Axel Carion: Full Interview

We introduce you to Axel Carion, a French ultracyclist riding with Supernova Lights! Axel is the founder of the BikingMAN race series. He holds several ultracyclingworld records, for example the Guinness World Record for crossing South America in under 50 days.

How sensible is it to go on such trips spontaneously?

Deciding to go on an adventure is always a special moment of excitement and fear both reunited, even when it’s in your home country. The current context of travel constraints with COVID-19 is definitely adding more “spices” to the journey as you can’t really know and predict what tomorrow will be like. However, I do believe that it’s one of the major purpose of taking on a journey: jumping into the unknown and embracing the unpredictable to live an experience.

If you prepare for them, what is the most important thing?

When I’m preparing for an unsupported bikepacking experience of more than 5 days, the equipment is definitely my number one priority. Especially if I’ll face challenging weather conditions or cross remote areas or complete an expedition during COVID-19 measures! On multi-week bikepacking expeditions, every detail of the equipment I bring is very important as I can’t rely on anything else. I love that minimalist approach where I focus on what is stressful for my mind and body on these journeys. Then I try to bring the best equipment to lower that stress and focus on enjoying the experience. For example, I love riding under the rain or during the night because I know what equipment to bring so that I can enjoy the experience.

From winter into spring, weather changes without end. How do you keep your motivation?

I’ve been exploring countries by bike for 10 years (Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, Middle East) and travelling has always been my connection with cycling. In that sense, it’s always a great source of enjoyment for me to ride a bike as I’m never really “training” and getting bored. I have a “gold digger” approach where the key is to focus on exploring new roads, trails and countries and staying curious. With COVID-19 where travelling is complicated for a lot of people, I keep the motivation high by gathering friends and people on routes that I love the most to enjoy again the same rides by sharing the beauty of the best places I know with other people. Ride that same hill again and again alone will never taste like a ride shared with cycling mates on that same hill.

What role does the equipment play?

A major role as shared above. As I build more and more expeditions in very different conditions (weather, elevation, altitude, cultures), I always work to improve my “packing list” but perfection is not in this world. That’s the spirit of exploration cycling: there isn’t a perfect equipment, be prepared for the unpredictable.

What is particularly important to you in terms of lighting and what role does lighting play during the day?

When I use battery headlights, the most important thing to me is a good mix of luminosity and burn time. I’ve tested several battery headlights over thousands of miles and have mostly left them on for over 9 hours of riding. I’ve learned that a strong beam is useless if I can’t ride longer with it. That’s when I prefer to use the Eco mode, which allows the light to last 20 hours or more. I still vividly remember the days when I traversed the jungle in Laos with a battery headlamp. That was super stressful! When I use a battery headlamp, I always use a powerful light with a uniform beam and high build quality that will last as long as possible. Such as the headlights from Supernova.

Can you tell me what do you mean with beam and autonomy combination?

Power of the light and its battery life. Having the best long lastingbeam with a battery for me is more important than having a very powerful beam for a very short time.

What does autonomy means to you?

Battery life.

So you would prefer a Dynamo-light for long distance races and battery for short races?

That’s correct or to be more accurate I would stick to the dynamo light (if I’m searching for the most cost-effective solution as I own dynamo wheels) to avoid the hassle of charging the light on power walls for example.

Text: Axel Carion, Pictures: Axel Carion

Battling Through Snowstorms in Siberia – on a Bike

A good six months ago, Jonas Deichmann set off on his triathlon around the world with the Supernova M99 MINI PRO B54. What an adventure! In the fall, he left Central Europe, crossed the Balkans, and swam hundreds of kilometers in the Adriatic Sea before pausing in Turkey because of the pandemic. Then, at the beginning of this year, he pushed on across Ukraine north of the Black Sea into the far reaches of Russia.

Right now, Jonas is riding doggedly along dilapidated highways in Siberia, battling snowstorms and icy temperatures. With only a few daylight hours available each day, he’s pressing on through steppes, mountains, and forests. Jonas has already covered a large part of the Eurasian continent, but it’s still more than 4000 km to the Pacific coast, and winters are long and harsh in Siberia.

