Throughout the Profile Series so far we have explored the lives of some inspirational Londoners and dug a little deeper into the stories behind their success. For our first foray overseas we travel to Hamburg to meet Dorothee Heine, owner of Two Wheels Good, which combines beautiful urban bike stores alongside a cycling advocacy and marketing agency. Doro talked to us about what makes a perfect day in Hamburg, what great design is all about and her philosophy behind turning bike shops into a retailing experience.
What was the inspiration behind opening your own bike store?
Riding the bike was always part of my everyday life. When I studied in the Netherlands it became even more important. After returning to Germany I tried to buy a new bike and became very frustrated when I saw how bikes were presented and what kind of bikes were sold. Jobwise I had to travel a lot and I saw how beautiful shops can look like: carefully selected items presented in a thought-out way. Where one can feel the owner´s passion for what he or she is doing. The crucial impetus came from my husband - he said I had to stop complaining and to do it better instead. Here I am now with two bike shops and a bike mobility agency.
How would you describe the philosophy of Two Wheels Good?
We call our concept „curated selling“. Every piece is special and has an origin or story to tell. The moment you enter one of our shops you feel immediately what we are aiming at. Every bike, every helmet, every lock has its own „stage“: they are presented on white platforms and have space to show their beauty. Quality and design is what is most important to us.
If you were designing the perfect day and evening for someone to spend in Hamburg, what would it involve?
The perfect day in Hamburg starts with the best cappuccino and croissant in town at erste liebe bar. While enjoying the coffee you can read a selection of rare magazines. Followed by a stroll through the neighboring galleries on Fleetinsel. After a ride along the lake Alster I suggest to do some shopping in Eppendorf. A lovely district with many small shops and cafes.
Kleines Phi Bar, Hamburg
How would you describe your own personal sense of style?
Quality over quantity. If possible there is no branding visible. Concerning fashion: there is no excuse not to wear pencil skirts and high heels on the bike.
If you could wave a magic wand over Hamburg and make one thing happen for the city’s cyclists, what would it be?
Hamburg is investing quite a lot into the bike infrastructure. For example new bike lanes are build but unfortunately many commuting routes are still for cars only. That makes it quite difficult, even dangerous for cyclists. One of my bike-agency's main goals is to get more people to ride and love bicycles. And in addition to accomplish an awareness for cyclists needs: that involves more and broader bike lanes, more parking space for bikes and more communication in order to make our cities suitable for all road users.
Of course our role model is Copenhagen where everbody rides the bike and where this way of locomotion is promoted for ages.
You seem to have a passion for all things design-related, what piece of design (unrelated to cycling) do you love the most?
My matt black Vipp kitchen. I love it. We discovered it during one of our trips to Copenhagen where Vipp is situated. The kitchen is well designed down to the last detail and of outstanding quality. But most important it is very functional, not only decorative. I have a lot of space to prepare the food - even my three year old son can sit on the top of the island and help me cook.
Two Wheels Good, Hamburg
What was your first ever bike?
Hercules mixed frame in metallic white 8 gear.
Which bike do you ride now?
My „omafiets“, my Nihola family transportation bike and my 70´s mixed frame with Campagnolo parts, custom painting in mint green with silver lines.
Which Velominati rule are you most guilty of breaking?
Rule # 11Family does not come first. The bike does.
If money were no object, what would you buy for yourself?
A holiday house in Italy.