12th June 1817 – Two hundred and four years ago Karl Drais took the prototype of his two wheeled running machine, later models where called LODA, out for a test ride on Badens best road. This is a very important date, because it’s the first documented ride on a precursor of the bicycle as we know it today.

And Karl Drais delivered some decent numbers right away.
The test ride started at Karl Drais’ home in Mannheim, went along Baden’s best road, that was build for the carriages of the Grand Duke of Baden, to a relais station for horse drawn carriages that was located half way to Schwetzingen and then went all the way back to Mannheim. He managed to ride the distance of round about 14,5 km in more or less than one hour, which would be an average speed of 15 km/h.
This average speed did not only beat the local postal service, it still is the estimated speed and time for this route on Google Maps up to this day.

I tried to mark the route Karl Drais took that day on Google Maps, as shown on the picture below. The relais station doesn’t exist anymore and I wasn’t able to spot the exact location.
However, the spot I marked lies on the street called “Relaisstraße” and it’s close to the former location of the “Stengelhof”, a restaurant that was located on the same property as the relais station and which is a retirement home today. The distance also fits pretty well in my opinion, so even if it may not be scientifically correct, it should give a nice impression of where Karl Drais chose to ride on that specific day.

As you can see, Google Maps estimates the time on a bicycle for that route on round about 30 minutes, which would be one hour for both ways.
Karl Drais did not only beat the local postal service on the 12th June 1817, he did even match the estimated time for that route more than two hundred years later.
That shows just how well the wooden prototype of Karl Drais two wheeled running machine performed on its first documented test ride.


-Dennis

What’s so special about winter? What are people looking forward to when winter time is around the door? Are they excited about the scenic mountain views, they see in the movies? Spending the evening in front of a cozy chimney, drinking hot chocolates and watching some of those scenic mountain view movies?

Being a Dortmund native, I mostly consider winter as the cold, dark, wet and grey time of year. Winter is dirty and ugly. The closest scenic mountain view is 750km away (42hrs on a bicycle and a horrific climb to the finish line, I checked that…). The coziest chimney feeling comes up, whenever someone in the neighborhood decides to burn rotten wood outside in a fire bowl and last but not least, there’s no such thing as snow in Dortmund. There’s just grey and yellow mud. Winter is a nightmare in Dortmund, trust me!

However, I still needed to take some nice winter pictures for the seasonal content page on this website. So, when the weather forecast predicted snowfall in Dortmund a few days ago, I knew I had to come up with a plan to make the most of it. It was supposed to snow in the middle of the night, so the plan was pretty simple. Get…out…of…bed…early. That was it!

And guess what, it worked! I found myself outside, slipping through real, brand new snow in my not so brand new sneakers at around 9 am. It didn’t get any earlier on a sunday morning, but it was early enough. I was pretty much the only person outside. It was just me, my camera and the vehicles of the city road service, dashing through the snow in a hurry.

I knew where I wanted to go, so I fought my way through tons of snow, covering the sidewalks and finally arrived at my destination for the day, the campus of the university. I was lucky to discover some nice spots, took a few shots on my camera and got back home at around twelve. Two hours later everything was gone. Five hours of snow, that is all the winter wonderland Dortmund has to offer. But I still had the pictures on my camera as a prove, that there really was actual snow in Dortmund…

-Dennis

Visit the seasonal content page on my website for more winter pictures from that day:

Seasonal Content on DennisTheCyclist

Some time ago I went through all the dusted old stuff that I once put into the attic, because it was to good to be thrown away … you know what I’m talking about, right? It’s like a huge flea market, just with your own stuff.

This time I rediscovered two boxes filled to the top with … LEGO bricks!

Two boxes with single stones and plates of every color and size. I knew one thing right away … I needed to build something.

At that time, I’ve been awaiting spare parts for the Viny Solo singlespeed conversion I was writing about some time ago (read the blogpost right here). The weather was bad and I had some spare time, so I decided to empty out the content of the two boxes right down on the floor and started looking through tons of LEGO bricks.

Some people might not understand this, but when there’s only cycling related topics inside of your head, there’s just one thing that I had to find out: Is it possible to mount LEGO stones to a bicycle frame?

Well, the answer is … Yes, it is possible!

And before the day ended, I found myself looking at the prototype of my new bicycle bottle holder, complete build with LEGO stones. In case you might want to know more about it, here’s a short video about the prototype of my bicycle bottle holder:

The process of building something that only exists as a picture in your head, is tougher than it sounds. What you’re looking at right here, is probably the third or fourth version of the bicycle bottle holder, but the first one, that I thought was okay.

After hours of work inside of my private bicycle laboratory, it was about time for the first official test under real conditions. An empty parking lot on a sunday morning was the best location I could possibly find for this purpose.

