With all of the challenges smaller businesses are facing these days, we wanted to share some examples of bike shops that are making strides in staying busy, keeping the service flowing, all while keeping their employees and customers safe. Cooperative Fahrrad is located in the 6th district of Vienna, in Austria. You can’t miss it, going out of the city to the Vienna forest which is more or less the end or the start of the Alps. This area is great for biking – steep climbs, singletrack trails, winding roads … almost everything a biker wants and needs. We had the chance to catch up with owner Dominik Mandl to see how they’re handling all of the constant changes.
“As our customers do more and more short trips, packing only the most important things for 1 or 2 days we were looking for bikes which are fast enough to bring us into the nature and flexible enough to allow riding on different surfaces. We found Kona and after only half a year having them in our shop we do not know how we could live without them. The Sutra, Libre and Rove have brought us a lot of fun discovering the charming regions beyond the city border. If you want to make a longer journey, you can find almost everything you need in our shop. We do have a wide range of racks, bags and practical equipment which was already tested on many prior trips.
“We enjoyed the first sunny and warmer days in spring when Covid-19 forced us to close our shop. We were very happy when we were informed that at least our workshop could stay open because our appointment book was as full as every year at that time. So we arranged some things and did repair many many bikes for those who still had to go to work. For us this was really important because many of our customers don’t want to do their commute without their bikes – especially in times we should try to avoid public transport. Instead of being stored in the shop, the bikes are handed over in our backyard, so we managed a contact-free procedure.”
“Because our shop is smaller than 400 square meters we were allowed to reopen it after 3 weeks. Of course we are forced to wear masks and we can only let 5 customers at once into the shop. People are waiting in front of our store and we help them out as soon as possible to find a suitable bike or the equipment they are looking for. People who bring or pick-up their bikes for a repair use the back door, so there is less traffic in the store and everyone can keep a safe distance.”
“While during the first weeks of the pandemic most of the people only wanted to let get their bike repaired or serviced, we’re now seeing an increasing number of customers who want a new bike. Many of them are motivated to change their mobility habits and they want to cycle to work. The bike is becoming more and more an important part of transportation in the city and once people get used to it and feel the flexibility and independence they also cycle just for pleasure. Of course bikes can not change the pandemic but riding a bike makes the restrictions less challenging. You stay fit without using the gym, it’s great for your overall health and you have many social interactions while riding thru the city.
We at Cooperative Fahrrad think that there is always a big chance in every crisis and these days we see once more of what is really important – so, stay safe and keep pedaling!”