April is upon us, meaning that the streets are again getting packed with cyclists. Somehow now that I work at Vapaus I’ve been paying attention to that trend a lot more than usual, and it really is crazy how the landscape changed from one day to the next.
Granted, we all know that “takatalvi” and more snow are coming very soon. But still. The sun is shining, we can see the ground again (how weird is that?) and it seems like it’s time to bike again.
Honestly… 2 months ago? I did make some meagre attempts to urge you to buy a bike in the middle of winter, but it seems that the first hints of spring were a lot more convincing than I could ever be. And when everyone is trying to purchase the same thing at the same time, it of course makes it more difficult for us to provide awesome & quick service, and for you to find the bike you really want.
Everyone at Vapaus remembers the craziness of the last season, and it’s an understatement to say that we’re starting to feel its effects again.
Besides the spring rush, you most likely have heard about the scarcity of bikes and bike parts, and this of course affects our business as well.
But fear not. There are bikes for everyone, and we are here to help. It’s all about flexibility and finding the right place to get it from.
We’re fairly open when it comes to where you can get your bike from. However, I’ll now go through all options so you have every bit of information you need in order to decide which one is the best for you.
What happens to Vapaus bikes after they have been returned after their lease? The answer is simple: we check them, clean them, recondition what needs to be, and make them available again for leasing purposes. Bikes just love being ridden.
Obviously, the availability of bikes in our Precycled shop depends a lot on what bikes have been previously chosen by our beneficiaries, and which of those have been returned. So whilst it’s likely that you won’t find exactly what you had in mind, those bikes are cheaper than the market price and you get to give a second life to a bike instead of manufacturing a new one.
No idea what bike you want in the first place? This is where you should look.
I often hear in interviews from people who don’t live in Helsinki that they aren’t able to try out their bike before purchasing it. This is a myth! We have partner shops all around the country who are more than happy to welcome you and help you find the right bike.
This option is by far the most convenient as you won’t need to rely on our personnel to help you find the right bike or order it right when you want it. And what better than being with an actual bike expert to help you make the right decision? Especially when it comes to choosing the right size for you, it can make all the difference to just jump on the bike and see how it feels.
Long story short: our partner shops are amazing at what they do, and we can only recommend that you give them a visit.
A lot of our customers have a very precise idea of what they want and don’t need to be told by anyone what’s right for them. For you, we also have the option to purchase a bike from most EU online stores. We do have a list of shops we recommend for their reliability and efficiency, but you’re welcome to ask about any other shop that has what you want.
Ordering from an online shop is of course a great option when you’re looking for something very specific that is not available from the previously-listed options, but it comes with additional handling and/or delivery costs, as the order process is handled by our team on a case-by-case basis. It’s also important to understand that Vapaus does not have access to the inventory of those shops, making it difficult to ensure that it’s possible for us to purchase the bike you want, even if it looks available at the time you place your order.
Long story short: we recommend that you avoid online orders if other, simpler & faster options are available to you.
This being said, whilst the Precycled shop & partners are very straightforward to work with, it makes sense to clarify how the online ordering process works so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
First, you’ll be asked to create a Vapaus account, which in itself is a very simple process.
To be able to view the bike benefit information, you’ll be asked to verify at least your email address and your personal identity number. Depending on your company’s rules, you may also need to provide other information.
Note that this step is also mandatory when leasing a bike from our Precycled or partner stores.
Once your account is all set-up, you’ll have access to an order form. In the order form, you will be able to send us links to the bike you want as well as the accessories that go with it - as long as they come from the same webshop.
At this point, you’ll also need to specify where the bike should be delivered, whether you’d like to have a maintenance budget in your package, etc.
Click: your order is confirmed.
When an order has been sent, it lands onto our Customer Care team’s table. As already clarified above, that’s a pretty big table. Raclette-for-20 style.
When they reach your bike order, they first have to verify all the information you have provided against the tax administration rules, and enter it in our system. Once that is done, you will receive an email containing the same details you had provided, and will be asked to confirm it in the Vapaus app by entering a unique code you’ll find in the same email.
It’s finally at that point that our team will be able to order bikes from the shop. And as you can already guess, there’s a chance that the bike you wanted isn’t in stock anymore.
To save some time and avoid back-and-forth messaging which will make our time even more scarce in this challenging season, a pro tip: if you know you’re ordering from a very popular website, don’t hesitate to send us several colours & references you’d like, in priority order. That will ensure that we have more than just one option to work with, and shorten the time between your order and the day you can ride on your new benefit bike.
One quick & simple thing you can do to get the process started: create your Vapaus account! With a verified account and access to all the documentation about our service, instructions & FAQs, it will be even easier to decide which way to go when you’re ready to ride.
Vapaus, with its impactful Benefit Bike service, was selected among four gold winners on October 26 in the 5th edition of the European Startup Prize for Mobility, out of over 700 applicants.
Our customer service is here to help if you have a question or need help picking the right bike for you. Online orders are made in the Vapaus app.
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