Freer and more flexible than with a Golf GTI
Felix, is a photographer, model and road cyclist. With 26,000 training kilometers, he creates a realistic picture of our society and mobility in Europe and Africa.
Hey Felix, who are you, what do you do?
I am a trained banker and business data processing specialist. But employment is not for me. That's why I work freelance as a fashion photographer and model - I'm also a passionate road cyclist.
A passionate road cyclist - Isn't that everyone these days?
Hahaha, yes you're right, since the pandemic, it feels like twice as many people ride bikes - as the market shows. It's still very hard to get bikes or parts that are in demand. I've been riding road bikes since I was a kid. In the summer vacations, we often went to Alpes d'Huez for the Tour de France, and that's when I got hooked. I rode in the club for many years, accompanied the Tour du Sénégal as a mechanic for Embrace The World, or races in Congo and Kenya.
What did you learn there?
That being a bike mechanic in professional sports is a tough job. But it was good to try it out. The NGO tours enable riders in Eritrea or Kenya to climb the ladder into new worlds of life. With the equivalent of 3,000 euros in tour pay, they can really make something for themselves. For the Europeans traveling with them, it's good training - and a real cultural exchange.
That means you're a professional?
I might have been. I was out for a few years, partying, modeling, enjoying life. When you get out of this sport at 18, it's hard to make up for it. I modeled in Australia for a while. There I raced against pros like Caleb Ewan, Chris Sutton or Cadel Evans. Today I train a lot in Mallorca - about 26,000 kilometers a year.
Do you only ride road bikes?
No, I ride an old Kettler aluminum from my father. I had so many bikes stolen in Hamburg that I ended up choosing a worthless everyday bike. For larger set-ups and shoots, I take my old VW-Vento. But I only fill it up every six to eight weeks.
What's your connection to muli?
The connection came through Tim Kaiser, I share a studio with him where I run my analog photo lab among other things. Tim has been working with muli for a while and just did the new photos for the website. The studio was full of mulis for weeks, I like the bikes and what's behind them. When Tim hit me up for a shoot, I was happy to say yes.
Do you believe in the mobility revolution?
I live right on Stephansplatz - on one of Hamburg's main arterial roads. It's unbearable in the summer when the AMG drivers let their exhausts bang at night. It's unbelievable how much space we give up for cars in our society that just stand around. But yes, things are changing. With e-mobility and rising fuel prices, people are rethinking. I myself wrote a bachelor's thesis on mobility solutions using sharing. In cities like Helsinki, it has been possible to combine all transport options in an app in such a way that I can decide on the fastest, most sustainable or cheapest route with just one click. That's where we need to go.
How do we get there?
Automatically. When I was little, it was important for the big boys to drive Golf GTIs, to have lots of horsepower under the hood. Now we're big ourselves, some of us have good jobs, and we could buy big or comfortable cars. But we don't. It is a much greater luxury to be able to move freely and flexibly. The car has had its day as a status symbol in Europe. Cities are becoming quieter and more livable. I believe that.
Is the car only obsolete in Europe?
As a status symbol, yes, at least that's how it feels here in the West. In China, where a large middle class is growing up, cars are being bought en masse. And in mud hut settlements in Kenya, I learned that if you have money, you buy a bicycle. Those with more money buy a moped, and those with even more money buy a car. That is also understandable. Fortunately, material possessions are playing an increasingly minor role in my environment.
But the Vento remains?
Yes, I tried sharing services for a while - but the opportunity costs are high when you're gondolaing around a lot of equipment. The mobility mix is what matters. I use my bikes almost exclusively. Driving the old Vento until it can't anymore - that's also sustainable.
Your ideas for an even faster traffic turnaround?
1 euro commuter tax for bicycles. And someone has to take the key away from the AMG bangers.
Thanks for the interview!
In addition to his work as a photographer and model, Felix runs the analog film lab SPIEKER Film Lab. spiekerfilmlab.de | instagram.com/spiekerfilmlab/