Ever wondered what a day in the life of a Bike Doctor looks like? Or what experience you might need to fix everything from smart units to squeaky brakes? We spoke to one of our Bike Doctors, Badi Reitz, about his day-to-day in the workshop, and what led him to VanMoof.
Amsterdam has got to be the most picturesque city in Europe. Ok, we might be biased seeing as we’re born and bred here, but with endless canals, cobbled streets, and – our all time favorite – bikes on every corner, the city makes the perfect backdrop for any photo. Neighborhoods like Amsterdam Noord and Houthavens offer visitors a unique side to the city that you won’t find in your average travel book and are perfectly explored on a nippy e-bike.
And it’s not just the backstreet breweries and swim spots that make Houthavens well worth a pitstop. Our Amsterdam West Service Hub is located here too – and this is where Bike Doctor Badi starts his working day. Badi grew up in Mongolia and then moved to Israel to work at an NGO – from there, he moved to Amsterdam to study his bachelor’s in Sociology and Anthropology. We asked Badi a few questions to find out a little more about how his love for the urban environment brought him to VanMoof.
So Badi, have you always had an interest in bikes?
“I’ve always had an interest and a feel for mechanics – when I was growing up, I used to fix and service my dad’s motorcycle as well as my own and also worked on cars. The only exposure I had to bikes were my friends' bikes. I’ve also always had an interest in Anthropology and Sociology, which led me to study here in Amsterdam. My degree has also given me an understanding of the framework of VanMoof, the issues we encounter on the shop floor, and how my role affects others. I’ve never allowed my role to limit me to what I can do. As long as I’m learning, I’m happy – and you’re always learning something new at VanMoof.”
“When I pick a bike, I often find myself anthropomorphizing the bike and almost asking it “what’s your diagnosis?” and as bizarre as it sounds, we do approach the bikes similarly to how a doctor would approach a patient.”
What does a day in the life of a Bike Doctor look like?
“We have a morning shift and an afternoon shift to make sure we can get as many bikes back on the road as efficiently as possible. In order to know what is wrong with each bike, they’re split into categorizations: blue means mechanical repairs, pink means quick repairs (like flat tires), and yellow is for accident-related issues. We pick a color and then get to work! When I pick a bike, I often find myself anthropomorphizing the bike and almost asking it “what’s your diagnosis?” and as bizarre as it sounds, we do approach the bikes similarly to how a doctor would approach a patient.”
What makes working at VanMoof so special?
“Firstly, and it may sound soppy, but it’s my colleagues. I work in an incredible team full of unique people from around the world and it’s always sad when someone leaves. Secondly, and this is a homage to the R&D team, but there is always something exciting around the corner at VanMoof. The fact that we have taken a rudimentary concept like the bicycle and thought about how to make it sleeker and smarter is always something that fascinates me about VanMoof. Whilst we've encountered challenges in the past few years, I am excited to see how we as a company, committed to ever advancing the way we reclaim the streets, are making the necessary changes and developments in making each new bike better than our last. I’m looking forward to starting to get to know the S5 and A5 a bit better once they’re out on the road.”
What are the three most important skills that a Bike Doctor needs to succeed?
“Well, I’d always say that you need to look at all VanMoof bikes like you’ve never seen a bike before. Your previous experience with bikes can hinder you from truly understanding the way that VanMoof has approached revolutionizing two wheels. If you’re used to diagnozing a specific issue when fixing a car, a kitchen cupboard, or a skateboard, and then finding a solution – then it’s no difference to the way that we approach bikes. As long as you’re open, curious, and willing to learn – you’re set to become a great Bike Doctor.”