Since April 20, 2021, I am the happy renter of a bike Swapfiets with a blue front wheel of the most beautiful effect. I ride 8 km per day on average, it may be a detail for you but for me it means a lot: I found the silhouette, the desire, the passion of my 20 years. Actually, no, not at all. But I really like my bike and I’ll explain why.
So last spring, 2021, as I had been talking for months about getting back on a bike and the apps on our phones have ears, I was bombarded with targeted ads on Instagram and Facebook for Dutch bike rental giant Swapfiets , which has 220,000 customers in 6 countries (the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Denmark). Pubs all the more relevant for the moment since Swapfiets had just landed in Strasbourg, Lyon, Nantes or Toulouse.
Vél’Hop unbeatable in terms of prices
“A bike that rocks cheaper than the price of the gym you never go to,” one of the last ads swayed me. In fact, their biclos have the mouth. And the gym, crossfit, has been a distant horizon for me for a long time — something for after my reincarnation, for example.
The price of 16.90 per month for the basic bike is not crazy. Especially in the city of Vel’Hop : on paper, the à la carte rental service in the Eurometropolis is exploding the Dutch giant in terms of annual prices : €84 for the first, €95 for the second, €110 for the following ones (there is a waiting list, however, the long-term rental has been a victim of its own success). But a stolen Swapfiets is 40 € deductible, for the basic model. For a Vél’Hop, it is the collection of the security deposit: €150 for a standard bike. Ouch.
But a theft and breakdown insurance at Swapfiets
Above all, the price of the Dutch giant includes on-site troubleshooting in the event of a galley and the small repairs that punctuate the daily life of a cyclist.
Since I have a bad habit of getting my bikes stolen, already 3 on my list, I’m going to try Swapfiets for a month or two and we’ll see, I said to myself. I specify that I paid my subscription without expense reports, like a regular subscriber. After a few months I was already happy with the service. And the subscription went to €12.90 without me asking for anything. Yeah, it’s unheard of (and it obviously didn’t last, the price went back to €16.90 I see). A year later, I am conquered, in particular by the simplicity of everything.
Registration and withdrawal of the bike: no problem
Online registration was hassle-free. It still took the intervention of the support to fix the appointment in store (you can also have it delivered if you are lazy). In the shop, 34, rue du Faubourg-de-Pierre, in place of the old MBK shop, everything was done in 5 minutes. The employee was super nice, he prepared my bike for me and invited me to try it.
Especially because the Dutch models are backpedaling. We slow down by backpedaling and we stop with the brake which is on the right. It’s confusing at first but you quickly get the hang of it.
Then it’s an Omafiets base from WorkCycles, with an “open” frame without a top tube – so a grandmother’s bike, the gossips will say. A comfortable bike, with a very upright position. Mudguard, dynamo, anti-theft chain wrapped under the saddle and integrated wheel lock, there is everything you need. The key stays in place while riding and only comes off once the bike is securely fastened. Smart.
Not a bike for kékés who perform on Strava
A few work-sleep cycles in the legs, I was already conquered. Please note, this is a bike for quiet riding, easy to use and robust. Not a thing for racing delivery guys.
Originally, I thought I would eventually go back to Vél’Hop. And no, I’m happy with the frame and the service. After a few months, I had a glitch on a wheel that deflated overnight. I went back to the store in the morning, without an appointment, they changed it for me without a hitch, without question. Whenever I need to inflate my wheels a little, adjust my saddle, I go quickly. My fear of having another bike stolen is gone. Peace of mind and ease of use taken into account, the price now seems fair to me.
If Vél’Hop switched to a bike with a wheel block – therefore less likely to be mowed down – and reviewed the price of the franchise-theft, I would (perhaps) ask myself the question. We will see how the service evolves with the renewal of the DSP.
The Swapfiets promo video (you don’t have to believe it).
We would love to say thanks to the author of this short article for this amazing material
Mobilities. Swapfiets: the bike subscription tested for you
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