Linkjet – combining cycling and inkjet

I like to think that cycling and inkjet have something in common – at least I know a few people (including myself) who find both fascinating! Cycling at a competitive level is a team sport, but relying on personal achievement, and something similar can be said about inkjet development. The fundamental principles of IMI Europe are collaboration (working together with others) and learning (developing yourself to become more effective) and these are at the heart of everything we do.

With this in mind, last year with Mark Ritchie (formerly of Xaar) and Neil Stickland (Marketing Manager at Global Inkjet Systems), we organised the first ever ‘Linkjet’ cycle ride, to coincide with the InPrint show in Milan. The ride was on Friday 18 November and the route left from Como, took in two iconic climbs in the area, before returning to Como. The climbs were the Madonna di Ghisallo and Muro di Sormano, both of which are regular features in major races like the Giro d’Italia and Lombardia.

 A cold, misty start

A cold, misty start

The riders were Mark, Neil and myself, Gary Keiller (GIS), Rod Egglestone (business owner from outside the industry), Keith Ramsey (Nazdar) and Roberto Longaretti, Roberto Licata, Massimiliano Armani and Armando Motta (all from Martinenghi). We were very kindly offered the use of the Martinenghi minibus to transport us from Milan to Como, and also very kindly treated to dinner the night before by Marcus Timson from InPrint.

 The guys from Martinenghi

The guys from Martinenghi

On the morning of the ride, the weather was rather damp, misty and cold, but as hardened riders we (grumbled about this incessantly) just got on with it. You can see from the picture we took at the start that Como was quite misty, and indeed it was hard to see there was a lake there at times! The group stayed together along the lake, but inevitably broke up on the first climb, with a convenient cafe allowing those waiting for the others to get coffee and stay warm. There is also a beautiful chapel with some cycling memorabilia to look at as well.

Once we had regrouped, we moved on to the second, and much harder climb of the Muro di Sormano (the wall of Sormano). The final part of this is 1.6 km at almost 20%, which meant that several of the group took to the easier (but longer) alternative route, or to walking! This time there was no cafe at the top, so there was a cold damp wait for the group to reform. There was then an even colder and damper descent and ride back to Como, where a hugely welcome warm restaurant with hot food and excellent beer made everything ok!

 At the top of the Muro

At the top of the Muro

After the success of the first Linkjet ride, we are keen to do more of this, and with that in mind we are planning three rides in 2017 to coincide with inkjet events as follows:

  • Saturday 17 June, Ghent, Belgium (the day after IMI Europe’s Inkjet Summer School)
  • Friday 22 Sept, Barcelona, Spain (the day after IMI Europe’s Digital Print Europe)
  • Friday 17 Nov, Munich, Germany (the day after InPrint)

Anyone who likes cycling is welcome – you don’t have to be coming to the event in question – and it is completely free (your own responsibility to get yourself and a bike to the ride, of course). Please let Neil (neil.stickland@globalinkjetsystems.com) or myself (tim@imieurope.com) know if you would like to join us.

Tim Phillips, IMI Europe