I mounted the bottle holder to the frame and the test started. A few laps around the parking lot proved, that the bottle holder worked just fine at average speed and without hitting huge bumps and potholes. The bottle seemed a bit loose and moved around quite a lot inside of the holder, but as long as everything stayed where it was supposed to be, I was okay with that.

Then it was time for the ultimate test : Will the bicycle bottle holder survive a ride over potholes at average speed?

Well, the answer was NO …

Right at the second pothole, the bottom plate of the bottle holder broke and the holder itself slipped down the frame to get stuck between the frame and the big chain ring. However, it still hold on to the bottle and prevented it from falling to the ground. That counts as a success, right?

Of course I’m just joking around. The test was a failure. The bicycle bottle holder could not live up to its purpose, though it didn’t went as bad as I imagined. Before the test, I imagined dozens of tiny LEGO bricks flying through the air, spreading all around the parking lot, the water bottle smashing on the ground and my bicycle slipping out on the wet surface, resulting in a huge crash for me.

Luckily, that didn’t happen. One single LEGO brick broke of the bottom plate and landed on the ground, the rest of the prototype got stuck between the frame and didn’t touch the ground at all.

So, after all, what’s the result of the first test?

I think, the prototype of the bicycle bottle holder ain’t as bad as I thought it might be. It’s able to hold a filled water bottle on a road without potholes. That’s a good result, I think.

However, the test proved that the bottom plate is too weak to survive big hits like potholes or curbs. That’s something I have to work on for the next prototype.

Yes, you heard right … I’m not done yet, I will be back with a second prototype and it will be awesome …


If you’d like to find out more about the first test of the bicycle bottle holder, here’s the full video about it:

Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments below. I appreciate every feedback and / or reply to my posts.

Thanks for reading, watching and replying!

-Dennis

Yes, it’s true. The pizza saddle is history. It’s gone, spending its days chilling on top of the desk inside of the garage until there’s a new purpose for it.

It was a necessary change, although it really had a chance, a good chance, maybe even more than one chance, because I’ve always been a die-hard fan of it. I first saw it somewhere on the internet, five years ago maybe, and instantly decided I had to own it. I mean, it’s a pizza saddle, how much cooler can a saddle possibly look? Yeah, it’s not possible…

I felt confirmed, when I saw the saddle in real life mounted on the old bmx of mine. That really was a classy combination, style for miles … unfortunately contrary to my bmx skills …

The pizza saddle went into its first retirement, when I realised, that I didn’t had what it takes to be anything near good on a bmx. I bought my first roadbike and the pizza saddle spent its days covered in dust leaning against the wall inside of the garage.

A few months ago the saddle was reactivated, dusted off, cleaned and brought back to life, when I started to customize my everyday roadbike ( if you “missed” the story, there’s a chance for you to catch up with it right here and here ).

The saddle still looked classy, upgraded the roadbike from the first moment on and I instantly knew why I decided to buy it a few years ago.

Then I rode more than 25 km on the customized roadbike. That was the exact moment I learned the reason, why you shouldn’t ride a saddle, even a pizza saddle, that is mounted with one huge screw right down through the middle of the saddle into the seat post on a roadbike. It was a painful lesson, but I learned from this mistake …

This blogpost is dedicated to the one and only pizza saddle. Its freshness and style will always be remembered. I’m sure there will be a next purpose for the classiest saddle in the game soon…

-Dennis

Maybe you heard it (and watched it already!), maybe it’s breaking news for you: I started my own YouTube channel.

YouTube is a great platform to share my “everday” bicycle life with everyone around the world and thus, reach even more people than I do already through my blog. I’ve always been interested in making videos about cycling, but I only did short clips for social media and stuff like this.

Most of the videos so far are short three or four minute videos, about my favorite roadbike spots in Dortmund. I’m spending a lot of time everyday working on new ideas for upcoming videos and at the same time, I’m learning a lot of new things with every published video, for example I would’ve never thought I’d catch myself talking in front of a camera.

Right now though, my channel is as small as it could possibly be and I’m struggling to reach barely anyone at all. I know there’s small progress already, I can see it in the data – which is ablsoutely awesome in YouTube Studios by the way – but just like starting up this blog three years ago, starting something new always take time. Trust me when I say, that this was a tough lesson … again …

But I don’t let small numbers discourage me from sharing my bicycle life. After all, this is a free time activity, it’s my hobby, it’s part of my recreation, if you want to call it like this. I don’t necessarily need to be successful in order to have fun. But of course, I do like to get a bit of approval from time to time, you know…

So, what I’m trying to say is: If you’re into watching videos about cycling and you’ve got a spare minute or two or three left to spend, I would appreciate it a lot, if you would check out my YouTube channel:

Hope you enjoy watching this video!

-Dennis