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Swapping Screens for Planes: Marleen goes to Europe

Screens are great, but there’s nothing quite like being there.

After more than two years of Zoom meetings, connecting with suppliers in person was a hugely valuable experience for the Marleen team, venturing overseas for the first time since Covid.

Product Manager Hayden Sword and Sales Manager Rowan Holling braved the 30-hour journey for a three-week trip in July to attend the Eurobike trade show and visit the headquarters of suppliers in Germany and the Netherlands.

The 30th edition of Eurobike was held in Frankfurt, Germany for the first time this year, having moved from Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. According to organizers, the July 13-17 fair demonstrated the industry’s pent-up demand for meeting in person, having attracted some 33,780 trade visitors from 105 countries.




Rowan said that while a lot of business can be handled digitally, really connecting with key contacts can only be done face to face.

“Most of us are in the industry because we are passionate about it, so to understand a bit more about them as people and their lives is really important to us, plus better understanding their business and company culture by seeing it in the flesh too,” Rowan said.

“We have also not had the chance to meet some brands face to face at all as they’re relatively new, so being able to do this for the first time was important,” Hayden added.



During the show they touched base with people from many key brands: Race Face, Easton, CST, Maxxis, iXS, Spank, Praxis, EVOC, Joe’s No- Flats, Bellwether, Profile Design, Bosch, DT Swiss, Basil, Nutcase, Urban Iki, Hiplok, Park Tool, Shotgun and BBB.



Hayden and Rowan also aimed to gain a better understanding of the trends in the market, as well as scout for new products and brands to introduce to New Zealand.  

“There are quite a few under wraps that we can’t talk about quite yet. But we are really excited about the new urban tyres coming from Maxxis, MIK side mount bags from Basil and Urban packs from EVOC,” Rowan said.



In total, more than 1,500 exhibiting companies were at Eurobike, which was held in halls and open-air grounds covering more than 140,000 square metres. The guys offered wildly differing estimates of how far they walked each day – from 5km to 20km! One for Strava next year, for sure!

While they were “in the neighbourhood”, Hayden and Rowan also visited the headquarters of BBB and Basil in the Netherlands and EVOC in Munich.

“A massive thanks to our brands, and especially the teams at BBB, Basil, and EVOC for hosting us so well during our visit,” Rowan said.



Among the packed itinerary, they managed to squeeze in a side trip to Belgium for beer and waffles, plus a stop at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.

During their travels they noticed how ingrained cycling is in everyday European life - something we could learn from here in Aotearoa.

“It’s not just about sport or fitness. Also, the ability for bikes and motorists to be able to share the road and the respect cyclists are given by motorists,” Hayden said.

“If only we could embrace some of that culture and accept that cycling is the most efficient way to get around cities,” Rowan added.


Quickfire questions:

How do you like travelling on aeroplanes?

H: Other than the struggle to sleep, it’s all good. Nothing like 10 hours of non-stop blockbusters to keep you sane.

R: The worst, motion sickness for most of the flights, 0/10.


Who snored the loudest?

H: Me, apparently. I blame the sleeping tablets.

R: I’ll have to say Hayden for this one, although it wasn’t bad.


Funniest moments?  

H: Rowan lost his wallet the first day, Rowan’s tiny room in Leiden.

R: Getting scorned by the locals for ordering a Radler in a famous brew house in Munich.


Best meal?

H: Pork knuckle, it was all pretty good. We tried to eat as much “local” food as we could.

R: Either dirty takeaway-style currywurst, or a massive pork knuckle from a classic Bavarian restaurant. Depending on the mood of course. Pics included, cast your votes. 


New experiences?

H: Peeing in an open-air toilet, autobahn speeds, staying in an old monastery.

R: Passing the Polizei on the Autobahn at over 200km/h without consequence was new for sure.