Ward Grootjans squints his eyes. He focuses on a fictitious point and places his elbows on his thighs. The 36-year-old now radiates even more authority. He’s in his element. He talks about his greatest vision. “Bicycles are about to become a major solution in urban planning, the prevention of traffic jams and, above all, urban health,” he says. Grootjans focuses this great social responsibility on young mobility companies. That’s his subject. The Dutchman is the CEO of one of these very start-ups, whose leap to success is not based on exponential profit maximization, but rather on these great visions.
Ward Grootjans is convinced that more bicycles will minimize urban problems such as traffic jams, environmental damage and particulate matter. His dream is therefore to establish a Europe-wide service network for cyclists. He believes that a network of competent and inexpensive service points will motivate even more people to get on their bikes. Grootjan came up with the idea when he worked for a renowned American bicycle manufacturer. The 36-year-old got to know the weak points of the industry there: “Bicycles are becoming increasingly complex, but service providers are often slow to keep up with this development. The great need for advice often leads to long waiting times and major price increases.” After this experience Grootjans decided to become active himself: The idea for Go Bike was born.
The really special thing is that customers do not come to us, but that we work with them on site.
The basics of Go Bike have had one philosophy from the very beginning. “In my opinion, great and sustainable ideas must create greater benefits for everyone involved,” explains Ward Grootjans. Inclusion therefore. In this way, the start-up represents an interface: It networks bicycle manufacturers and bike shops with national customer needs. In concrete terms, the young company is supplied by those shops and manufacturers with certain raw materials. These raw materials are more or less processed by Go Bike and delivered to potential consumers. The highlight: All this takes place in a van. The van is therefore the complete service package: Technical contact, workshop, bike shop and courier all in one.
The central challenge right from the start is to make optimum use of the vehicle’s space. This is the only way to implement a complete service package. For this reason, Ward Grootjans opted for an L4H3 for his first van, the largest Sprinter made. Compared to a conventional workshop, space is of course limited. But that’s exactly what makes the van the perfect Go Bike workstation. “For the individual mechanic, everything is within arm’s reach,” says Grootjans. But true to the company’s philosophy, the 36-year-old also sees added value in another area: “The really special thing is that customers do not come to us, but that we work with them on site,” he explains.
The roadmap of the future? With its meanwhile 20 employees Go Bike continues to grow. The business model also provides for franchise partnerships. In addition to Germany, other countries should also benefit from the services of the young company. However, Grootjans himself sees Go Bike less as a company. According to his big dream, Go Bike is a network for him. “Every network needs a critical mass. Our critical mass is fulfilled when the network operates throughout Europe,” he explains. Ward Grootjans then lifts his upper arms off his thighs again. He leans back and nods. This last sentence serves unmistakably as the punch line of his vision: Go Bike the network.
The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.