For our interview I was welcomed by a young woman, who seemed very pleasant to me from the first minute. Even before the actual interview, while preparing a freshly brewed cup of coffee, it emanated from her and you could immediately sense that she puts her heart and soul into her job.
Annis Bicycleshop (Annis Fahrrad Laden) can be found at Jungfernstieg 21, in the backyard, easily recognizable by the red logo hanging over the driveway. The store consists of a small sales area and a sitting corner where the consultations take place. However, the most important part is the workshop, where she does all the assembly work and repairs for her customers.
Currently, Anni works together with an employee in her store. Before she could do this however, there was a lot of work and difficulties to master. At first, a business plan had to be developed to get the necessary initial capital from the bank and suitable premises were searched and found.
The premises were previously used by a metal fabrication company and heavy machinery had to be laboriously removed and disposed of. Large holes in the floor were patched, the walls were re-plastered and painted. Thanks to the many friends who helped Anni, everything went very smoothly and with no major problems. Now you can hardly see any more of all the work and the place looks just like you would imagine a bike store with a workshop.
If you would like to buy a bike at Anni’s, you will be consulted honestly and thoroughly. E-bikes are not found in her shop, because she likes to leave this area to people who are specialized in it. When asked what she thinks about e-bikes, she answers:
“Certainly e-bikes are a great and also helpful invention for people who are not quite as fit or simply want to get from A to B in a more comfortable way, but they are also much more fragile and above all more expensive than conventional bikes. With a cargo bike, an auxiliary motor certainly still makes sense when you transport your child or heavy objects over long distances, but anything else is not my thing. Bicycle is bicycle and e-bike is e-bike”.
Annika Koch, so her real name, was born in ’78 and grew up as one of four daughters in Preetz. Since she was six years old, she has been a passionate racing-cyclist and mechanic and has been interested in cycling since an incredibly early age. In ’85 she even became national champion in cycling.
At the age of 17 she did a year’s internship in a hospital in Preetz, followed by an apprenticeship as a nurse. She passed her state examination at the University Hospital of Lübeck and subsequently worked for another three years as a nurse at the University Hospital of Kiel (Kiel UniKlinik).
Due to the extensive overtime and the ongoing psychological stress, her body took eventually its toll. In addition, she could not and did not want to reconcile the conditions that prevail in nursing with her conscience and left the University Hospital in Kiel.
Before she became the first and currently the only female bicycle mechanic in Kiel to set up her own business two years ago, specializing in quality bicycles, she completed an internship in a Kiel bicycle store with subsequent retraining in Hamburg. This was followed by an apprenticeship as a bicycle mechanic at “Fahrradies – Rainer Jansen”, a renowned bicycle store and repair service in Kiel, which unfortunately no longer exists. So Anni learned her job from scratch, something you can notice immediately from her consultations. She is a real expert and knows what she is talking about. Quality is especially important to her, which is why you can find mostly branded bikes in her store. Her repair service, on the other hand, is very precise and at a fair price, even for non-brand bikes.
“You get your vacation from something you don’t like” was the answer to my question: “What do you do to relax when the day has had 16 hours or you have worked for 14 days in a row?”, which according to Anni is by no means uncommon.
Anni is a perfectionist when it comes to her job and does every job to the best of her ability. “I must be able to hand over the bike to the customer with a clear conscience after a repair, otherwise I’m not satisfied,” she says.
When asked what she is most bothered about as a cyclist on the road, Anni answered: “About the chronic non-indicators who simply take away your right of way when they make abrupt turns. Since you usually have hardly any time to react, this often leads to extremely dangerous situations”.
Anni answered the last question about what she liked most about cycling like a shot out of the gun: “To feel the wind and the sun on your skin. You can stop wherever you want. You do good things for your body and the environment. You get around the city much faster than by car or bus and you can enjoy the landscape much better and arrive at your destination much more relaxed.”
Inh. Annika Koch
Tue to Fri 12:00pm – 7:00pm
Saturday 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Text / design / photos: Helmut Joppek