Hardly any other mode of transport combines ecology and economy as well as the bicycle. Given rising urbanization – by 2050 more than 80 per cent of the German population will live in cities – the bicycle is becoming more relevant. But for many cyclists, their wheels symbolise independence, freedom and zest for life. It is this last that entrepreneurs are increasingly relying on for their business concepts.
Cappuccino, cheesecake and getting the chain adjusted
A problem with your bike? Simply ‘sit down and have a cup of tea’. Fahrrad-Café St Pauli bike cafe combines bicycle sales, rentals and repair with tasty delights. A cappuccino and cheesecake for the cyclist while a new brake or chain is fitted to the bike. Launched in 2015, FC-SP has now opened a second branch at Beim Schlump, as well as a showroom for new and second-hand bikes in Simon-von-Utrecht-Straße. The idea for the family business was born at the start of a long night at the Hamburg Port anniversary party. To recall times past and out of enthusiasm, the three brothers Razak, Kahlif and Kareem Steinbrich still sell accessories to tourists on the Hamburg fish market in the early hours of an occasional Sunday morning.
Guided cycling tours and bike rentals
Tourists and Hamburg residents alike are customers of Zweiradperle Hamburg and Hamburg City Cycles. Guided tours take in the city’s most scenic aspects, pass by its culinary highlights or focus on particular themes, such as the port, HafenCity or Wilhelmsburg. These cycling experiences are offered as private tours, company events or class outings – after all Hamburg’s history or the typical red-brick architecture of Fritz Schumacher, father of modern urban design, can be experienced much better from a bike than from a textbook. Hamburg’s trendy quarters can also be explored by bike (Zweiradperle), or particular themes are highlighted. Films and series were at the focus at Hamburg City Cycles in late August, and in late September musical bike tours will coincide with the Reeperbahn Festival. Both companies offer bike rentals – city bikes, e-bikes, tandems, children’s bikes and trailers.
Start-ups for emergencies
Cycling is only fun, if the wheels go round smoothly. Hauling bikes to a garage in a car boot is a nuisance. This is where mobile bike mechanics come in. FahrradTechnik Mobil’s company motto is: “We’ll come to your home!” Brakes, gears and lights can be tested and adjusted or changed – as desired and at your convenience. Businesses are increasingly the clients of rolling workshops like Rad Retter, Planetwheel, Rajas Rad Service and Mobiler Fahrradladen. Veloyo has made finding the right mechanic its business model. This start-up provides a platform for cyclists to find the next available bike mechanic quickly and easily. Veloyo went online in Hamburg in 2015 – the platform can now be used in Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and London as well.
Prevent theft – or at least make it difficult
The Velook start-up has come up with an app especially for victims of bike theft – a bicycle is stolen in Germany every 90 seconds, as founders Martin Stasun and Oliver Liermann have discovered. Their mobile cycle register aims to do something about it. A digital cycle profile can be created with the app, theft reports can be published, bicycles checked before purchase and victims supported in their search for a stolen bike. There are also tips on securing bikes as effectively as possible against theft.
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