Lenkerbande – Providing All Kinds of Bike Related Services
In 2015 the demand for affordable mobility started to raise with the number of refugees coming to Vienna. Back then the founders of Lenkerbande were working in various projects. In 2018 they decided to bundle those activities and experiences within a new organization called Lenkerbande. Nowadays Lenkerbande provides all kinds of bike related services beyond the services of regular bike shops. Some people cannot afford a bike, some would rather do things themselves and some simply had bad experiences with purely profit oriented treatment one can get in some bike shops. Lenkerbande fixes, recycles and donates used bicycles in do-it-yourself workshops in Vienna, thus making sustainable mobility available for everyone. But they not only want to save as many bicycles as possible from the scrap press, but they also want to teach and empower people and turn them into responsible bicycle users. They make it possible to use the whole social and ecological potential of old bikes which are otherwise considered as trash. Many of the current members already knew each other from years of sharing their love for the two-wheelers and where already engaged in different actions before their time at Lenkerbande.
Lenkerbande is currently growing and there is the smell of change in the air. More and more partners get in touch with them and want to collaborate. They have the feeling of being on the right track. They don’t see local bike shops or other projects as competition, but as partners. However, they do want to compete with flea markets, online stores or bad quality offers from sport store chains. This will probably change a little soon, since they are currently planning to open their first sale orientated shop in the next year. The new bike shop will be a long-term base for their activities, and they will offer some of their services to paying customers.
Lenkerbande’s operation is currently a volunteer-based association in Austria and this seems to be quite easy for them. Next year they will start their social business, so they will soon know more about life as a social entrepreneur in Austria. They currently struggle a bit it to find experts for specific questions they are now having during their business implementation. They state that this should be improved in the future, since there are many sources available, but it is still hard to find reliable information in Austria. So far there is a good and welcoming atmosphere and many people and institutions are trying to help them on their way.
In their words, bikes don’t grow on trees and you can only really own something, when you know how to repair it. Good enough is still 1000-times better than nothing at all.