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The Supercommuter

30,000 kilometres: that’s the distance Pierre Lars Zander covered with the compact, reliable and robust Tinker within one year. At this rate, he will have cycled far enough to have circumnavigated the world by January 2021.

The 56-year-old master electrician Pierre Lars Zander commutes from Frankfurt am Main to his workplace in Wiesbaden. That makes around 90 kilometres covered a day, and on three days a week, he also travels from Frankfurt to Mannheim. Such long distances really add up. As of October 2020, that makes exactly 32,464 kilometres, almost the distance needed to circumnavigate the globe in a straight line.

Mileage on 14 September 2020.

The COVID boost

On his Tinker in “orange metallic” with its matching, self-adapted top box secured with a lashing strap on the carrier attachment, Pierre Lars Zander makes a striking appearance on the cycling path. You wouldn’t think of him as the Supercommuter at first glance. But if you look more closely, you notice his weathered-tanned face. And his calm, stoic pedalling that has supplanted walking as his natural form of movement.

“COVID most certainly did play a role in why I’ve been cycling so much”, the E-Biker concedes. “I really enjoyed getting exercise in the fresh air and not being dependent on public transport. This seems to have added up to a few more kilometres than usual.”

The Tinker: “Compact, robust and high-quality.”

At the start of the 2020 model year, the cycling aficionado Pierre Lars Zander opted for the Tinker vario from Riese & Müller, with its Cargo carrier and 500 Wh battery. He also always carries two extra 500 Wh batteries in his orange top box. “The bike is compact and I can also pick it up.” This way, he can also take it with him on the train. Nonetheless, it is very robust, made to a high standard and well-equipped. This is paying off: despite the considerable mileage, there have been no defects to speak of. Only components that wear – such as the brake pads – have had to be replaced. Another reason to opt for the compact bike lies in the cycling infrastructure: “My favourite route to Mannheim is blocked by bollards in some places. Improvements are needed here, especially for cargo bikes or large trailers.”

The technically skilled E-Bike enthusiast of course knows how to maintain and care for his Tinker. He knows how to get the most out of the components. He says simple, practical action is often all that's needed. For example, he recommends always keeping the Gates belt tensioned. This prevents wear to the belt teeth. He also suggests applying a bit of water to the belt to get it flexible again when dust makes it creak on dry days.

Driven by inner calm

When asked how he got into cycling, he grins. “I learned to cycle on my grandmother’s bike. Balancing on it came automatically, because you need quite a bit of starting momentum to get such a huge bike moving. Besides that, I was overweight as a child. By the time I turned 12, I weighed 104 kilos. Once I reached puberty, I started exercising a lot, and cycling was my activity of choice.” That hasn’t changed. At the age of 18, he discovered the pleasure of long cycling tours. “They really help me unwind. And with an E-Bike, it’s even easier. I manage to concentrate wholeheartedly on nature.”

The Supercommuter’s longest tour so far hasn’t even been a commute. It was an outing from Frankfurt am Main to Strasbourg, France – in one and a half days, along 460 “leisurely cycled” kilometres. The only reason he took accommodation was to charge his batteries.