mayabout myself and the development of the Monowalker trailer range:
My wife and I wanted to spend a week in the Swiss mountains, only the two of us without the kids—a dream that we have had for a long time now. We planned on hiking along the Aletsch Glacier (Switzerland) in order to be exposed to the enormous river of ice.
My wife and I were eager to experience pure nature, sleep in a tent, carry our food with us, cook in the evenings and just leave civilisation behind. Physically, my wife is not able to carry all of the equipment, which consists of a sleeping mat, a 3-season sleeping bag, a tent, some food, water, and clothing.
So she suggested: “Darling, why don’t you carry it all?”
Of course, this idea sounded crazy at first, but it also motivated me to find a solution for realizing our journey.
My thinking was: I would rather have my mind work a little bit more now than torturing my back by carrying the 61 pound equipment later on. I have always been trying to think of a way that makes it possible to hike through the mountains with my family for days, while also carrying all the equipment necessary to not depend on mountain shelters and guesthouses for sleeping.
In history, many people already demonstrated a solution to carry heavy equipment – by using of donkeys and horses. But in this explicit area where I wanted to hike, even strong animals would have become a problem. There is no use of them as a companion if they need rest after a steep rise or if they are unable to cross uneven ground or icy areas. Now, is it possible to just carry the donkey? No way. Possibly taking the animal on the train or flying to Corsica or the US? Not possible at all. If one travels in winter, the only options for carrying equipment are Pulkas, pulled by snowshoes or skies. One could even use a pack of huskies- if one can handle it- in order to transport equipment through snow covered areas. But now, what about summer tourists?
In everyday life we would push our kids around in buggies or we would pull them on a bike with an attached trailer. Our mobile office finds its place in the trolley. If necessary, even the bicycle trailer leaves enough room for equipment needed for expeditions.
So how come we still carry the hiking equipment on our backs, instead of pulling it? Referring to Harpe Kerkeling’s travel journal, he describes his journey along the Camino de Santiago and often complains about his heavy backpack and this might be a problem that many hikers and pilgrims share.
So now, back to finding a new way of carrying heavy equipment. Just in time, after a week of designing and making , my wife and I were able to start our journey with the prototype of the one-wheeled “hiking trailer.” I had already tested two-wheeled devices before, but I came to the conclusion, that they are useless for narrow trails; two wheels block on uneven ground and also constrain the traveller’s/ hiker’s movements.
Now, the final product of the hiking trailer I had developed back then carried the entire equipment, my wife’s and mine, all packed up in a backpack.
We also were able to fit two sleeping mats and the tent on it. My wife only had to carry a 35 litre backpack with her own clothing. I made sure that there was the option to shoulder all of the equipment, just in case the trailer would break down and so that we could make it to the next cable car. The trip across the Aletsch Glacier became a wonderful and unique experience for both of us. The trailer overcame my expectations.
About the developing/design process:
For the last 4 years, I have been producing the Monowalker hiking trailer in my sparetime. In 2013 I was “only” developing the new Monowalker model range, while working my day job. By now I have developed a very unique range of trailers, which you can use in a variety of situations in daily life. In the following, I want to give you a short overview about my career and my background in the technology field.
Since I have been young , my passion has been cycling and I have had huge interest in bicycle technology. Because it was my passion, I decided to become a bike mechanic. In the last 20 years I have been working in the bicycle business (managing stores) and in the bicycle industry as well (working for bike designers). With the knowledge and expertise I have acquired based on my career in the bicycle industry, I was able to now manage the development and production of the new Monowalker hiking trailer range.
My background in quality controlling for various companies made me become focused on having the best quality for my products. Any one of the Monowalker trailers is of high-end quality. Hubs, handlebar holders, wheel holders and wheel axles are CNC machined and made with a tolerance of 1/10th to 2/100 mm (depending on the part).
Most of the parts are made in Germany, the assembly is done by myself and the wood CNC machine works are made in my hometown in the Black Forest. The platform of the Monowalker is made of aircraft birch plywood and glued with waterproof glue (30 layers veneer on 15 mm). The rear-end tubes and handlebar connecting tubes are made of German Aircraft 7020 aluminum. The handles itself are made of ash tree, steamed and bended by a swiss sledge maker.
Special thanks to Peter Hornung from www.hinterher.com. He produces versatile cargo trailers and has designed an excellent trailer drawbar with a drawbar connector that is free from any backlash (a unique feature in the bicycle trailer business/production). We have the exclusive rights to use this excellent technology for our bicycle- and shopping trailer. The trailer hitches come from www.weber-products.com . This Bavarian company is famous for their trailer hitches that you can find on trailers from Chariot and other brands. We offer these trailer hitches for the bicycle dropout and the seatpost.
I want to thank my Webdesigner Bina-Witte Jekel from http://www.kokole.de/ who is responsible for Webdesign and the Webshop template, designed with Joomla und Virtuemart. and my son Tim who is also helping out with Webdesign. Many thanks for your commitment to make my website and webshop come to life in such a short time. Many thanks also to my daughter Laura, for the English translation on the website.
My experience as Product Manager and Quality Controller in my previous jobs and my skills in Project Management and Solid Works qualify me to produce the Monowalker trailer model range. I have an extensive network of suppliers in the bicycle industry, much experience working as a quality controller, and I can promise you, that you will get the possible design/technology made and developed right here in the Black Forest in Germany.
Below are some stations of my career:
- Quality Controller and Production leader in Taiwan and China for the Mercedes Benz Smart e-bike project
http://www.smart.de/de/de/index/smart-electric-bike.html and Grace e-bike www.grace-bikes.com range, division frame building
- 4 years as Product Manager for www.simpel.ch Switzerland: Responsible for Product development of touring and commuter bikes with various Shimano internal gear hubs, Nuvinci, Rohloff, Gates beltdrive system
- As an importer of Bike Friday USA www.bikefriday.com (custom made foldable commuter and touring bicycles), I built and sold those bikes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for 7 years. During this time I was as well responsible for managing the company’s Public Relation’s in Europe and to represent Bike Friday on bicycle trade shows in Germany.
- Bike Shop owner “Velo Doctor“ (bicycle doctor)
- Team mechanic of Team Focus/Mike Kluge (Mountainbike)
- Apprenticeship in steel frame production/ frame tube preparation, sales & assembly at Kemper Fahrradtechnik Düsseldorf / Germany
- Bicycle Messenger at Rot Runner Düsseldorf/Germany