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For sure, there will some more brutal challenges for Jonas and his equipment. As you may remember, he initially tested his equipment in the German railway’s cold temperature chamber. His present experience in Russia shows that he chose the best possible equipment. We’re happy to report that our B54 front light has worked fine so far! What’s next? When Jonas arrives in Vladivostok, he’ll travel on to America and attempt to run across the continent from west to east. We’re looking forward to Jonas’ updates and will keep you posted on his fantastic adventure.

Text: Levin Sottru, Mary Jaksch – Pictures: Jonas Deichmann, Markus Weinberg

From Polka-Dot Jersey to Gravel Pro

from Berlin to Oberstdorf.

Gravel cyclist Paul Voss recently faced fresh challenges and has set new goals. He’s just completed riding from Berlin to Oberstdorf. That’s one thousand kilometers right across Germany. And he did it in just four days on a gravel bike!Paul Voss had promised his followers on Komoot that he would attempt a new challenge this April. As many of you know, the weather can be tricky in April so being well equipped was a top priority. We gave him a Supernova Airstream 2 and can now report on his adventures.  

Paul did really well, and so did his equipment.

He told us that he experienced “all four seasons” crammed into a few days. Of course, these were ideal conditions to put our Airstream 2 to the test. On each of the first two days, Voss rode 270 kilometers, and the daily distance for the rest of the way was around 200 km. These are quite some distances, especially when you consider it was offroad! Along the way, Voss got to experience many new sights and beautiful regions. He especially loved riding through Franconia and found that there are more single trails in the Nuremberg area than one would think. 

We are happy that he had fun with the Airstream and look forward to his continued adventures. Paul Voss is a former professional cyclist. In the last few years, he’s attracted a lot of attention with his popular cycling podcast called Besenwagen. In 2016 he won the polka-dot jersey in the 2016 Tour de France and now plans to return to international racing as a gravel pro.

Text: Levin Sottru, Mary Jaksch • Pictures: Nils Längner

New look with a sustainable message

Supernova focuses on new environmentally friendly packaging.

We have worked continuously to improve our ecological footprint.  We can currently report that we are now packaging the majority of our products with uncoated recycled cardboard. Due to being highly compressed, it is particularly robust and therefore retains its classy appearance.  We are presently working hard to convert the remaining packaging to environmentally friendly materials. This also includes the OEM bulk packaging that goes to bicycle manufacturers.

We pay attention to short transport routes, which is why we have a large part of the aftermarket packaging manufactured by regional suppliers around the Supernova production in Gundelfingen.

Our sustainability concept

Sustainability is a central theme for Supernova. It already starts with the fact that we design our products for a very long service life. We pay attention to environmentally friendly materials and entirely manufacture PVC and lead-free. For our German production we obtain our certified green electricity from Greenpeace Energy. Even the heating energy is obtained from environmentally friendly hydrogen generated by wind power. Our suppliers are selected according to ecological criteria.

All goods movements are handled CO2-neutral. The majority of our employees ride their bikes to work. The company fleet consists exclusively of electric cars, which are charged with green electricity at our own charging station.

Inspiration and teamwork

Part of our concept is also a close cooperation with our suppliers and customers to quickly advance this mission. We are therefore open to ideas for further proposals. Every step in the right direction counts, no matter how small it is.

Text: Marcus Wallmeyer • Pictures: Damaris Sonntag, Tabea Gordetzki

Supernova Team wins the city cycling event: Stadtradeln 2020!

Our team consisting of 16 employees cycled 6,399 km within 21 days and saved 941 kg CO2. A great thing for the team spirit and something good for the environment, the city cycling campaign “Stadtradeln” wants to get people on their bikes and encourage them to leave their cars behind more often. The municipality Gundelfingen took part in this action and so 18 teams with altogether 156 participants registered and could measure themselves mutually that spurs naturally.

