Most of us at Internetstores are cyclists – so we have a huge pool of enthusiasts helping us decide which bikes and parts we need for the next season. With so many cyclists riding throughout the year, there are a lot of adventures to keep up with. Some of the best stories from 2019 are collected here, and we also look forward to 2020 with some New Year’s resolutions.
Highlights of 2019:
Ben – Bikepacking in Georgia
The highlight of my year on the bike was a bikepacking trip through Georgia, which I tackled together with two friends. We started in Kutaisi, aiming for the Greater Caucasus mountains on the border with Russia. After a few days, we turned south and travelled towards the border with Turkey before we finally arrived in Tbilisi. It was the hardest bike tour of my life – countless metres of climbing, single track (on a gravel bike!), trails where we had to push the bikes, and several encounters with unfriendly herding dogs made sure of that. Nevertheless, I had some of the best riding days of my life in Georgia – and without question, the most impressive landscape I’ve ever seen. Descents on gravel roads with snow-covered peaks on the horizon are truly the best! The Georgian hospitality impressed us every day anew, the food was (almost always) excellent, and the culture of the country is absolutely fascinating. If you’re looking for a real adventure by bike, you’ll definitely find it in the mountains of Georgia.
Jens – Montafon Mountain Bike Marathon
One of my bike highlights this year was the M3 Montafon Mountain Bike Marathon in Vorarlberg, which I travelled to with my colleagues Alex and Rubens. Alex and I did the big lap of 130 kilometres with 4500 metres of altitude difference, Rubens did his very first MTB marathon and therefore rode the shorter distance. I took my lightweight 29er hardtail because I wanted to save every gram on such a climbing-intensive course. The bike was fantastic uphill, but I didn’t appreciate all the full sussers rushing past me on the downhill sections – next time I’ll line up with the full-sus bike! The race itself was great and took us through the incredible scenery. Despite the very-reasonable entry price, the service was top quality. For example, you could even get supplies at the food stations as you cycle, so there was no need to stop and dismount. We were so well-fed that even the thunderstorm at 2000 metres, with a sharp drop in temperature, could not stop me riding. I lost Alex at some point on the second mountain; he was probably still feeling the Swiss Epic in his legs. Rubens finished his race despite a crash and is already impatient for the next event – just like me!
Alex – Biking with Hans “No Way” Rey
As the individual responsible for buying bikes at Internetstores, I’m busy all year round with the latest and coolest stuff. I often see the new gear and bikes many months in advance of them appearing on our site. Business trips to the trade fairs in Taipei or Taichung are just as much a part of this as appointments directly with our major brands. So am I riding all the time, on the newest bikes? Well, unfortunately, no. But we new BikeBiz types do take every opportunity we get to hit the trails. At the end of the summer in Austria, we attended the presentation of the 2020 Cannondale and GT models and were well compensated for our journey. My colleagues and I had a lot of fun, not only on the trails in Alpbach, but with our tour guide, a real MTB legend: Trial icon and freeride veteran Hans ‘No Way’ Rey himself showed us the freshest trails and fastest lines. Cool trails, a bit of competition among colleagues and a chance to shred with Hans Rey – that was definitely my bike highlight of 2019!
Svenja – MTB in the Fichtelgebirge
Riding trails is fun whether you’re a complete amateur or a pro with all the skills, but turning up to work as an Internetstores employee with broken bones is definitely not part of my plan or that of my bosses…so I’m always down to improve my bike handling skills with some expert guidance. I was able to do this training in the Fichtelgebirge Mountains, spending a weekend riding the singletrack around Ochsenkopf. The mountain offers everything from rock gardens near the summit, freeride trails with meadows and gnarly forest sections and even North-Shore style platforms towards the foot. I’m not a massive fan of lifts, so I rode to the top using the enduro trail that runs over the Schneeberg towards the Fichtelsee (via some downhill sections). To top it all off, the Fichtelgebirge is home to the world’s best Double Beef Blue Cheese Burger.
