House calls by Cargo Bike: Jonas is changing things
13.06.2022 | General
Jonas Eiken packs plenty of equipment onto his Cargo Bike: treatment couch, training weights, resistance bands. The Cologne-based physiotherapist has come up with a special treatment concept – and hit the spot with it.
Jonas Eiken lives and works in Cologne. He moved to the cathedral city on the Rhine a good 10 years ago to study physiotherapy. After finishing his degree, he gained his first professional experience in a conventional physiotherapy practice and quickly found that he was unhappy with this way of working.
“In most practices, it’s like our patients are on a conveyor belt,” says the 29-year-old. “We treat patients in short 15 to 20-minute long sessions and as soon as we have finished with one person, the next one is already waiting at the door.” Jonas soon started feeling burned out so wanted to work differently, more sustainably and in a healthier manner, for both the therapist and patient. Patients also often travel for up to an hour for each treatment session, many of them by car.
So he came up with the idea for Veedelphysio. “My concept revolved around using a Cargo Bike to travel to patients' homes from the outset: Many people are grateful that I can visit them at home because of their long working hours and the fact that they don’t have an extra journey,” Jonas explains. In Cologne, he can reduce his travel time by up to 30% using a Cargo Bike compared to a car. The bike means that he can take shortcuts and does not need to spend time looking for a parking space. Jonas covered an impressive 5,000 kilometres in his “Veedel” (Cologne dialect for city neighbourhood) last year on his Cargo Bike. He has calculated that this has saved more than 700 kg of carbon emissions.
“A Cargo Bike is much more manoeuvrable than a car. Shopping is also much quicker. And I have more time to recharge my batteries. Driving often generates negative stress for me, while cycling is synonymous with positive recovery,” continues Jonas.
Switching off and clearing the mind
Travelling between appointments gives Jonas important and welcome breaks. He can switch off when riding his bike, relax his body and clear his mind. He treats a maximum of six patients per day – a conscious decision to counteract the increasingly fast pace at which his profession works.
Treatment sessions also last significantly longer than conventional physiotherapy. Jonas and his two colleagues Fabian and Leon spend more time with their patients. A treatment takes at least an hour, three times the average physio session. Jonas wants to keep it this way: “I like things moving slowly. I don't treat more than 30 patients a week,” he explains.
An approach that makes sense: “People work extremely long hours, especially here in Cologne. This leads to back problems for many people. People also suffer problems with their lumbar and cervical vertebrae.” Jonas therefore often provides preventative treatment to counteract early signs of degeneration. “Incidentally, the range of movements involved in cycling is also excellent for combating these complaints,” he reports.
» Physiotherapy takes time. It needs to be personal and people should not be treated like they are on a conveyor belt. «
A Cargo Bike grant recently enabled Jonas to purchase another Cargo Bike, a Load 60, in addition to his Riese & Müller Packster, with which he has already covered over 8,500 kilometres in eighteen months. He fitted custom-made cargo boxes to both bikes with help from a local shop. They are made-to-measure for his equipment. The equipment weighs more than 15 kg and fits inside and on top of the box. He straps the treatment couch on top. Both Cargo Bikes provide ideal platforms for this with plenty of space for creative ways of transporting things.
Jonas fondly remembers his first test ride on an E-Cargo Bike: “It wasn't anything like the strenuous cycling I had expected. It felt completely different and positive, and it was fun!” It was obvious to him from the outset that his Cargo Bike needed electric assistance: “Cargo Bikes are a key part of my business model rather than just something I do in my leisure time. They are sustainable and have a future, and also need to be reliable and last for many years of my professional life.”
In the Cologne dialect, ”Veedel“ refers to a district of the city, the part of town where you feel at home. It is also a core part of physiotherapist Jonas Eiken's concept: he has no treatment rooms. Jonas and his two colleagues, Fabian and Leon, visit and treat their patients at home – in their ”Veedels.“ They transport their equipment in an environmentally-friendly way by Cargo Bike. Alongside conventional physiotherapy, Jonas also offers personal training, provides Pilates courses for large businesses, and gives talks.