Monday, May 06, 2019

SPEZI Special Bike Show 2019

SPEZI, the annual Special Bike Show held in the last weekend in April is the world's largest show for recumbents, recumbent tricycles, quadracycles, folding cycles, tandems, family cycles, velomobiles, transporters, electrical bikes, special needs bikes, adult kick scooters, child and load trailers, customised designs and accessories (www.specialbikesshow.com). Fortunately for us it is held in Germersheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany about an hour and a half away from home by tram and train. We visited the show for many of the 24 years it has been held including this year.
We always make a point of visiting the Junik-hpv stand (www.junik-hpv.de). This year two items caught our eye: a modified Brompton designed to be ridden by midgets: the Bromptolino 
and a Brompton equipped with a Velospeeder (http://www.velogical-engineering.com/), a friction e-drive that can be used for short periods when support is needed.
The Bromptolino

A few yards away in Hall 2 (or should we write metres) we visited the Sporthopeo stand (www.sporthopeo.fr) offering what could well be a lifesaver for cyclists who due to illness or accident can no longer keep their feet on the pedals. It’s basically a pair of magnets that can be strapped on bicycle or even tricycle pedals to secure the feet to the pedal. A twist of the feet will free the legs in case of need. The system offers more ease of use than conventional click pedals which take some getting used to, in my opinion even on a trike where you are not trying to balance and pedal at the same time.

We popped on to the Voss Stand (German Brompton distributors) and tried to talk a possible customer in to buying a Brompton. Our argument was that the bikes may be expensive but well made. We have had ours for twenty years. We have cycled over the Alps on them and they are in good shape. (I wish I was in such good shape.) One of these days I suspect I will apply to Brompton to pay us a premium­čśÄ.
We are seriously interested in buying two trikes. One of my concerns about buying a trike is getting the thing on a train. I know I am going to buy it to cycle and not to take it for trips on the railways, but we would like to travel slightly farther away from home and want to travel fairly quickly without using a car. I popped on to the Hase stand and asked about  the company’s Lepus trike which has been offered in a folding version since 2016. The employee I talked to suggested that folded trikes could be put on DB German Railways regional trains but not on long distance trains. He also said there could be problems with Jobsworths - employees who would love to help you “…but it it’s more than my job’s worth”. The Hase employee had a cargo bike and found it was possible to travel by train with this bike, but from time to time he’d had problems. This was a honest answer.
Our next conversation was with an employee on the HPVelotechnik stand. Delivery times for the Gekko models is about 8 weeks at the moment. This is good news for HPVelotechnik, but it means we will have to wait when we get round to buying a trike.
We were amused to see a further advantage of a recumbent trike on the TRAIX stand (German distributors of KMX trikes): If the self service restaurant is full, take your dinner back to the trike and use the trike as an armchair:
I found the velo spring sprung handlebar grips which are made of nut tree wood an interesting concept (www.velospring.com). Judith was less impressed. Old rubber grips after two or three years use are not things of beauty. These polished walnut grips which are internally sprung will stay good-looking for longer.
There is definitely a lot of interest in e-cargo-bikes and -trikes in view of inner city congestion, lack of car parking spaces and restrictions on diesel and petrol engined vehicles causing air pollution .
Radkutsche Musketier (www.radkutsche.de) - one of many cargo bikes on show.
It could be that growing provision of high speed cycle routes has yielded dividends for the sales of velomobikes - cycle cars - enclosed body work for trike or quad bikes. The ecVelo Challenger (https://www.eurocircuits.com/ec-velo/challenger/) with its rather neat body work on an AZUB TriCon trike caught our eye:
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One matter that was of interest was the fact that our local regional paper the Mannheimer Morgen finally noticed after well over 20 or so years that a major cycle event had happened in the area. Unfortunately another velomobile worth 16 000€ was stolen from outside a pub in Germersheim early on Monday morning after the event.
The stolen green velomobile
This theft was reported in the Mannheimer Morgen . I suspect the problem is that the Mannheimer Maimarket, a regional ideal home consumer show starts on the same day as SPEZI, and there is little desire on the part of the Mannheim paper to suggest visitors should attend an event other than the Maimarkt.


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