We’re looking forward to a repeat and until then we’ll do something good for ourselves and the climate and continue cycling. You can find more information about city cycling and whether your municipality is involved here: https://www.stadtradeln.de/home

Text: Damaris Sonntag • Pictures: Marcus Wallmeyer

Triathlon Extreme: Jonas Deichmann’s Around-the-World Challenge

By Marcus Wallmeyer, CEO

Last week, Jonas Deichmann started his triathlon around the world. The first leg is from Munich to Croatia by bike. From there, he’ll swim 456 km (283 miles) along the coast toward Montenegro. He is then going to cycle through Russia, Siberia, and China. After a sailboat trip across to San Francisco, the next stage looms. Jonas plans to run 5,040 km (3,131 miles) across North America to New York. He’ll then cross the Atlantic and then ride the last 2,500 km (1,553 miles) from Portugal to Munich on his bike. In total, the journey will cover almost 40,000 km (25,000 miles) – and Jonas wants to complete it in less than a year! Jonas Deichmann already holds three world records for crossing continents by bicycle. Now he wants to set a new record as a triathlete. Before his departure, I had the opportunity to spend a whole day with Jonas to take part in a unique test of his equipment, but more about that later. Originally, Jonas had planned to ride through Iran and then through India and South East Asia. But because of the Covid-19 crisis, he now has to take the northern route via Siberia and the Gobi Desert, which means cycling through Siberia in winter – at temperatures as low as minus 40°!

Why having the right equipment in extreme temperatures is crucial

For this adventure, Jonas chose the new M99 Mini PRO B54 because this battery-powered headlight offers vital features. The new Supernova light system has a very long lighting time – even in icy conditions. It’s an extremely reliable and robust system with a focus on longevity, and it is exceptionally bright. Most importantly, the remaining lighting time can be tracked down to the minute. This feature will allow Jonas to plan his tour precisely as he might not get to a power outlet at hand for days on end. To ensure that the headlight is the right one for his trip, the M99 Mini PRO B54 was subjected to an extreme test. 

The ultimate test at minus 25 Celsius (-13F)

Jonas received permission from the Deutsche Bahn to test his equipment in their huge climate chamber. Here, they usually test Locomotives to determine how they behave under the most adverse weather conditions such as snowstorms, freezing rain or extreme heat.

For Jonas, the focus was on testing his equipment in extreme cold. The hours in the climate chamber were really hard! Wind, icing machines and cold down to minus 25C (-13F) made me limit my stay in the chamber to a few minutes at a time. Outside, it was fortunately a pleasant 20C (68F). Jonas spent most of the time in the freezing chamber. He tested clothes, bike computer, sleeping bags and of course our new Supernova headlight M99 Mini PRO B54.

Supernova passed all the tests with flying colors! I wasn’t surprised by the results, because in our laboratory we test all Supernova products in our own climate chamber – which is of course much smaller. Being in this huge climate chamber was an amazing experience for me!

On the way back, Jonas and I talked for hours. What I particularly like about his new adventure is that the whole triathlon is unsupported. And it’s CO2 neutral, as he’ll be travelling the sea routes in a sailboat. His environmental awareness dovetails with Supernova’s values, as sustainability is one of the most important pillars of our corporate philosophy.

Here at Supernova, we wish Jonas all the best for his adventure. We’ll keep you up to date!

Text: Marcus Wallmeyer • Pictures: Marcus Wallmeyer •  Video: Marcus Wallmeyer, ravir film

48 Hours to go to beat the Guinness Book World record!

Only a couple of hours to go!

Keith Morical is nearing the end of his epic journey. He hopes to make the Guinness Book World Record for the fastest time to visit 48 US states by bicycle. To cope with the heat, Keith rode right through the night this last Sunday. Luckily, he was using the super-bright Supernova B54, as well as the Airstream2. Imagine riding through the night for 226.87km with an elevation gain of 2,529m after 29 days in the saddle. Awesome! We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Text: Marcus Wallmeyer | Pictures: Kyle Miller, Jeremy Rubier | Video: Jeremy Rubier

Extreme cycling challenge: 11,400 km in under 43 days?

