Photo: © NBTC / Bring yourself
Bring yourself

Second-chance bicycles by Roetz

Many of the products we use end up in the trash. At Roetz-Bikes we make new bicycles from old bicycle frames. Made locally by people with hidden talents. We believe in second chances for people and materials and want to prove that things can be done differently.

Bring yourself, Laurens will do the same

Laurens Nolet is 37. He is general manager at Roetz Bikes in Amsterdam.

I get a real buzz from knowing that I contribute every day to reducing the use of raw materials. It makes me happy to produce something quite valuable with supposedly worthless material. It’s also quite satisfying when someone without any experience in bicycle mechanics moves on to a full-fledged job at Urban Arrow after our training program. We always see possibilities instead of limitations.

Hidden talents

We produce the bikes with mechanics who have a 'hidden' talent. Talent that might have been temporarily unused or previously untapped. At Roetz we put these people in the places that are right for them and provide a learning trajectory to help them on their way, for example, to another job. You can obtain various certificates here, from handling materials and tools to an emergency response course or a forklift diploma. All of these things are a great help in preparing for the next step in someone’s career..

People who come to work in the bicycle factory in Amsterdam often have little or no knowledge of bicycle tech. Our solution to this is something called job carving. The production process is divided into different tasks, which in themselves are easy and simple to perform. When all those tasks are put together, you end up with a complete bike. Because you start with small tasks as a mechanic, you build confidence and enjoy going to work more. The chance that you will move on to a permanent job is therefore greater.

Where bicycles are no longer a disposable product but can go through several life cycles.

Orphaned bicycles

What started it off at Roetz was the waste mountain of 'orphaned bicycles' in the city. Municipal bicycle depots are full of them. They are eventually destroyed or taken to other countries. With our circular mission, we want to contribute to the reuse of raw materials such as steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. We now manage to do this for 30 to 80 percent of the weight of the bike, depending on the final product. New parts on a bicycle consist of organic material, for example beechwood mudguards and cork grips.

One development we’re currently working on is creating a new bicycle that is fully modular and circular. It is really designed to keep up with technological developments. When bicycles come back to us they are upgraded for another new owner. We also want to promote awareness in the bicycle industry for approaching product design in a different way – where bicycles are no longer a disposable product but can go through several life cycles.

Open space

We have a big mission and we can't do it alone. We don't have all the answers either. Full circularity is very difficult to achieve and we don’t have solutions for everything yet. That’s why we also want to be an open space and inspire others. To achieve that circular and social future we all want and to improve a little more every day.

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