Back in 2006 I (Flo) headed off on my first big journey by bike: from Budapest to Istanbul. Equipped with my old mountain bike from my teenage years (which had just one working brake and 8 dodgy gears) and a totally insufficient sleeping bag I rode 2700km through Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to Istanbul. I had no idea about what incredible nature and beauty I would encounter, the landscapes I would ride through, and I was definitely not prepared for all the friendliness and hospitality I’d experience along the way. This trip changed my thinking and, in the end, the course of my life.
In the very same year I met Phillip, a fellow design student at the FH Potsdam, who had recently discovered the joys of travelling by bike too – he had just got back from a 3700km cycle tour between Malaga and Berlin; we were both heavily infected with the travel bug and seriously hooked on the cycle-of-wanderlust.
Soon we made plans for the next trip, and just a few months after we first met, we were back in the saddle exploring the beautiful shorelines of the Mare Balticum: riding from Berlin through Poland, Kaliningrad, Riga, Tallinn, St. Petersburg to Helsinki and back to Berlin. The foundation of our friendship was well and truly established on this Eastern European journey and in the following years we shared more and more kilometres together. All the hours and 30,000km+ in the saddle on all these tours meant that we had a lot of time to think about what could be done better, both in terms of touring bikes and our touring equipment, and everything we believed could be improved we tried to make work better. Our understanding of bikes grew over the years and we constantly improved our own setups up to one final barrier: the bike frame. The frame always remained a given part that we had to choose from what was on the market, but often, the production frames were still not quite what we were searching for: light and fast, but still robust and reliable touring frames.
As a result, Flo immersed himself deeper into his research and after a while the first vision of what was to become our signature ‘Chacha’ frame began its journey. He took the best of what the ingenious French frame builders like René Herse and Alex Singer had developed over 5 decades ago and integrated his own modern touches, to satisfy the demands of real world adventure cycling today. Then, as fate sometimes dictates, he stumbled into a bicycle frame builder from Potsdam who was about to shut his business down and who sold all his tools to him. Flo seized this chance and opened his first workshop in Leipzig, busying himself learning the secrets and techniques of frame building…