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That electric bikes are on a serious rise is something they feel at bike shop RAIDA like no other. The company started up eight years ago, when electric bicycles were still the exception rather than the rule. Since then RAIDA has opened 13 bike shops across Flanders.

RAIDA started under the name Cool Electro Cycles. "In the beginning, we only sold electric bikes," says managing director Nico Baertsoen. "As we expanded our range to include non-electric bikes after a few years, a name change was imminent.

That's why we chose the name RAIDA 2 years ago. You can come to us for all types of bikes: from cargo bikes and city bikes to sports bikes. But electric bikes are still our core business, accounting for 80% of our turnover."

The corona crisis has had its fair share of the pedelec success story. "When we started RAIDA eight years ago, customers still had to be convinced to opt for a pedelec after all. That worked better and better year after year, until sales really exploded during the corona crisis. Everyone then suddenly had time to cycle and got a taste for continuing to do so. But cycling was sometimes inconvenient and electric bikes proved to be the solution to that." And even after that, the market continued to evolve. "An electric bike has now become a mobility solution: it is an alternative to wasting time with your car in heavy traffic."

"An electric bike has become a mobility solution. It is an alternative to wasting time with your car in heavy traffic." - Nico Baertsoen


RAIDA also targets customers who use an electric bike for commuting. "For many customers, going to work by bike used not to be an option: the distance was too far and cycling too difficult, causing them to arrive at work sweaty. An electric bike is the solution for them to still be able to cycle to work. It is a moment of relaxation before and after work, users can enjoy quiet paths and roads, AND employees are paid per kilometre for it. The fact that electric bikes can increasingly be added to a cafeteria plan also contributes to the popularity of the electric bike. "

In the shops, you will not only find the bikes themselves, but also all kinds of accessories and gear, from clothing and helmets to bags and lights. "We mainly focus on the experience on the bike. Sports bikes are also in our range, but for that, sports cyclists mainly flock to our shops in Torhout and Aartrijke, where we have the widest sports offering provided."

RAIDA sells about 5,000 bikes annually. "One-fifth of these are speed pedelecs. We also bet heavily on leasing, which accounts for about half of our turnover. Employees get a bike from their employer, which they can buy after three years at a very advantageous price. We mainly work with smaller companies and SMEs, which then send their employees exclusively to us. A huge success it is: 90% of those who lease their bike from us also buy it after 3 years
to. Users have a taste for it ánd they want to take advantage of that advantageous rate." Meanwhile, 51 people work at RAIDA, partly in the shops, but also in technical, administrative or logistics positions. (JM - VOKA)


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