What could be the next challenge after you’ve achieved second place at the grueling TRANS AM BIKE RACE? Keith Morical is upping the ante. Now, he wants his name to appear in the Guinness Book of Records! On June 14th at 5 am, Keith set off from Walla Walla, Washington, to achieve a world record for the fastest time to visit 48 US states by bicycle.

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Crossing the entire USA in less than 43 days sounds insane. Especially for a cyclist who is 60 years old. Starting in Washington and ending in Kittery, Maine, the route is 7.100 miles (11,400 km) long, with more than 212,000 ft (64,600 m) elevation gain. That’s 70% longer than the Trans Am Bike Race! Before he set off, Keith rang me to discuss what gear would be ideal for the world record challenge.

“First of all, congratulations!” I said. “What a great result that was last year. Finishing second in the Trans Am Bike Race. Wow!” “Yeah,” said Keith, “that’s a tough race, Marcus, especially because it’s unsupported.” ‘Unsupported’ means that riders in the Trans Am Bike Race are not allowed any private resupply or private lodgings. You have to be your own rider, navigator, mechanic, cook, and physio.

Keith has been a Supernova enthusiast for some time, and he used the E3 PRO2 Dynamo light for the Trans Am race. “How was the E3 PRO2 light during the Trans Am?” I asked. “It was great! You really need a good dynamo light on a self-supported race. But the upcoming world record attempt is different because I’m travelling with a crew. My two sisters, my niece, a filmmaker and a photographer will all follow in a van.”

We then explored which lights would work best for his world record tour. After all, lights are a critical part of the equipment when completing an ultra-distance event safely. In the end, Keith decided to use the super bright Supernova B54, as well as the Airstream2 in order to be able to adjust to terrain and time of day.  For this race he doesn’t need dynamo lights as his support crew can charge the batteries.

But what about the pandemic?

Doesn’t the deadly threat of Covid-19 turn this journey into an impossible challenge? That’s not the way Keith thinks. If anything, the pandemic and the divisions within the USA spur him on. He wants to show how the dream of one individual can give hope to a nation in need of light.

I promised to send him 500 of the masks we have here at Supernova. Keith and his team want to give them to people he meets on the way who lack a mask and of course they will use them as well to stay safe. I think that’s a great idea!

This extreme journey is going to be full of risks. Anything can happen. Keith and his team will have to go through emotional, physical, and material challenges. The bike or the support van can break. Keith’s body can break, it can storm, and he could face extreme temperatures – nobody knows how this will end.

Is he going to make it?

Keith has an iron determination. But he is not just doing this challenge to prove himself. He wants to document the state of division in the USA. For many people, the future is uncertain. Some have lost everything and need to start anew. The photographer is going to document Keith’s journey and his encounters on the way. On day one, Keith rode 427 km (265 miles) despite fog, rain, and freezing temperatures. What’s next?

Stay tuned for more on Keith’s epic journey!

Marcus Wallmeyer
SUPERNOVA CEO

Text: Marcus Wallmeyer | Pictures: Kyle Miller, Jeremy Rubier | Video: Jeremy Rubier

German Innovation Award in Gold for the M99 Tail Light 2

Supernova Design received the German Innovation GOLD Award for their M99 Tail Light. The judging panel was impressed by the innovation, the safety aspects, and the clean design of this e-bike tail light.

Supernova Design received the German Innovation GOLD Award for their M99 Tail Light. The judging panel was impressed by the innovation, the safety aspects, and the clean design of this e-bike tail light.

The M99 Tail Light 2 PRO is the first legally-approved tail light with a homogeneous light signature. The intensity of the outer contour of the light with High-Density LED technology is unique. Importantly, the visibility remains equally high at different viewing angles, unlike in other tail lights. This particular visibility lifts safety for E-bikers to a new level. The judges of the Design Award wrote: “The e-bike is becoming increasingly important as a means of transport in modern road traffic. The innovative M99 Tail Light 2 PRO combines tail and brake light in a robust aluminum housing and, as a structural part of the luggage rack, allows for harmonious integration into the bike design.”

