How a German rider fell in love with Americana
Kathi Kuypers’ new Ticket harkens back to an idyllic age of Americana, an era of soda fountains, sock hops and big Bel Airs. Kuypers has a special love for the classic American diner, despite the fact that she has only ever visited the United States once. When she was eight.
“I went with my parents when I was a little kid, and we got milkshakes and I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” Kuypers says. “That was my first milkshake. And, yeah, I really liked the looks. I have only seen it in Hollywood movies, but it would be a dream to have a little coffee shop in the style of an American diner. That’s why I made my bike look like an American diner.”
The bike made its competition debut at Crankworx Innsbruck in June. Kuypers says that the design turned heads.
“I put it in the athletes’ tent because I was so scared that somebody would steal it,” Kuypers says. “And then I was watching people, they were walking around and having a look like, ‘Oh what’s that.’ [Laughs]. And then they touched it.
“Casey [Brown] was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s the prettiest bike I’ve ever seen.'”
You can watch Kuypers build up the frame below:
The bike is more than just a nice design for Kuypers. The checkerboard chainstays were inspired by Vans’ “Checkerboard Day” in support of mental health. She wanted to acknowledge her own mental struggles and those of others she has competed with, including riders who left mountain biking due to the pressures of the sport.
Kuypers also wants the images of classic diner treats on the bike — like pizza, donuts, fries and milkshakes — to remind young riders who may be struggling with body image to focus on what makes them happy.
“I was a normal kid with loads of energy and appetite, and I still have that in my body,” Kuypers says. “So go out and enjoy riding your bike. Don’t think about how thin or big you are and how many hours you have to ride your bike to burn the calories of a milkshake. Enjoy and love riding your bike, no matter which size you are.”
Crankworx was a surreal experience for Kuypers, who hadn’t competed in 11 months. She says that competitors had a nervous energy. Everyone was excited to see their friends again, as well as show off all the hard work they had put in while being cooped up due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I was like, ‘Am I allowed to hug you now?’ Everybody was just normal,” Kuypers says. “And the freeride progression is amazing. Wow, the level is so high. And on the pump track, the girls were only one second slower than the guys, which is just incredible.”
Kuypers showed out for the event, taking 14th in the pump track event and ninth in the speed and style. After a long stint in lockdown, she’s excited to take her new bike along for a busy slate of competitions. She got an invite to Audi Nines in August, when women will participate in the event for the first time. And she is also planning to be at Proving Grounds in Oregon in September for what would be her first trip back to the United States since she was a kid. Kuypers is also doing ebike and pump track events in between. She’s barely sitting still: “Oh my god a thousand things going on again, I’m so happy.”
Kuypers cares deeply about the things that bring her joy, and the Trek Ticket has been a wellspring of good times. She received her first custom Ticket when she was 14.
“I was so proud of it, and I rode it for four years. And then Trek said, ‘Do you want another custom Ticket?’ I was like, ‘Hell yeah!'” Kuypers says. “I just ride it every day, all day, in winter and everywhere I go. Even on holiday, the Ticket is with me. Because you can do so much stuff. You can go street riding, and you can use it everywhere.”
With her new Ticket, Kuypers is riding a bike that feels like a distinct piece of herself.
“I just want to thank Trek that they absolutely made what I dreamed of. And the painters,” Kuypers says. “It’s the coolest thing in the world. It just gives me the motivation I need. The last little bit.”