Alex – Atlas Mountain Race
Resolutions are one of those things that can end up being all talk. Normally, instead of resolutions, I try to avoid the things that have slowed me down over the past year. This means I can dream of great adventures and avoid the obstacles that would normally stop me from seeing them through. Using this method, I decided to register for the Atlas Mountain Race on a whim and worry about the consequences later! After a lot of action on the bike last year, this is my first foray into the world of self-supported bikepacking races. I’m excited and worried at the same time, but I can’t wait to get to Morocco.
Basti – Play more in the forest
Resolutions? In the past, these plans have often been shelved, usually by February at the latest. But in 2020 there’s a more modest reason to show a bit more self-organisation and discipline than before – a very selfish reason: just to find some regular cycling time! Great leaps in performance? Ambitious racing plans? No way! Just playing in the forest is enough for me. A full-time job with commuting costs and the as-yet-undetermined demands of a new family member need to be balanced with some quality time on the bike. My plan is quite simple: “Ride any local trail, as and when you can get it! In fog, in the rain, at sunrise or with the last light of day.” The forest is ALWAYS beautiful, whatever the weather or time. And often enough it’s the non-perfect conditions that create a special kind of trail magic.
Julia – A full Diary
What will the new year bring? I already have a few events in my calendar – among them the “Prudential Ride London”, a 100-mile race in and around London, the “Pretzel Race” here in Stuttgart, the “Münsterland Giro” and the “VELOFONDO 24h-Race” in autumn. Maybe one or two more bike races will be added, perhaps another 300-kilometre race? Then there will also be a triathlon – and a couple of middle-distance events. Since I now own a gravel bike as well, maybe I’ll find time to participate in the GRAVEL FONDO in 2020. These sportive events are the highlights of my year; they’re like short holidays (even if that sounds strange!) because they allow a balance between everyday life and work commitments. Naturally, the races are only possible if you stay healthy and free of injuries. So I’ll continue to pay close attention to my nutrition, conditioning and recovery. I’m really looking forward to the new year!
Madeleine – Out of the comfort zone
I associate cycling with freedom – but also with getting out of my comfort zone and continually setting myself new goals. I want to keep both of these in 2020 without losing the joy of riding. I’ve doubled the kilometres I’ve ridden so far, ending 2019 with 5232km. Nevertheless, I wasn’t satisfied with my performance in the mountains. Next year I’d like to train more purposefully, especially to master steep climbs. I’ve done courses before, but also want to take part in some more MTB technique training to get more confidence on the trails and to be able to keep up with the men in CX races.
Joanna – Bikepacking in New Zealand
New Zealand has always been at the top of the list of destinations that I wanted to experience on a bike – and in January 2020 this dream has come true! Picture unspoiled nature, free from mass tourism, fjords full of penguins and seals, geysers of turquoise water and endless beaches. Green valleys, glaciers and mountains hide thousands of trails just waiting to be explored by bike.
My rough plan will be to cycle from Auckland to Queenstown, spending as much time off-road as possible. Preparation for this trip has taken me about four months: I first had to get a rough route plan, then put together the equipment (for this tour I’m using an ultralight bikepacking setup), before reading up on the old Maori legends so I could truly appreciate my surroundings.
On the North Island, I’ll cross the volcanically-active regions of Taupo and Rotorua. I can’t wait to ride the Te Ara Ahi; a 50-kilometre trail which ends with a swim in the river that rises from the thermal spring. A pretty good reward in my opinion! I also have very high expectations for the Timber Trail in the Purorea Forest, where there will be ancient trees like Rimu and Totara as well as suspension bridges to admire.
The highlight on the South Island will be the Queen Charlotte Track, the oldest trail in the area with breathtaking views over Marlborough Sound. Afterwards, I’ll push my limits on the Alps-to-Ocean Trail, a 300-kilometre long trail from Mount Cook to the Pacific Ocean. And no visit to New Zealand would be complete without a visit to Milford Sound with its majestic fjords.
2000-kilometres on the bike in one month is pretty ambitious – all the more so because I’ll be travelling alone. But who said it’d be easy?