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Back on track after the robbery

Hans Wüthrich has turned his hobby into his job. The former amateur cycle racer has run Rennshop Wüthrich in Burgdorf for more than 40 years. In 2015, a burglary put a damper on the pleasure he derives from the business – but thank heavens he is insured with Helvetia. And luckily the burglars were not very smart.

19 June 2017, text: Isabella Awad, photo: Fabian Unternährer

Martin Wüthrich explains to Oliver Hänni how a green mountain bike works. Hans Wüthrich stands next to them looking on.
Customer Advisor Oliver Hänni advises Martin and Hans Wüthrich in matters of insurance. In cycling-related matters, Hänni puts his trust in the two professionals.

In the night of 15th to 16th August 2015, three men gained access to Rennshop Wüthrich in Burgdorf. Through a concealed side door, they manoeuvred 40 expensive mountain bikes onto the forecourt, where they had parked the stolen lorry. But only 28 bikes fitted into the truck, and they were forced to leave the other 12 behind. In the annexe the Wüthrichs slept through it all without noticing the slightest disturbance. Next morning, Hans Wüthrich almost had a heart attack when he opened the glass door to his shop. He immediately called the police.

Fortune in misfortune

What the victim did not know at the time was that the three thieves had been snapped by a speed camera shortly after setting off in the direction of Zurich. The police tracked down the lorry the next day in Oensingen and arrested the three men. “We got all the bikes back, slightly damaged, but all the same,” says Hans Wüthrich. His Helvetia advisor and friend, Oliver Hänni, started sorting things out straight away. “The fact that the Rennshop did not have an alarm system at the time of the burglary was a disadvantage in terms of insurance. But in the end we found a solution that suited everyone,” says Oliver Hänni. Hans Wüthrich is convinced that the burglars had reconnoitred the shop in advance; the concealed door is not actually visible from outside. It was a big blow in the 40-year history of the Rennshop.

500 square metres of cycling heaven

Looking back: In 1975 Hans turned his hobby into a job and together with his wife Annerös he founded the Rennshop (Race Shop) in Burgdorf. For 14 years, he won medals as a racing cyclist and for eight of those years he was even competing at the elite level. “Actually at the age of 25, I was just looking for a half-time job alongside my bike racing. Then the idea came up to start something of our own.” The shop covering 500 square metres makes bikers’ eyes sparkle. Sleek racing bikes in purple, neon orange and bright green, smart city and mountain bikes, children’s bikes, some clothing and above all high-quality cycling shoes and accessories. There’s something for everyone at Wüthrich, from the school-age child through to the ambitious athlete.

Billy Whizz from Burgdorf

At the beginning of August 2016, the Rennshop celebrated its 49th anniversary. They can look back on a long period of intensive activity, says Hans Wüthrich. His wife has now stepped back from the business – she was primarily responsible for the administration. In 2015, Hans Wüthrich handed the management of the business over to his son Martin. Martin lives in Taiwan for half of the year and works from there. Once a week, father and son get together via Skype. “I have worked for various bike companies in Taiwan for 13 years. From April I will be devoting myself exclusively to the Rennshop,” says Martin Wüthrich.

All customers are welcome

The advice given in the Rennshop is first class. Each bike is adjusted to suit its owner. But the Wüthrichs also repair bikes that customers have ordered cheaply over the Internet. The boss has a modern mindset: “We treat every customer the same way, even if we notice that someone just wants information so that they can then buy online – it’s the spirit of the age.” The Rennshop itself has a strong presence on social media, with its Facebook page being particularly popular. Hans Wüthrich and his five employees introduce themselves by video on their website. One of the mechanics actually designs his own bikes.

… and after closing time, a bike tour

Along with all the digital stuff, customers are also offered something analogue: For many years now, on Thursday evenings, Hans Wüthrich has met up with a few customers who have the time and inclination to go on a bike ride. Oliver Hänni is also part of the group whenever possible. Hans Wüthrich has since put the burglary behind him. The store now features a state-of-the-art alarm system, allowing him to sleep well at night and dream of wonderful cycling tours.

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