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Spezi 2013

Spezi is the "Spezialrad Messe" the Special Bike Show, held every year in the small town of Germersheim on the Rhine near Karlsruhe. It is a feast of fun for anybody interested in the more innovative aspects of bicycle technology. We travelled on two tandems; we rode, we ate, we bathed and the weather was beautiful until we were close to our destination. We crossed three ranges of hills, the Eifel, the Hunsruck and the Pfalzer Wald. Much of the route can be covered on dedicated cycle ways and the the gradients are mostly steady. The winter this year was long and hard even in the Pfalz, which is a fertile vegetable growing area, so the normal fields of asparagus and lettuce were still bare and brown.

We had some odd encounters on the way. At Liege Guillemins station, itself an engineering masterpiece, we had our first encounter with the Douze, a new freight bike made in Belgium. And then at our first campsite we met a lovely Dutch girl touring on her recumbent with her dog.

The show was great, plenty to see and lots to ride. I have a new favourite bike, the Flux S800, and there were Velomobiles and tandems galore. The biggest shock I had was when I looked in the show guide and saw that someone was manufacturing velomobiles in Barnet. The mosquito velomobile is made by two brothers from France, one of them indeed living in Barnet where he works as a designer and craftsman. Almost every part of it is hand made including the cranks and the carbon fibre tubes. He even weaves his own carbon - he is a textile engineer "it ees eeasy for me!"