In the mid-noughties I spent a year living and working in a german town just north of Nuremberg. Even for Germany it’s quite a special place from the point of view of cycling and at that time had a modal share of 33%, meaning a third of all journeys in the town were being made by bike. One of the first things to strike me, other than the bikes when I strayed onto the cycle path, was the sight of men riding bikes with baskets. Years of social conditioning caused my cultural compass to spin everytime I saw a basket not paired with the fairer sex. What was it all about?
A few years ago you’d rarely see another soul along the A40 cycle path, and having a good light to see by was just a case of buying the brightest one you could afford. On dark country roads this even seemed an advantage in that it made approaching drivers think twice about exactly what it was coming towards them.
Now though, it’s just a pain in the retina for fellow bicycle users – as cycling becomes more popular, so being blinded by the latest photon light bomb coming towards you becomes more common.
I’ve never been to a show quite like it before; the Spezi is as much about the people and the cycles they arrive on as it is about the trade stands. With a test track, a race track, three indoor halls and a large outside display area there was plenty to see and do. We stayed about 6 miles outside the show’s location Germersheim in a small town called Belheim, cycling in and out over the two days.