Sebastian Schlebusch

This month, we caught up with Sebastian Schlebusch, Head Of Market Development at Tier-Dott. He shares his thoughts on the future and challenges of the cycling industry. 

Can you tell me more about Dott and your role? Can you give us more information on the recent merger with Tier?

Dott is a micro-mobility company that started as a startup in 2018. Currently, we operate around 60,000 vehicles on the streets, including e-bikes and e-scooters. Recently, Dott merged with Tier and the newly combined business called Tier-Dott now creates the European champion of shared micro-mobility. We are supporting over 125M trips a year in more than 20 countries. As the Head of Market Development at Tier-Dott, I am responsible for EU-level policy work, advocacy, and managing innovation projects. My goal is to ensure that Shared Micromobility is well established amongst relevant institutions and accepted by all stakeholders.      

What cycling trends are you most excited to see by the year 2030? And by 2050?

Looking ahead, I'm excited to see those cycling initiatives outlined in the European Cycling Declaration becoming reality. I hope that also after the upcoming European elections, cycling evolves in a positive way. Bike- and e-scooter sharing has a strong role to play within it. We've seen strong growth rates over the past years, and most of the cities in Europe have a vivid bike- and e-scooter sharing ecosystem nowadays. Look at Paris; gearing up for the Olympic Games, you now see more shared bikes than cars, so that's an amazing transformation and we hope that this continues to be the case until 2030 and beyond.

Looking further ahead, let's say until 2050, my vision is to have cities where everyone can move around with energy- and space efficient vehicles, with accessible, affordable, and clean transportation options for those who need them. Additionally, with all these great alternatives available, there will be reduced dependence on cars. While cars may still be necessary for certain occasions, such as taking someone to the hospital or doing groceries with the whole family, I hope that in such cases, shared car usage will prevail. This is truly my vision, and I hope it's realised earlier than 2050.

What do you see as a major challenge in the cycling industry, and how can Cycling Industries Europe play a role in overcoming that challenge?

One of the significant challenges lies in the politicisation of mobility, which is evident in several cities. Take Berlin, for example, where the right to use a private car has been championed as a key political stance by the Conservatives. Their efforts to reverse many of the previous government's achievements, such as pop-up bike lanes and improved infrastructure, are concerning. Unfortunately, with the Conservatives now in government, there still seems to be a majority of people outside the urban cosmopolitan who can't envision a lifestyle without their car. I hope that the cycling sector does not fall victim to political power games.

What can Cycling Industries Europe do? I believe it's crucial to unite stakeholders, mobilise support, and demonstrate the relevance of cycling. We also need to develop a conservative political agenda, in addition to a progressive, green-oriented one. Such an agenda would highlight not only the environmental benefits but also the economic and societal advantages of cycling, including job opportunities. Kevin, CEO of Cycling Industries Europe, is already doing a great job on this.

What or who in the cycling industry inspires you and why?

I think the cycling sector is an industry standing on the right side of evolution, which is inspiring. The mission that we are part of, changing the world into a better place, is substantially different from the fossil dependency of today. And I think this is a big bond for everyone working in the industry, as we have a common North Star we're working towards. It's very attractive to me as an individual to work for a company like Tier-Dott too, which is mission-driven. When looking at individuals, I’m inspired by leaders like Kevin and Tony. I think it’s great to have these kinds of leaders in our industry.

How did you get into the cycling industry?

I believe my grandpa was the one who influenced my passion for cycling. Despite the motorization trend of the 50s and 60s, he remained devoted to cycling for all his needs, without a car. Spending time with him during summer holidays, exploring cycle routes in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, left a lasting impression on me. When I moved to Munster, German’s bicycle capital, riding a bike still felt natural. I briefly owned a car at 18, feeling societal pressure, but it wasn't long before cycling became my primary mode of transport again.

However, relocating to Delhi afterwards for some time, where cycling was very dangerous amidst heavy traffic, made me realise the importance of cycling-friendly infrastructure for my quality of life. This led me to advocate for cycling-friendly policies and to pursue a career in the cycling industry. Particularly, the idea of bike sharing, was appealing to me as it combined the 19th century vehicle with 21st century technology and business model.

Can you describe in around 5 words how cycling is saving the world?


Freedom: Cycling represents freedom from reliance on a car. You're outside in the fresh air, and it's enjoyable.

Fun: It is fun!

Healthy: Regular cycling contributes to a natural overall fitness and improves your well-being.

Community: It fosters a sense of community, especially in cities where cyclists may be still in the minority, creating a shared bond among riders navigating urban traffic.

Future: Cycling is the future. While cars may dominate now, they are ultimately a thing of the past. The bicycle is the future.