Someone who overcomes all resistance to realise his own thing is quite heroic. Just like Dirk Zedler, one of ten heroes of sustainable mobility. An expert jury nominated ten heroes on behalf of Stuttgart’s Ministry of Transport, among them the Ludwigsburg engineer Dirk Zedler. The minister of transport Winfried Hermann now encourages people to vote for their favourite hero.
Dirk Zedler’s dad, a motor vehicle master technician, had a driving school in the Swabian Alp region. After having graduated from high school and after a training as car mechanic son Dirk took up mechanical and automotive engineering studies. But then the student started cycling and practising triathlon consisting of the disciplines swimming, running and cycling. "I noticed very quickly that in the city I was much faster by bicycle than by car", he tells.
The walls in the office rooms of Zedler’s company are decorated with old and new bikes, among them his first road bike. "It still works without problems." As part of the triathlon scene he got into contact with the Ludwigsburg bicycle shop Merz, where he started working – and continued after having finished his studies, as he did not find an engineering job in the cycle industry. A newspaper report on a bicycle expert in Lübeck appointed by the courts, gave him the idea of starting his own business. On April 1, 1993 he started in the child’s room of his flat with a borrowed computer. Orders were placed, in his first year the turnover summed up after all to 33 000 Deutschmark. One year later he was appointed and sworn in as expert. In addition, he publicized articles on technical issues in the special interest press and even today he publishes repair tips among other things in German magazines.
A bicycle museum is planned in the new building
In 1994 he moved with his company to their own offices at Teinacher Strasse in Eglosheim. He bought his first test stands, in 2001 he recruited his first employee. In 2004 he moved to the former bicycle shop Merz at Teichnacher Strasse. In these days he’s planning a new building near by. There he’ll also realise his dream of a bicycle museum. In 2017, when the bicycle will celebrate its 200th birthday the exhibition of old treasures is supposed to open.
The 18 staff members of his institute and loss adjusting office test the latest developments; crash tests and loading tests are conducted in the laboratories. Zedler works for more than 100 companies and draws up 800 experts’ reports per year, including accident damage. Meanwhile, he has also an international reputation. "There are more people who know me in China than in Ludwigsburg", he tells with a laugh.
Zedler has been using his bicycle consistently for more than 30 years now. Whenever possible he tries to do without car. To him the bicycle is an essential component of mobility, in particular the e-bikes had promoted the subject even in an automotive region like Ludwigsburg. After having been awarded the state’s most bicycle friendly employer in 2011 and honoured the medium-sized company award for social responsibility in 2014, Zedler is happy about the nomination as Hero of Mobility.
"As endurance athlete I’ve taken up the challenge", says Zedler who has already crossed the Alps by bike several times and who therefore knows what it means to hold the pace.
Author: Angelika Baumeister
INFO: Vote among the ten candidates for the state’s "Hero of Mobility" until October 25: www.neue-mobilitaet-bw.de/abstimmung. The first three winners will be awarded on November 25.