The Bike Hunt Specials follow our fearless Head Bike Hunter Daniel on his adventures rescuing stolen VanMoof bikes around the world. In each bi-monthly episode, he teams up with a local Bike Hunter and recruits a special guest for the hunt. This month we’re back in the Netherlands, where Daniel’s joined by experienced free runner Philip van Ees to hunt down a rider’s beloved Smart S bike. But will Philip’s parkour skills come in handy when tracking down stolen rides?
Jumping from burning ships, taking cover from firing Spitfires, blown backwards by dynamite. Luckily, these aren’t scenes from a particularly explosive Bike Hunt. But you might have seen them in Dunkirk, the major film that Dutch freerunner Philip van Ees worked on as a stuntman. This month for a very special edition, Daniel’s joined by the man himself – one of the Netherlands' most established freerunners. But will his skills come in handy when it comes to tracking down a missing VanMoof Smart S bike?
Philip van Ees joined Daniel at VanMoof’s HQ in Amsterdam, to get the feel for our infamous Bike Hunts. Their task for the day? Track down and recover a stolen VanMoof Smart S bike. Philip was one of the very first runners in the Dutch parkour scene, and over the 16 years he’s been active, he’s seen freerunning grow from an underground activity to an internationally recognized sport. Today, he runs a training center for runners and for the police, and uses his skills as a professional stuntman – because who wouldn't want to swap out Dutch car parks for a re-enactment of one of the most dramatic battles of World War Two every once in a while?
The bike in question has been stolen from a rider in Middleburg, in the Dutch province of Zeeland. The thief has managed to get the bike over 180 km away to Bilthoven, where its clandestine journey has come to a halt. The team pack the van, pinpoint the bike's last location on the track, and kick off the hunt. Arriving in Bilthoven, Philip’s keen to teach Daniel the basics of freerunning, and already knows of the perfect spot to try him out – Daniel’s hopping over walls in no time.
But it’s quickly back to bike business for the agile duo. Armed with a pair of VanMoof S3s, Daniel and Philip track the bike’s coordinates to an out-of-town industrial park. Winding their way through dead-end roads and car parks, they scan the area for the missing VanMoof. A cluster of bikes immediately raises Daniel’s suspicions and bingo! The VanMoof is instantly recognizable amongst the other bikes. Philip expertly handles the lock, and in under a full day, the hunt is complete.
There’s no time to waste – Daniel’s keen to deliver the deprived rider the good news. “That’s amazing!”, he exclaims delightedly, “I never thought I’d see that bike again.” It’s happy reunions like these that remind us what it’s all about. A week later, the customer drops by VanMoof HQ to pick up his reclaimed bike. In just 7 hours, the team has sealed the deal. Not bad Philip, not bad at all.
Keen to join one of our Bike Hunters? Sound off on our social channels and who knows, maybe next time we’ll be hunting with you!
Does the thought of someone stealing the VanMoof S3 & X3 send you into a cold sweat? Peace of Mind: Theft to the rescue! It’s our ironclad guarantee that we’ll recover your bike in the event it gets stolen.
How does Peace of Mind: Theft work? Simple. When you report your bike stolen in the VanMoof app, we alert our Bike Hunter team to track it down. If we can’t recover it for you within two weeks, we'll replace it with a bike of the same (or better) age and condition.