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«When a passion becomes a job»

Benjamin Mazenauer is responsible for procuring protected wheeled vehicles and special vehicles, which means he has a particularly important role in the «Bike Support» project. You can read about why the project is very close to his heart and the special challenges associated with it in the interview below.

Joller Romy, specialist area communication, resources and support

Benjamin Mazenauer, project manager for protected wheeled vehicles and special vehicles
Benjamin Mazenauer, project manager for protected wheeled vehicles and special vehicles

Why is the Bike Support project particularly close to your heart? What do you associate with it?

At armasuisse, I’m responsible for procuring protected wheeled vehicles and special vehicles. An incredible contrast, which I greatly appreciate in my daily work. As an enthusiastic mountain biker and racing buff, I’m privileged to be able to integrate my passion in my job time and again.

When we received the request regarding the bicycle support project, we knew that everything would have to be carried out very quickly but nonetheless correctly with regard to procedures. My project team didn’t hesitate for a second. We knew what had to be done and that we could rely on each other unconditionally. That is the main essence of such a project.

How did the collaboration with PubliBike and Rent a Bike come about?

We performed a market analysis based on user requirements. This showed us that the requirements could only be met if significant concessions were made with one particular company. For this reason, we started two pilot projects independently of each other:

On the one hand, we looked for a sharing provider of e-bikes >25 km/h for long distances. We also looked for a solution for renting e-bikes <25 km/h for short distances.
Based on this, we made inquiries at various companies via an invitation procedure.

At Rent a Bike, the cost-benefit ratio was found to be the most suitable after a conclusive benefit analysis. During the pilot project, the collaboration with Rent a Bike proved to be extremely straightforward, service-oriented and professional.

In the city of Berne and the environment, PubliBike offers an area-wide network of e-bikes <25 Km/h as well as normal bikes and was able to win through against the other applicants with a strong cost-benefit ratio.

What were the special challenges in this project?

The many stakeholder groups of the various federal departments. The various, often divergent requirements regarding the end result and in particular the fact that everybody working on the project was themselves a specialist on the subject of bicycles. As a result, I was confronted with around 20 project managers.

As the project was directly launched by the two Federal Councillors, it made it both interesting as well as highly sensitive, as a very large public interest exists in this regard nationwide. In addition, the time constraints could definitely be described as challenging.

Do you make personal use of the offers for bike support? Do you use Rent a Bike or PubliBike for your job mobility needs or rather your own personal bike?

I use PubliBike for short distances. In these times of Covid-19 this solution for trips in the immediate vicinity has turned out to be ideal for me. Free from the risk of being infected, I perceived this new means of transport as an incredible relief in everyday working life.

I use Rent a Bike for discussions and meetings if I have to pedal for longer than 5 minutes.

Have you switched to a different means of transport for winter?

No, in Covid-19 times there is no means of transport that is more suitable. There are very many excuses – all of which, by the way, I know very well myself, and sometimes use.
Personally, I find the time from December to March the most pleasant time of the year to ride a bike. Privately, I «cruise» on my mountain bike through the designated trails in the forests and hold good conversations with colleagues while simply enjoying the landscape and nature. I can thus optimally switch off.

How would you advise your colleagues so that they can use their bikes even during the cold and wet days?

Just try it out and experience the new-found flexibility.

There are bad clothes, but there’s no bad weather.

Never go out without the safety components: Luminous waistcoat, helmet and light are indispensable components on a bike ride.

Has anything unexpected or amusing ever happened to you on one of your bike rides?

I’ve been surprised by animals – squirrels, ground hogs and doe. These are the unexpected pleasant experiences. However, I also once met a mother wild boar, who wasn’t exactly happy to see me. Well anyway, ultimately I was faster.


Brief profile

Benjamin Mazenauer works as project manager for protected wheeled vehicles and special vehicles in the specialist area Vehicles and Power Supply.