“Psst, Fiets kopen?” “Hey man, wanna buy a bike?” Everyone who has been in Amsterdam for longer than a few days has heard a shady person say these words to them at least once. But if the three student-entrepreneurs from LegalBikes have got anything to say about it, the city’s drug addicts are about to lose their main source of income. Bike shops selling second hand bikes for 150 euro and onwards should also fear for their income, as LegalBikes wants to make it easy for everyone to buy a cheap bike, anywhere in the city at anytime, and without fear of getting a criminal record. They are even getting support from Hewlett Packard Enterprise to get them ready for business.
The idea was born out of a frustration familiar to many students: your bike just got stolen, you don’t want a brand new one as that’ll only get nicked straight away, you don’t want to fork out 150 euros for a second hand bike from a shop, but you also don’t want to succumb to the temptation of buying a stolen bike from a junkie from 20 euro. What other options do you have? That’s when UvA Minor Entrepreneurship students Gijs de Groot, Julie van Lieshout and Friso Gramsma found out about the city’s bicycle depot. Friso explains: “Every week there are about 1000 unclaimed bikes that this depot needs to get rid of, as they’ve been there too long. This amounts to 50.000 per year. Some of these are old barrels, but some of them are in great condition, or only need a little bit of fixing”.