Yellow "E" Angel – breakdown assistance with the Supercharger.
15.10.2022 | Interview
Christian Skwierawski is an enthusiastic mechanic and a real "petrol-head". He works as a "Yellow Angel" – the German ADAC breakdown association’s name for its roadside patrol men and women – in Berlin and helps drivers and bike riders with flat batteries and punctures. He carries out half of his shifts on his company E-Bike – a Riese & Müller Supercharger. His story shows how deep-set contradictions can be reversed: in the mind.
Hello Christian. When did you start working as a "Yellow Angel" roadside patrol man on your Supercharger?
A colleague introduced me to the idea of using an E-Bike as a company vehicle at the end of 2019. I was desperate to try it out and was immediately impressed. I have been riding the Supercharger since 2020.
How was it at the start – were you worried about switching to the bike?
I have to admit that I would never have thought of an E-Bike myself if I hadn’t been introduced to it through the ADAC. But it’s important to me to be open to new things. That is why I approached it with an open mind, without any preconceptions.
The company bike got me thinking. I don’t start my shift at home, but at my office some 10 kilometres away. That’s no fun on a normal bike but I could imagine commuting that distance on an E-Bike. It’s making less sense to use a car – and I say that as a passionate car driver. The Supercharger is nice to ride and looks quite stylish, and it really could become an option for commuting.
How do people react to a "Yellow Angel" roadside patrol man or woman on an E-Bike?
I really like the fact that so many people notice me and approach me when I’m on my E-Bike. I really like talking to people and am happy to answer all their questions. Lots of people are initially sceptical and ask me whether I can’t provide as much breakdown assistance by not being able to transport as much as in a car. But I keep almost all the tools and instruments that I also carry in my company vehicle in my trailer that is always attached to my bike. The diagnostic unit is the most important piece of equipment that I have with me. And the second most important piece of equipment are the jump leads with an extra battery that I also carry in my trailer.
ADAC has also offered breakdown assistance to bikes for some time. In good weather, my colleagues and I in Berlin have to deal with up to ten service call-outs for faulty bikes. Generally it tends to involve repairing or replacing an inner tube. But I’ve actually not yet had a puncture on my company bike.
» I would never have believed that you would have managed it with your bike and the little trailer ... «
How do you experience Berlin as a bike-riding car driver – and vice versa?
Berlin is a large city and is therefore perfect for an E-Bike, which I also use to travel fairly long distances with relative ease. The distances are too far for a normal bike and I just don’t want to head into the city by car. There’s just too much traffic on the roads and, as a car driver, I really worry about bike riders. That is certainly partly due to that fact that many cycle paths in Berlin are insufficient. As a cyclist, I also experience a lack of consideration from other road users, regardless of the mode of transport, and get overtaken dangerously and verbally abused.
Thanks for talking to us, Christian – have a great ride!
- The ADAC has initially tried using E-Bikes for breakdown assistance in a test phase in a few towns and cities and with various models, including the Riese & Müller Supercharger.
The interest in a Supercharger fleet grew after a discussion with the Riese & Müller Business Unit.
- 15 Superchargers have been used in cities, such as Berlin, Munich, Freiburg, Darmstadt etc. since mid-2022 and others are already being planned. The bikes have special bright yellow paintwork and carry an ADAC logo.