering somewhere above the 6.500 km line. I even used it for a week-long tour in Portugal and crossed both the Stelvio Pass and the four Sellaronda passes in the Italian alps; shorter trips have further led it to Estonia and Sweden, along with many places in Finland and Germany.
For more serious workouts and bike touring, my 2011 Focus Mares AX3 has served me well for over 15.000 km. It’s lightweight enough to keep up with the medium speed groups on road biking club rides, yet – thanks to an aluminium frame and fork with all required eyelets – takes up pannier bags rear and front, with enough volume for multi-week trips. It has been travelling many places, including Åland, Estonia, Japan, Canada and down the Baltic coast (Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad, Poland).
My “city bike” for local errands that may involve locking up the bike in a public space, I have recently refurbished my old 1980s Hercules Venezia bicycle that I once got as a teenager. It had been leading a dull life stored away in various basements and garages for over two decades, but since February 2017 – after a surprisingly low investment of just slightly more than 100€ to replace failed parts – has become a ride I quite enjoy. Thanks to its slightly too small frame, this makes for a very snappy ride, and with its wide tyres it is the most comfortable member of my fleet when zooming over the rough cobblestone streets of downtown Berlin.
This former “beater bike” was an old Scott mountain bike which I bought used in 2001 and used extensively for commuting and touring when it was young (and me as well). In the end, it was close to falling apart from rust, with only two gears left operational, but it still served me well during slushy winter months or on the occasional situation where I needed a bike that was ok to leave out in the rougher areas of Helsinki at night. It is safe to assume this bike had never left Finland after it arrived from the factory. After a job well done, this bike was retired from my fleet in August 2016 – donated to the local recycle centre where they most likely built a lovely new bicycle from some of its parts.
This 1993 Scott San Francisco was my first touring bike. It got stolen from the front of the house just two years in, but I still remember it fondly. After being limited to my Hercules Venezia before (see above), having 21 gears unlocked a whole new world of cycling – and first baby steps into cycle touring territory – for me.