Monday, July 30, 2012

Only the name has changed...

As part of my rebranding campaign (after consultation with my PR team), the name of the project and thus several of the links have changed.

BikeSurfBerlin still offers you the smooth, refreshing taste ;-) but is now the name is more easily remembered and is future-proof ie it allows the project to easily expand to other cities eg BikeSurfRome.

Please update your links - sorry for any inconvenience or trauma caused.

Logo Competition Time!

Hear ye, hear ye, I hereby announce the competition to design the best logo for this project.

John needs the help of all established and aspiring graphic artists, photographers, painters, typographers; essentially all arty types ;-)

Please submit your entry as follows (NB: you can enter as many designs/logos as you like):

  • format: .png .pdf .jpg .tiff
  • email subject heading "LOGO"
  • in print quality
  • before 16th August 2012
  • to the following email address:
The winning design will be announced on the 20th August 2012. Viel spass! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Day in the Life....

90 minutes of bike maintenance, 3 pickups planned, visit to KOPI 137 for spare parts, internet request to process - all in a day's work for me. Any assistance you may be able to offer would be greatly appreciated. No skills required! And now to daydream of bicycle heaven....(*sigh*)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A special kind of feeling

Cycling about mitte today, when I caught a streak of green out of my peripheral vision.
It's a special kind of green that is unmistakably Claudia.
The pursuit was on....
And then I saw that her brother Bavaia was with her, frolicking about on this sun-drenched day, with nerry a care in the world.
I introduced myself to the riders and we talked a bit at the next lights.
Then, as so often is the way with spontaneous moments, we parted ways.
Totally amazed to catch two of my bikes gallivanting about Berlin; still got the grin on my face to prove it.

All Bike Calendars on the one sheet

Due to popular demand, I have amalgamated all the bike calendars into one calendar, so that you can all see when you can book a bike, without the need to open up the individual calendars.
See link on the top of this page entitled "All Bike Calendars".

If all the colours send you into some sort of hypnotic trance or you think that it looks a bit complicated, then the more sombre individual bike calendars are still accessible too on the right hand side of page under the imaginative title "Calendars".

Hope this makes the choosing of the available dates easier.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fill the form and ride!

I'm receiving support for this project from lots of people. This time Andrew has prepared an online form to make my life easier! I'm starting to have a big fleet and it's getting more difficult to handle! So, if you wanna ride one of my bikes, you just need to check the calendars (right column) and fill the form! See you around!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Now you can find me on Twitter!

I was talking about it with some friends and eventually decided to open my Twitter account. So, if you are using twitter, it's time to follow me! @bikesurfing

Sunday, July 22, 2012

One more bike added to our fleet

"California" was in a bit of pain as she arrived at the BikeSurf residence yesterday afternoon - partly from having a flat tyre and a bit of rust, but mainly from having been towed for 15 km with the flat tyre. Poor California.

But she's not shaken. Her luscious purple mane stands strong before any rust; no orange fleck of any size or shape can dismay her! Her wheels stand proud and inviting (and no longer flat) like two great, round eyes ready to wink at any CSer passing by. She is ready, citizens of the CouchSurfing world, to help you discover Berlin!

Take her for a ride for free by requesting here!

Check availability here

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weekend trip to Usedom. Day 3. Military Restricted Area - Anklam

Third and last day of the trip. Some hangovered faces show up in the morning. Everybody knows what cheap whisky means. We reflect on that. We try to find an answer.

Life is beautiful, the sun is almost shining. Our bikes are too dirty. We will reach Usedom soon, unless we start having punctures and breaking our bikes' chains.

Well, we finally manage to cycle more than 10 km. without incedentes, until we find The Beach.

At some point, mostly when it started raining we leave the beach and keep going North. Just heading to the storm I would say.

At some point we realize that we are tired and hungry, we also find a train station and a train is going back home in 15 minutes! Oh! we didn't reach Usedom, but the weekend was pleasant enough and as someone said "The journey is the destination". So we try to find something to eat in town on a sunday afternoon. Seems kinda impossible in Anklam. Let's go back to Berlin! Where you can buy Döner in every corner and the sun is always shining! </irony>

Weekend trip to Usedom. Day 2. Somewhere - Military Restricted Area

On second day (Saturday) we fucking cycled 136 kms. New record for 60% of the group members and the reason why at least 20% of the legs still hurt.
As in every group formed by 5 guys, the day started with fights about size:

- Mine is bigger!
- No way! look at this.
- Uh. Yours is huge, can I touch it?

Spiders in this case, but we definitely need some women next time. Just in case.

