A few times in my life I've worked on things which were a bit futuristic. In the 1980s I'd tell people about how useful email was and they'd mostly look at me a bit odd.
In 1993 I worked on a device which really wasn't so different to the iPad you can buy today: A flat portable computer which communicated using (analogue) cell phone technology, could send emails and faxes, and was operated with a stylus on the screen.
Rather more recently, I've worked for 18 months on the Sinner Mango velomobile. Truly a vehicle from the future.
I'm very proud to have been associated with both of these products.
I started at Sinner in order to help with increasing production in order to reduce the long waiting list for a Mango. My colleagues and I have worked hard over the last year to make Mangos better than ever before. A few larger changes, but many small details which are not necessarily visible to the customer, result in the current production being better finished both inside and out, lighter and faster. I suggested the Mango Sport and the Red Edition as products, and these successfully increased demand for Mangos. However... not quite enough to support or warrant an extra employee.
Yesterday was the last day of my contract with Sinner at the Ligfietsgarage in Groningen. Mango production is continuing, of course, and I'll probably still be involved from time to time, but not as a regular employee.
So to summarise: I have no complaints. I had wonderful colleagues for 18 months, building Mangos for customers, and Sinner is a very good company run by hard working, honest people. Never before have I so much enjoyed working for minimum wage. The Mango is a wonderful velomobile. As a product, it's better now than ever, and as the waiting list will probably now start to slowly get longer again this is perhaps the best time ever to order one - and I'm not paid a cent to say that.
For me it's now time for a slight change of direction. I'll be able to put a bit more time into making baskets, the production of which slowed dramatically over the last 18 months, and we'll plan a wider range of cycling holiday destinations for next year's customers.
In addition, we're starting a new venture. A web shop selling bicycle parts. It will be a bit different in content from many cycling web shops. We're not looking to stock "everything" but only cycling products which we believe in. These are products which have a good reputation for a reason. Many are commonly used in the Netherlands though less common elsewhere. They all work very well. Most of them we've used ourselves, and some others are products which friends use and recommend. Good useful stuff, and no money wasting things which don't work
For instance, you won't find us offering to sell you the Mighty Amsterdam Lock in our web shop, but you will find the excellent AXA Defender Lock.
This coming Sunday I'll be racing my Mango in Groningen again. I'm very much looking forward to it.