Interview Marion

1. Who are you and when did you discover cycling?

Hi, I’m Marion from Hamburg – or from now on Munich for my new job. Before Hamburg, I lived in Berlin for a long time; where I studied and did my doctorate.

I got into cycling about six years ago via the Berlin fixie scene. From 2015 to 2018 I mainly rode fixed crits like the Red Hook Crit, before I gradually discovered bikepacking, ultra-endurance cycling and gravel. Now I enjoy all types of riding – long, short, road, off-road, racing or adventure.

2. Why do you ride a bike?

There’s no other sport that makes me feel so alive or helps me find myself like cycling. For me, cycling is about balance, challenge, adventure, holiday and independence. It’s part of my identity.

3. Why is your VOTEC the perfect bike for you?

I like to ride long and fast, but it’s often difficult for me to decide between road and off-road. With the VOTEC VRC I don’t have to: the bike is so fast that I now even do my road routes with the gravel tyres.

4. Is there a cycling experience that’s had a particular impact on you?

The Transcontinental Race 2018. 200 km was the longest I’d ever cycled, which took me the whole day and I was exhausted afterwards. At the Transcontinental Race, we rode an average of 260 km per day for 16 days in a row – at a total of about 4000 km with 40,000 m of elevation gain. That was pretty tough for me at the time. But what was even harder was the realisation that ultra-distance cycling is actually 90% in your head. My body got used to the long distances relatively quickly, so it became more a matter of mentally holding on. Now I’m convinced I can do any distance on the bike if I really want to.

5. What’s your perfect weekend?

A perfect weekend would be cycling to my parents’ house, solo, in two legs, and visiting friends along the way – about 500 km. Since it’s a perfect weekend, I’ll only have sunshine and tailwinds, eat pizza for lunch and drink Aperol Spritz in the evening 😉 

6. What are your plans for this season? What are you looking forward to and what are you dreading?

I’m looking forward to the Orbit360 series and the Gravity Bike Festival, which was the highlight of my summer last year. My biggest fear is that stuff will be cancelled again because of covid. I’d also like to do another 24-hour road race and possibly a multi-day race.

7. What’s been the biggest challenge for you and your bike so far?

Rad am Ring 2019. I started there in the 24h solo race and planned to ride at least 18-20 laps. That would have been around 500 km with over 10,000 m of altitude. Unfortunately, the weather was catastrophic: it was cold and rained almost continuously. 

In this weather, I usually wouldn’t have got on my bike at all. At some point, the fight for the podium just became a fight with myself and in the end it was just a matter of hanging on. I rode 17 laps, that’s 442 km with 9520 m of altitude, and finished fifth. It’s a result I’m still incredibly proud of because I gave everything in the mental fight against myself.

8. If you could change one thing about the cycling world, what would it be and why?

More equality and appreciation for women. For example, I once rode in an everyman race where there wasn’t even a podium for women and I had the feeling that the other women just accepted that as “normal”. I don’t think that’s right at all. 

9. How could cycling be made more accessible to everyone?

Less superficiality, more openness. You don’t need a €10,000 bike, expensive brand-name clothes or a well-trained body to have fun on a bike. I think that could be better communicated to make cycling more accessible to everyone. Films like “All Bodies on Bikes” by Shimano are great in this respect.

10. What do you do when you’re not on the bike?

I manage the Fraunhofer Institute for Materials. I’m actually a mathematician and doing a meaningful job I can identify with is important to me. 

In my free time, when I’m not on my bike, I also like to go climbing and running and love techno and Aperol Spritz 😉

11. Who’s your role model?

There’s no such thing for me. Many friends have inspired or motivated me in different ways. Because of Johanna Jahnke, for example, I dared to take part in the Red Hook Crit. Because of Kim Kohlmeyer, I ride harder on long rides and Kathi Sigmund inspired me to improve my off-road technique. 

12. What role do you see yourself playing in the VOTEC ENDEAVOR PROJECT?

I’d like to motivate and inspire others, especially women, to dare to do more. I came to cycling relatively late myself and have only achieved anything because I dared to do it. It’s a great feeling and gives me a lot of self-confidence – far beyond cycling. I’d like to share this experience and hope I can inspire others (women) to do ‘rad’ things.