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"The first jumps we build where some piled bricks with a wooden plate on the top. We used standard touring bikes with three speed hubs these days. All this happened, before bmx came over to Europe". - Frank Heinrich, owner of leafcycle
Already as a little kid Frank Heinrich got facinated about biking, pulling high speed wheelies, doing powerslides, getting some air over wooden ramps or doing some afternoon races together with friends at the local mx track. Back in the days, they used standard push bikes with three speed torpedo hubs and normal touring tires. There was no internet access or any bmx magazine, were you could stare on any heroes of the sports. So, there was no influence from any side at all. There where only you and a bunch of friends and that personal mission, which was pretty much beating anyone on the private races.
Frank saw a little article in a youth magazine about some kids somewhere in the USA, racing on small bikes with off road tires and it did not even take a thousands of a second to realize, from now on he has just one big mission! Saving up the money for a bike like that, as fast as possible. He worked as a paperboy, did some fruitpicking on the rasberry field and saved ever single penny of his pocketmoney to slap exactly 235,- german marks (today roughly 150 US$) on the cash desk of a local bike store, to take out a metallic red BMX 2000 with yellow nylon rims. Well the bike was a piece of junk but this bike was one of the biggest dreams in Franks young life. This investment happened auround 1982, almost at the same time, when a insane bmx boom was pumping all over Europe. Some intense years followed until this boom almost died overnight and all bikes got wiped out of the shops. Suddenly bmx was dead and it was even hard to get spare parts for those little "kids bikes". Frank still followed his passion, but riding alone wasn´t that much fun, like the years before.
There was a rumor about an other offroad wonder. People where talking about strong offroadbikes with gears, you can ride steep uphill. As soon as Frank saw the first "ATB - all terrain bike" today "called mountainbike", for him it was clear. Time to invest again!
The bikes where designed for riding offroad tours in the forests or mountains, but Frank was abusing this bike like all the bikes before. Some of his friends bought those bikes as well and the mission was the same like the years before. Pulling high speed wheelies, jumping around, doing some freestyle and go for some private race sessions. To say the truth, the adventure tours through the local forest were much more fun on the ATB than on the BMX the years before.
During the following years, Frank swoped his vehicle quite often. Sometimes bmx was his main activity, other times he prefered the mountainbike. Even riding trial was a major activity for some seasons.
His passion for riding bmx, made him start a small bmx clothing company called "dirty steel", back in 1994. Mainly made for the local riders, this brand got sold in some core shops around Germany. Photography was an other passion of Frank, so he decided to bring out a local bmx zine. The CroMo zine was completely homemade on a simple copy machine.
It must have been around 2005, when frank had his first contact to todays classic dirt bikes.
His bmx cruiser frame broke and he had some kind of a dirt frame left, he got for a photosession some time before. Frank decided to build up this vehicle to give it a try. From that day on, he just stayed on the dirt bike. His passion for biking offered him some doors in the bicycle industry. Beside working in bike stores, he although worked as freelance photographer for several international magazines and did the international marketing for the Scott Bike division. But after all the years of doing different things, there was always this little dream in his mind. Riding on his own frame. In the year 2007 this dream got true and the d.one hit the market. Leafcycles was born with the main intention. To create dirt goods from riders for riders. After all those years, Leafcycles is still a one man show and Frank does pretty much everything by his own. From product developing, designing new products on an old fashioned drawing board, answering e-mails, organizing imports and exports, updating the webpage, packing the orders and much more. At the end of the day, he still takes the bike and gets some air at his local spot!
"Thanks to all the riders out there, for your support. Enjoy your session".
LEAFCYCLES - EQUIPMENT FOR THE DIRTY HOURS OF YOUR LIFE
Thanks to Uwe Bartesch for most of the photos.
I travelled to Hobart, Tasmania over the Easter Holiday period to contest the 2013 Oceania Downhill Mountain Bike Championships. We (Dad and me) arrived on Thursday and right from the word go we knew it was going to be a bugga of a weekend particularly when Budget Rental did not have our Van available which was booked in early Jan 13! After spending 3 hours sitting around at the airport we finally got our vehicle and headed to Sandy Bay to check-in to our accommodation and build the V10 which went without a hitch. We headed to the track early Good Friday morning for all day practice.
The track had not changed over the past few years but was really loose, dusty and challenging - as were the 50kmh+ wind gusts which were hitting the open areas at the bottom of the track! I was just getting into my rhythm on about my 4-5th run and as I hit the 50' tabletop near the bottom of the track - everything went pear shaped! I think I got hung up in a wind gust and when I hit the lander, both hands slipped off the bars and I got body slammed into the track including a 'scorpion' and then ragged doll off the track into a 3' gutter running alongside the track. I knew I was injured pretty bad because my lower back was screaming in agony!
The Paramedics arrived and checked me over to ensure nothing was broken (bloody amazing!)and then took me back to our Van. I did not give myself much chance of riding for the remainder of the weekend but Dad insisted that I treat myself with an ice-bath, heaps of anti-inflammatory tablets, pain killers and later, heat pack treatments.
Saturday I woke feeling pretty beat up and sore but decided to head to the track to walk around to try and get some movement happening which eventually started to happen. I elected to kit up and head for the start line for my Seeding/Qualifying run knowing that I only had to break the beam and I would have another 20 hours to recover further. Only problem was that when I broke the beam there was no transport left at the start line so I had no option but to roll down which took 14+ minutes but didn't cause me too much problem.
Sunday we headed to the track believing we had several hours of practice before race time but as it turned out, I managed to get one only practice run before race time which meant that I had a total of 6 runs on the track since Friday morning. Being last in Seeding/Qualifying meant that I was first over the start line in Elite Men and I just put it all on the line without crashing. I had a good run and came over the line in a respectable 3:20 and held onto 2nd place through until the last 10 riders came down. In the end, I placed 8th and given my lack of practice and injuries I was pretty stoked particularly with riders like Kovarik, Brosnan, Moir, Kannan and McMillan in front of me.
Once again, I would like to thank my supporters - NSDynamics.com.au, Santa Cruz Bikes, Elka Suspension, Chunked.com.au and Mavic Equipment for helping out during the past season. Time to rest up and get ready for the Qld State Series commencing May before heading to Whilster later in the year for Crankworx.