Nils Hansen is one of Cape Town’s most diverse cycling talents.
From Enduro mountain bikes to racing in the elite bunch at the Cape Town Cycle Tour, he has done it all, with a good sprinkling of fun added for good measure.
Nils is the owner of Woodstock Cycleworks. He specialises in keeping weird and wonderful bikes of all shapes and sizes on the road. True to his day job, Nils rode his 11th CTCT on a bicycle that turned heads.
The custom-built mini velo that Nils chose to ride features full-size geometry, but rolls small 20-inch wheels. And only has one gear.
"I have done the Cycle Tour around 11 times, two years in Elites, with a best finish of 188th position. At the height of my fitness last year when I was due to ride the Cape Epic Epic, I did the Cycle Tour with a mate on a tandem and we placed third overall in the Elite tandem category."
Despite his prodigious riding ability, Nils wanted to have an alternative CTCT experience.
"I have always seen the Cycle Tour as an opportunity to do things out of the ordinary or to be different. So many people are fixated on Sub-3s and to me that is so boring. This is one opportunity to do something special with no strings attached. I have ridden the event on a single-speed twice before, including a 3:15, which I thought was fairly impressive."
Despite his extensive collection of bicycles, Nils really wanted to do the CTCT on a unique mini velo. In the UK, a frame builder named The Roofer, produced the bike, intended for local artist Paul Edmunds.
"Paul rode it a bit. I found it in his shed a few years ago and used to ride it around Cape Town. It was a fixed gear with a fairly long crank length and low bottom bracket. I crashed hard a few times, due to pedal strikes," laughs Nils.
"I saw some pictures of mini velos, including a Dahon Smooth Hound on the Internet. I just like the idea of a small bike with a full-sized geometry. The Roofer was a friend, so I sent him a sketch of the geometry I liked but mostly left it up to him. Somehow the bottom bracket got dropped, which makes corners challenging."