We had a wonderful breakfast in a picnic table that we found next to where we had been sleeping. All kind of stuff, including peanut butter (yes, there was a guy from the States in the group. Peanut butter proves it), vegetarian burritos, cheese, etc...

With some delay, we started cycling direction North. The first half of the day was too wet. Football socks can become fucking heavy in this circumstances. Fortunately there is always a Netto, Penny or Lidl where you can buy socks. Yes, advertisement for free! You can complain in the comments below. At some point we stopped under a bridge to dry, change, eat and drink. Someone suggested to sleep under a bridge at night. I thought about myself sending an sms to my mother: "Mom, everything is going well in Germany. I'm sleeping under a bridge, but hopefully tomorrow will get better".


(The two guys on the right aren't family)

Well, at some point the weather improved and we had a very pleasant tour. Everything was working cool. We checked the map and found a big forest perfect for finding a good camping spot. Just the small detail that, as we discovered there, it was a military restricted area, where none of us was planning to spend the night. So, we kept pedaling, broke the distance record and finally crossed the forest. First path we saw into some trees we followed and finally found an acceptable camping spot. We could see a couple of houses in the distance, but we were protected enough.

We put the tents on, changed some clothes and started with dinner. Some hot soup, bread, cheese, sausages, peanuts... and for dessert: the cheapest whisky you can probably find. It was kind of undrinkable until we mixed it with 2 lemons. But it became awesome after adding clove and warming it up!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weekend trip to Usedom. Day 1. Berlin - Somewhere

Beginning of the day. Weather is shitty, but the A team members are reliable and we are on time. We can finish the last details and check our equipment. The bikes could be in better conditions, but being their first trip, I'm sure it could be worst. Scheduled departure time 15:30. Real departure 15:22. Fucking impressive: we are more germans than the germans.

We have a small incident crossing a wet wooden bridge, luckily nothing serious. And we take the chance to leave a message for Team B.

We also get lost a couple times, even when we have a map, a compass and at least one smartphone. Signs could be better someone says.

It's much worse in our countries the other replies. Both are too right to discuss and we keep cycling. Mudguards prove to be a nice extra in any bike, we agree on that.

We are already late in our schedule, but the essential delay happens when we end up in a medieval wedding next to Marianenwelde testing our aim with bow and arrows and talking to the groom's daughter.

It's a pity she doesn't want to camp with us. There is also a gentleman that serves us honeywine in really big glasses, medieval weddings are awesome.

Before we are to drunk to shoot or drive, half of the B team arrives and updates us about his journey. The rest of the team will arrive earlier than expected. They are the pros.
At some point our glasses are empty and there is no daylight anymore. Seems like a good time for finding a spot to camp, the second attempt is good and after setting our tents up, we start snoring. Hopefully, with a smart tent distribution and supported by earplugs, everybody slept well.

Monday, July 16, 2012

GPS technology

Here is another perspective of the weekend to the Ostsee, with our GPS mapped and everything!

What all this bike touring has to do with bikesurfing, I have no idea. In my defense, it shows just how much fun cycling about and away from Berlin can be.

Will not be lazy and will update blog with pics and a story or two from the trip :-)

In search of adventure up north.

Two of the posse on our trip to Usedom at the start of our voyage north from Berlin, in what would turn out to be a wonderful and event-filled weekend of biking, camping, archery, honigwein, medieval wedding, fortunate circumstances and mishaps but with no epic fails!
Tired now, will post more details on the morrow, good sirs.
Stay tuned to this channel for this tale of high adventure in a rain-swept land.

Friday, July 13, 2012

John goes on a short excursion

Will be heading off to Insel Usedom for the weekend, naturally enough with my bike. Email correspondence for those requesting bikes will resume on my return - Monday 16th.

Thankfully, I have combination locks, which means that bikes will be picked up as normal at weekend! The bikes are self-organising... Well, not quite... Yet ;-)

Don't miss me too much.

Spread word of the project to far flung lands :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Karma Rules!

Do you know what Karma is? For different perspectives you can check the Wikipedia definition, watch My name is Earl, or read this post.

For me, Karma means that when you do good things, these things come back to you. And the same when you are an idiot. I don't see it from a super phylosophical point of view, for me is probably simpler. It's just that when you are nice, people tend to be nice with you. And this is what happened yesterday.

I went to Friedrichshain to collect an old bike from a Couch Surfer. The frame is broken, but most of the other parts are in very good condition, so I will find the way to use them. I was talking with Sam (the CSer) and he told me we are going in a bike trip together this weekend. Wow, I didn't know it was you, blablabla.. :) At the end Sam gave me his old panniers (I had to buy ones for this weekend) and I came back home happily with the old bike and my new-old panniers.

