Yesterday you could still withdraw money here, today you can buy a bike. The elegant shop in the heart of the pedestrian zone in the centre of Brussels has changed in no time from an everyday bank to a contemporary Velofixer bicycle shop.
The transformation has been so successful that you completely forget that you once had to stand in line for banknotes. Is it a sign of the times? Velofixer itself is completely different than the old location on rue des Pierres, a bit further down the road, where you almost had to clamber over bicycles to get around the shop.
The new shop is bathed in light and can even be described as elegant thanks to a number of cast iron pillars. There are rows and rows of electric bikes, folding bikes, and carrier cycles. Around the walls, you’ll find saddles, handlebars, backpacks, and caps. And at the back of the shop, there is a repair workshop that runs non-stop.
Amor Mistiaen of Velofixer can hardly keep up with the demand. The business is growing at an incredible pace, with up to 50 percent more turnover every year. “Cyclists in the city are very demanding,” Mistiaen says. “In the countryside, people often just use their bicycles to go for a ride or to pick something up at the bakery. Our customers here don’t own cars and have to do everything by bike. So they need their bicycles to be in optimal condition every day.”
And you can tell. There is a constant stream of customers who know what they want. And they are helped here by bike repairers who know what they’re doing. A few months ago, a bike park opened a few metres down the road, under place de la Bourse. Where cars used to fight for space, bicycles now set the tone. Ours is clearly an age dominated by two wheels. Time to hop on.