The German Innovation Award honors trendsetting innovations that have a lasting effect on the industry and offer added value for users. This year, there was a total of 700 entries from industry giants, hidden champions, and start-ups.

User experience is the central focus of the evaluation of entries,” said Lutz Dietzold, Managing Director of the German Design Council. “This is a characteristic feature of the German Innovation Award.” Dietzhold went on to say: “Innovative design is particularly successful if future users are involved in product and design development at an early stage. Many companies have recognized this and are seeking to identify real customer needs and then develop economically relevant products based on these needs. The fusion of analogue and digital innovations is becoming increasingly important for the future success of new developments.

The evaluation criteria of the German Innovation Award cover topics such as the level of innovation, user benefits, and economic efficiency. The innovation strategy should consider aspects such as social, ecological, economic sustainability, as well as the use of energy and resources. Factors such as location and employment potential, durability, market maturity, technical quality and function, materiality and synergy-effects also play a decisive role in the judging process. The winners were chosen by an outstanding judging panel which included physicists, patent consultants, computer scientists, financing specialists, product designers, technology historians and marketing professionals. “In this way, we guarantee an individual, neutral and professional evaluation,” emphasized Dietzold.

More Information
M99 TAIL LIGHT 2
M99 Tail Light 2 PRO

Text: Mary Jaksch, Gregor Arndt, Rat für Formgebung | Images: Rat für Formgebung, David Schultheiss, Bixs

How to Ride for Fitness, Friendship, and a Worthwhile Cause

Do you love cycling?

Here at Supernova, we are crazy about turning the cranks. As staff members, we love the fact that Supernova sponsors not only professional cyclists but also recreational riders, like me.

Just recently, Supernova sponsored their small New Zealand team, David ‘Dynamo’ Bagshaw and me, Mary Jaksch, for a 5-day charity ride. With 40 other riders, we followed New Zealand’s most spectacular cycle trail, the Alps2Ocean, which starts high in the Alps and ends by the Pacific Ocean.

David and I raised funds for World Bicycle Relief, which provides simple, sustainable Buffalo Bikes for people in rural Africa. With their donation, Supernova was able to send a complete Buffalo Bike to Africa. This bike will enable a child to travel safely to school and help their family fetch water or take produce to market.

The Alps2Ocean ride was organized by Craig Shipton of 25000Spins who runs charity rides in spectacular locations around the world. It’s a great feeling when you ride for fitness, friendship, and a worthwhile cause! If you dream about cycling in New Zealand, check out the tour photos below.

The first day was a 98km ride from turquoise Lake Tekapo to Lake Ohau, which nestles in a pristine alpine valley surrounded by dramatic, glacial mountains.

From Lake Ohau, the ride started before dawn. The brilliant Airstream 2 illuminated the stony track leading up into the mountains.

Looking back from Tarnbrae High Point, you could catch a glimpse of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain.

In the valley, the sag wagon was ready with fruit, energy bars, and water.

Getting closer to civilization, the Supernova team took a detour along corrugated gravel roads.

We went to see the dramatic Clay Cliffs rising from the valley floor.

As the days passed, the landscape changed. The snow-capped mountains were now behind us, and the trail followed long valleys with braided rivers.

The participants took time out to cool off in the bracing river water.

Partway through the final day, the trail went through a disused railway tunnel. A group of cyclists followed closely behind us to take advantage of the light from our super-bright Airstream 2.

Finally, the Supernova team reached the vibrant seaside town of Oamaru: tired but elated. We thank the photographers and the tour organizer, Craig Shipton, of 25000Spins for permission to use their photos. 

Here is a Youtube video of the Alps2ocean tour.

Text: Mary Jaksch | Bildmaterial: Ryan McCutcheon, Trent Watson, Byan Rowe