According to the Federal Association of People of Short Stature and their Families, around 100,000 people in Germany are affected by short stature.

Juliane Neuss founded Junik-hpv GmbH so that she does not have to do without a popular leisure and fitness activity, in which only she works.

It sells as one of the few custom-made bicycles, balance bikes and tricycles for people of short stature.

In the past four years she has built more than 100 such bikes.

These vehicles are often not recognized as medical aids by health insurance companies.

Whether support is provided depends on the situation of the disabled person and not least on the responsible clerk, says Neuß.

In her hometown of Clausthal-Zellerfeld in Lower Saxony, the almost sixty-year-old has been running her barrier-free bicycle workshop 2.0 for more than four years.

After graduating from secondary school, Neuß completed an apprenticeship as a metallographer.

In 1996 she took over the management of a ZEG bicycle shop in Hamburg.

Her desire for unrestricted mobility for everyone led in 2011 to her book, "Richtig Sitz - Lose Cycling", which is in its third edition, in which she summarizes ergonomic theories.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Neuss realized her first project of her own with the “Skippy” children’s bike that grew with the child.

Then in 1998 came their modified version of the Brompton, a foldable bike from England.

"One always imagines it to be so difficult to make, develop and bring something new to the market, but with these two things it was so easy for me that I said there is still a lot to be done in the bicycle sector", she says.

Against the back pain

When she attended an event for people of short stature, she noticed that these people needed special bikes.

"Otherwise you always think they can also take children's bikes." However, these are not only inappropriate in most cases because of their rather silly design, but are also not ergonomically compatible with the physiognomy of a small person.

"For a while I rode a standard Stevens children's mountain bike, but then I got serious back pain," says Birgit Waßmann from Erlangen, who is 126 centimeters tall.

The fifty-six-year-old owns four bicycles made by Neuss.

Waßmann paid almost 3,000 euros for her first tailor-made bicycle, a matt black 20-inch sports bike.

Since, according to the professional association of paediatricians, 450 different forms of short stature are distinguished, the dimensions and structure of their bicycles cannot be named in general terms, explains Neuss.

"One of my unique selling points is that I really adjust the crank lengths for each person." Serving customers from further away is no problem for her.

“I have a fairly simple measurement protocol that can be filled out.

I've also used it to serve customers from Austria and Switzerland that I've never seen before."

It's all about the angles

For Neuss, it is not the lengths of the body parts that play a major role, but rather the angles that result from them.

"If the angles are maintained, the three contact points handlebars, saddle and pedals emerge almost by themselves." After the sketch was created, she had the bicycle frame built and assembled it herself.

The production process takes four to six weeks.

"With all the trimmings, I'm almost always at just under 3000 euros, no matter how big the bike is."

With a monthly turnover of 15,000 euros in 2020, Neuß was able to record growth of 50 percent compared to the previous year - thanks to the lockdowns in the corona pandemic.

Their forecast for 2021 is somewhat worse.

Neuss is planning a tandem for this year, which she would like to present at the "World Dwarf Games", the world's largest sporting event for people of short stature.

The article comes from the student project "Youth and Business", which the FAZ organizes together with the Association of German Banks.

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