Swapfiets: A bike subscription well worth it
Prone to flat tires and tired of having to get your bike repaired, or does your bike keep getting stolen and you just have to buy a new one? Swapfiets may be the solution that keeps you cycling.
The Swapfiets idea
Swapfiets is the brainchild of three friends from Delft. The project began in 2014 when Martijn Obers, Dirk de Bruijn and Richard Burger wrote about the idea for their thesis.
Originally, their idea was to import bicycles from France or rent out road bikes, but then a student came along distraught because his bike broke and almost immediately, Swapfiets was born.
It started with 30 bikes on Marktplaats, which were all let out within a few weeks. Then they acquired 120 bikes but from that moment on, they realised they needed to use new bikes to keep the quality consistent and for when it came to repairs and swapping bikes over.
How does it work
Swapfiets is a bike service where you pay a monthly fee in exchange for a robust bike and a support team at the end of a phone call.
If your bike needs maintenance or gets stolen, you’ve got a team willing to come out and help you within 12 hours.
For example, if you discover your bike has a flat tire or your light doesn’t work, they’ll come out and fix it for you.
If they can't fix it within 15 minutes, then they'll give you a new one and take your bike with them to get repaired and give it to someone else.
Swapfiets guarantees that customers will never go more than 2 days without a bike, including if it’s been stolen.
The subscription cost
Students only pay 12 euros for a Swapfiets subscription whereas non-students pay 15 euros.
Of course, you can buy a second hand one for less but then you are always left wondering if it was an honest sale.
About the bike
All bikes are designed by the Swapfiets team but made by bicycle brand Union & Cycletech and have a blue front wheel to make it stand out.
Each bike also comes with two locks and the keys are unique, meaning that one set of keys cannot unlock other Swapfiets bikes, so it feels as if it’s your own.
Popular in student cities
Students make up 80 percent of Swapfiets’ customers, and the company is growing rapidly; in April, 2017, it grew by 22 percent.
Swapfiets are currently active in all major student towns including Delft, Leiden, Groningen, Nijmegen, Utrecht, Eindhoven, and Rotterdam, and will be opening in Tilburg and Amsterdam in the near future.