Julian Walkowiak – United in Cycling

Julian and his team from United in Cycling started off as an NGO promoting cycling and human rights with their “Ride for your Rights” from Serbia to Russia, Luxembourg to Belgium and from Austria to Turkey (see: http://www.rideforyourrights.org). Now Julian, Patrick and Fernanda (middle, left and right in the picture) are starting their next journey. After winning the idea competition for the new Vienna district Seestadt they moved there to open a space for bicycle beginners, enthusiasts and even coffee lovers. We asked Julian about starting United in Cycling as a business and the participation in our Accelerate program.

When did you become a member of Impact Hub Vienna / join the Impact Hub Vienna Accelerate Program and what attracted you to the community?

We joined the Impact Hub and Accelerate Program in March, right after having won the idea competition for the Seestadt OrchIdee venue. The Impact Hub seemed like the perfect place to be to get rolling with our business.

What was one of the most important things you learned from the accelerate program?

That it is perfectly fine to charge an adequate market price for a quality product or service that you offer. We were so used to barely charging people anything for our services because we simply love doing what we are doing so much that money was never really an important factor. It feels strange to adapt to market prices now. However, we realised it is absolutely necessary and the only way for turning a dream into a sustainable business.

What did you want to do when you were a kid?

I always wanted to be the fastest person on the planet. I think I had a thing for speed. Working with bikes now makes sense in a way. And training kids on bikes makes even more sense now, as I have somehow missed out on my own childhood dream. Don’t ask me why.

What is an absolutely random fact about you that everybody should know?

I once held Harrison Ford’s keys to his motorbike in my hands but then he suddenly pulled an Indiana Jones move on me and got them back.

What is the project you are currently working on? 

It’s called United In Cycling and will hopefully become the new hotspot in town and cause a major impact in the long run. It’s all about getting people on their bikes and enjoy the cycling culture.

What was your most recent success? 

I’ve dared to start my own business. Not an easy one but it feels damn good to stay focused and to know what to aim for. Whenever you’ve achieved a small step or received a very “happy note” like having won a grant for example, you gain this immense energy boost and forget about all the incredible and lame regulations and restrictions about anything and everything in the Austrian start up landscape. At least for a moment and the duration of your happy drink. Our biggest and most recent success was getting a grant for setting up a pretty cool bike sharing system for kids. You can read up on it on our website soon.

What is the Impact You want to have in the next years?

With United In Cycling we aim for a significant increase of people using their bikes as a means of transport in the city. It all starts with educating the kids. Hence, we hope to cause a major impact on the attitude of parents and kids regarding all the benefits of this beautiful invention called bicycle. To be more precise – we want to see  50 % of the people living in Seestadt Aspern  using their bicycles. Take that for a challenge, a vision and a serious work package 😉

Matthias Reisinger IMPACT IS… Doing what makes you come alive in a way it contributes to more than just yourself. WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE BECOMING PART OF THE IMPACT HUB VIENNA TEAM I was finishing my studies and building up emersense, the NGO which gave birth to the Hub WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Prototyping the new way of doing business WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HAVE ACHIEVED AS PART OF THE IHV TEAM BY THE END OF THE YEAR? Hosting the impact eco-system in Austria and bringing it to the next level WHAT DOES YOUR PERFECT SUNDAY LOOK LIKE? Excercize + Chillaxation + Good Food & Good Movie in Good Company WHAT IS AN ABSOLUTELY RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOU THAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW? When I was learning the piano as a child, I refused to learn the music pieces I was supposed to, but only wanted to play my own compositions PLACE OF BIRTH? Linz, Austria LANGUAGES YOU SPEAK? German, English, French

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