Stathis Stasinopoulos may not have cycled from Athens to Bremen, but it was his bicycles that brought him to the city on the river Weser. Unable to find the perfect folding bicycle for his commute to work on the Athens metro, the mechanical engineer developed his own. The bike, called ‘Folding Project’, is lightweight and comfortable and folds up in five seconds. Stasinopoulos now sells his bicycles across Europe, has moved to Bremen with his family and has founded his own business, Velo Lab GmbH.
He was one of a very small number of people who cycle across Athens to work in the morning. But Stasinopoulos paid little attention to the odd looks from his fellow commuters. The semi-professional cyclist has already covered thousands of kilometres on his bike, although cycling is not a very popular sport in Greece. “Athens simply isn’t a bike-friendly city, as there are very few cycle paths. No one uses a bike there,” he says.
He did, but he could not find the ideal bike for his commute to work, 30 kilometres across the city including a stretch on the metro. Racing bike, mountain bike, city bike – they were either too uncomfortable, too heavy or too unwieldy, so the 41-year-old mechanical engineer decided to build his own in his spare time. The bike, called FP (as in Folding Project), folds up in only five seconds, weighs less than twelve kilograms, and is fast and comfortable. It doesn’t have the usual triangle shape – Stasinopoulos might not have reinvented the folding bicycle, but his design certainly sets it apart from the competition.