This month MyHotelBikes’ Marketing Manager, Elise Loopuijt, had the great opportunity to interview our longest standing mechanic, Martin Trčka, from the Czech Republic. Do you want to get to know Martin? Keep reading and discover what shaped Martin to be the amazing mechanic he is today!
Martin Trčka was born in the beautiful, culturally rich, city of Prague and speaks proudly of his roots. He has a great appreciation for nature and forests especially, therefore he started his bachelor in Prague studying Forestry. After successfully rounding off his bachelor he did an Erasmus year in Wageningen, where he decided to stay and complete a Masters in Forest and Nature Conservation. Eventually Martin was asked to do a PhD in the Forest Ecology Department, in Prague, which he enthusiastically accepted.
– Visiting museums with his MuseumKaart!
– Irony & satire
– Cheese, cheese, and more cheese!
Love at first sight
Martin fell in love with the bicycles, cheese, and the history of the Netherlands. Moving to Amsterdam instantly means being thrown into a deeply rooted cycling culture. This was nothing new for Martin. He described his first experience which inspired him to work with bicycles. At the age of 10, he remembers his uncle fixing the brake levers on his mountain bike. Martin was very impressed by the work his uncle had done, so from that moment on he decided he would start fixing, maintaining, and cleaning his mountain bike himself.
“At the age of 10, he remembers his uncle fixing the brake levers on his mountain bike.”
His affinity for bikes only strengthened while he was studying in the Netherlands. Martin’s kind and giving personality led him to start helping friends fix their bikes, and soon his resourceful attitude led him to set up a company called Mobile Bike Service WageBenne, in Wageningen. He later added the Mobile Bike Beer Service – offering 24/7 services, he did all of this while he was still studying. Can you already tell that we are in the presence of an ambitious entrepreneur and a super handy mechanic here?
The MyHotelBike Adventure
Three years ago, Martin a self-described empath, hard-worker and dreamer started his adventure at MyHotelBike. He decided to pursue a career with bikes, and discontinued his PhD in the Czech Republic. Martin moved to Amsterdam to be closer to his girlfriend, and had applied to several different jobs. Within one week after applying, he began at the first MyHotelBike location on the Overtoom, in the anti-squat building. “I loved that place, we even had a small backyard. At the time I wasn’t expecting anything luxurious and I had everything that I needed”. Self-development is very important to Martin, he enjoys seeing growth.
“I loved that place, we even had a small backyard. At the time I wasn’t expecting anything luxurious and I had everything that I needed.”
When he first started at MyHotelBike the cargo-bikes that were being used were ‘almost wooden’, and now we’re using high-tech equipment. He had a great trainer, that taught him the ins and the outs of the company. “We all have a similar mindset as a team, we all love bikes and strive to provide the best service”, and try to make things better every day. He describes his first impression at MyHotelBike as “very well organized since the beginning, and an ambitious team – so incredibly driven”.
At MyHotelBike Martin doesn’t just have an interesting and dynamic job, he also has a bike family. “We all spend so much time together that we share our problems and victories with each other”. Being an entrepreneur, Martin appreciates that MyHotelBike found the gap in the market, and how it was pursued to become the brand that it is today. A quality especially appreciated by Martin, is the support the company offered when he first started, he was given entrepreneurial and legal advice for his own projects. There was a great vibe from the beginning, and a sense of loyalty in the team. “The whole MyHotelBike team is crazy! Everyday is an adventure”. In hindsight Martin believes leaving the Czech Republic and his PhD was the best thing that he could have done, as it opened many new doors in his life.
Give a Bike & Helpedal
His entrepreneurial drive only grew when Martin became volunteer director of Give a Bike foundation, and founder of Helpedal. “I have always enjoyed restoring old bikes and giving them a second life”. The foundation, which restores old bicycles and donates them to social projects worldwide, interlinks with Martin’s past in nature conservation, as both aim towards achieving a more sustainable future.
Martin wants to “give something back to society, especially in poorer countries and allow people to commute to their job, education, or even just get the bare necessities, such as water”, and all of this by sustainable means of transportation, a bike. Martin has a strong desire to create impactful work, and sees founding Helpedal and working for Give a Bike foundation as his greatest accomplishments so far. He is working on several projects, one in Greece at a cultural centre working with refugees and locals, where Give a Bike sends material for fixing bikes.
“I have always enjoyed restoring old bikes and giving them a second life.”
Additionally, Martin is also looking to launch projects in Uganda and Ghana. Helpedal is a small company that Martin founded, here the core is really a mobile bike service, and he aims to create lasting relationships with loyal customers. All in all, lots of plans!
Martin’s girlfriend is also part of his bike life, she works as a volunteer at the Give a Bike foundation, but it doesn’t end there. Martin and his girlfriend go on yearly bike trips, and explore different islands within the Netherlands. Extremely adventurous, they take their camping gear on their bikes and set off to travel the country by bike. The two of them have also attempted to be romantic, and tried to kiss while riding the bikes next to each other. Unfortunately, they ended up falling pretty badly, and his poor girlfriend almost broke an arm and a leg… Not exactly the expectation they had but definitely another crazy story to share!
– Started a PhD researching the last untouched forests
– Launched his own company Helpedal
– Evolved from volunteer to volunteer director at Give a Bike Foundation
– The most recent book Martin read is ‘Kral Madagaskaru’ (King of Madagascar)
– Enjoys listening to Reggae
So what is cycling like in Prague?
People are cycling more and more in Prague, and there is an increase in investments being made to encourage the cycling culture. However, at the moment the cycling culture is quite restricted to weekend cycling trips, and the focus of a bike ride is more of a leisure activity and a sight-seeing outing. It isn’t considered transportation, YET. Martin believes that before the cycling culture can be truly adapted, the city needs the infrastructure. So not every city, like Amsterdam, has adapted to boost biking from A to B, but who knows what the future will hold. Perhaps, together we can influence a cycling culture across the globe!