Almost everyone recognises a Swapfiets nowadays: the recognisable rental bike with the blue striped tyres. As the new academic year began this week, there were long queues of students outside the Swapfiets store in Eindhoven.
‘In the past, students had to buy their own bike. But they don’t have to do that anymore,’ explains Matthew Oprinsen from Swapfiets Eindhoven. A student leaving the store also said, ‘if, like me, you wear your bikes out easily, this is a handy option’.
Swapfiets charges €17 per month, which includes the bike rental and any necessary repairs.
Whilst many students are fans of Swapfiets, many independent bike stores resent how Swapfiets has dominated the bike market. Dwight Fabre from bike store Rijwielhuis ‘t Verzet in Woensel says that independent bike stores have seen decreased customer numbers since Swapfiets expanded. ‘We sell fewer bikes nowadays,’ he says. ‘We try to compensate for this by taking on more repair jobs.’
Translation: Rachael Vickerman