I:SY CENTER - Nico Wünsche
“Ick bin Urberliner!”
Nico was born and raised in the DDR: 40 years ago in Pankow, East Berlin.
I’m an original Berlin guy — If we speak in German, you will hear it: I have a classic old dialect.
Meeting people anywhere in Germany, they hear me and always ask… 'Berlin?'
I cannot put my dialect away!”
Cars are not our Future.
It was his first career, “a lifetime!” Nico started out in the automotive industry, working his way up from a humble mechanic, to sales rep, to sales manager. Although it was admittedly a fulfilling job, he increasingly began to question his own role in climate change, and how he could do something to improve the state of affairs.
Eventually he said ‘it’s not a good thing if I sell more cars, or if my team sells a lot of cars. That will not be the future for our planet.’ Nico changed his entire business, deciding ‘no more will I be a part of selling and bringing more cars onto the streets of Berlin’”
As a lifelong passionate cyclist, 7 years ago he sold the last of his cars and took the leap to open his own bike shop! Utilising his mechanical expertise, but with a vision of community, people and conversation, his first store was a small boutique specialising in building custom bikes — as it grew, last year he opened a coffee bike shop cooperative by the Jüdisches Museum, and now most recently, an eBike concept store here in Mitte last year.
Hey man you can drink a good coffee here too!
It was his first experience in opening a coffee and cycling shop, and Nico, who isn’t a coffee drinker himself, nevertheless finds the two very compatible: “It’s funny, all the people in my family, my friends, my business partners love coffee. So here in the shop we also have a beautiful coffee machine, for people with eBikes it’s all part of a good conversation, and having a good time.”
There is no problem, it’s only in your head!
“Now I’ve sold all my cars, I ride my bike every day. I’ve made my own change. So if everybody had a discussion about climate, I can say ‘you can do it, you have only to do it by yourself’” The decision to sell eBike’s wasn’t a commercial decision for Nico, he says that it’s important that somebody does it, and not to wait, and only later lament that people should have cycled more to mitigate climate change. His mission is to replace dependency on cars, and have more bikes being ridden daily on the streets.
If you want to change your life (and I’ve done it twice in my lifetime!) take big decisions.
So if you’re not happy with the things around you — whether it’s your job or the area where you live — you should do it.
If you go around and over this wall… you will always find new solutions and possibilities.”
Nico celebrates every new rider as a success; whether it’s someone who has spent a whole summer commuting with a bike, 6months, or 10months, or several years — “that’s one car less on Berlin streets”. He feels that it increasingly shows the government that every day more and more people are choosing to swap a car for a bike, and that it’s a truly viable approach towards reducing carbon emissions.
“You just have to use your own two legs, and your own body”
It’s fulfilling for Nico to in some way change people's lives and enable them to better stay healthy. He has noticed a big shift as of late, a renaissance of sorts, for cycling — from all cultures, all different peoples, from many generations. There are now people saying “ok … it doesn’t matter what other people say, I am not old, and I am cycling a lot…”
I have some really old clients — maybe even living a second spring (or third or fourth I don’t know!)… they might have quit cycling in the past because of some problem with their knees or whatever, and yet now they’re sitting on an eBike and able to ride once again.
Some of these people are now even in their 70s, but they the have a shining in their eyes like that of a 10 year old… It’s a really cool feeling!”