When I was back home, Sqgl (another CSer) came. He had to give me a bike back, and he wanted to have a talk and a drink. So we went to a bar next to my place, had two beers and a cool chat. We meet another CSer that just brought another bike back and a Sqgl's friend. At the end, a very nice almost spontaneous meeting.

When I came back home, I got a message and I was invited for dinner!! Daya (my new indian friend) wanted to cook for me and some friends, because he wants to borrow a bike in the future: Excellent food, nice talks, some beers more and then back home.

At the end of the day, John Black got new-old panniers, some beers and excellent Indian food. And even mor important, a nice day surrounded by nice people. Maybe this is Karma.

And it is not that I lend my bikes to the world for having something in exchange, but in days like yesterday, it just feels really cool to give and to receive.

JB loves you, you love JB ;)

Monday, July 9, 2012

All is going according to plan.

Now that the combination locks have been introduced, I have been under less pressure to cycle back to the house to make meeting with the CouchSurfer who has requested the bike. The system is becoming a bit more streamlined from a logistical point of view.
Zum Beispiel: Take today, three bike collections but a very personally a busy day. Previously, this would have caused:
a) me ; stress, to be back in time for every pick up
b) me ; more stress, as I waited for people to show up - ongoing problem of punctuality in these pick-ups
c) possibly fewer bikesurfed days; if I was unable to co-ordinate a mutually suitable time for pick-up
d) the Couchsurfer ; inconvenience having to show up at a certain time

Did not have to be here for any pick-ups, just let them know where the bikes would be, the combination on the locks and what the bikes looked like and BINGO! all collected when I returned home this evening.

Also got the promise of two more bikes joining the system in the coming weeks.... always helps when I get this type of tangible encouragement :-)


Sunday, July 8, 2012

My list of demands ;-)

OK here's the latest on what you guys can do for me to help my project succeed and grow:

1) Introduced the combination lock system --> this means I am looking for some hof or backyard that is accessible to public 24 hours a day, in Kreuzberg/ Kreuzkolln area, and ideally offers some shelter from the rain... why? I don't want to the leave my bikes on the street overnight... any suggestions for such a location? Note that there would only be 1-2 bikes there at any one time (ie it does not have to be a huge space) as the turnover of bikes is so fast these days.

2) I need some team-mates to help me co-ordinate the project, as it is getting a bit complicated for me to  handle alone - any takers?

3) Also, to reduce the complexity of the system, I need people who have bikes that can join my "fleet" of bikes, but who are responsible for housing the bikes between pickups and meet the CSer when they are dropping back the bike.

Here's wishing upon a star :-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Just another day at my new office....

12:01am : cycling from Wedding to Neukolln with two bikes (the donated bike has a puncture) - an interesting experience with nearly catastrophic consequences.... don't worry the bikes are safe and gallivanting about Berlin all today.

Bike repairing all morning (not even one of mine!).  This resulted in getting another "fixer-upper" that I plan to use for the project. It is VERY Berlin chic. This was followed by a dropoff, then collection of a bike within 5 min of each other... I love it when a plan comes together. This is the first time that the two parties concerned were punctual and it works splendidly;-) The general lack of punctuality of other people who have requested bikes has caused me more stress than anything else.

However, the combination locks have been introduced today. Once I sort out the logistics of this system, it should prove more efficient.... Famous last words...

And the skewers arrived too...

These are "ant-theft" skewers to replace the quick release components on those bikes in the project.
Quick release components (wheels, saddle post) are an invitation to bike thieves as they can be removed without tools in seconds.

New combination locks have arrived!!!

 Some of the locks just arrived today.....

The reasons for choosing a combination lock for this project:
  1. Convenience for the surfer and I --> I do not have to co-ordinate times of pickup and dropoff of bikes - just inform the surfer of the location and combination of lock
  2. Combination lock - no need to worry about lost keys from those who surf our bikes
The reasons for choosing this particular lock:
  1. Combination can be altered - reduces risk of theft 
  2. Key can be used also instead of combination
  3. Security level 8 - ok for daytime in a major city
  4. Value for money - 37€ each

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I just delivered a bike

Here I am.

I keep building this karma empire. Sharing my bikes with the Couch Surfing users that visit berlin. Here you will find more info about everything connected to my bikes, and if I have something to say about the world, why not? :D

Right now I just delivered one bike to a new friend and I'm happy to see how happy people leave my place with their bike. This is my small contribution to the world.

We have moved to a new website

Hold onto your hats, folks, its time we got our own brand new website. Please update your bookmarks or how you link with us to: