Bikkenek, the Belgian "Achielle" bike reseller
A story taking place in the Marolles
The "Achielle" bikes not only have a real retro look, they are the brainchild of 3 generations of Belgian know-how. Achiel’s grandchildren now hold the reins of the family business and are determined to keep alive the soul of their grandfather, whose portrait still figures on the bikes. Achielle still produces his bike frames in their workshop in Flanders. At a time when the last manufacturers of Belgian frames can be counted on the fingers of one hand, they are exceptions. On their production scale, they are simply the only ones in Belgium.
We are therefore happy to hear that the Belgian brand is finally arriving in Brussels. And not just any old how. It's in Imad and Ismael’s shop that it is happening, right in the Marolles.
This neighborhood has no secrets for Imad, he grew up there. It is also here that his passion for cycling begins, he still remembers the bike rides he used to do with his friends from the local youth club. And he will continue cycling on his many trips abroad: "it's the best way to discover a place, it gives a different outlook," he explains to us.
Today he is in his forties and his passion for cycling inspires him to launch a new concept in Brussels, with the Achielle bikes. To this end, he partners with Ismael who for 10 years has been running a clothing store on the place du jeu de balle. Together, they completely transform the identity of the store. Formerly anonymous, the now eye-catching sign with colorful bikes on the sidewalk, a trendy decor and a strong name: Bikkenek. Inside, everything changes too. You'll find chic, comfortable ‘lifestyle’ clothes, Achielle bikes and bike accessories of all kinds. In addition to the sale, the store also offers Achielle bicycle rental; another idea of Imad’s who wants to encourage using the bike to discover the city.
The brand name is not meaningless. "The car is "has been", the bike is the new trend; instead of showing off with a big car, as a dikkenek would, we want to show off beautiful bikes, "explains Imad with a big smile on his face. "And then it's a very Belgian name, very brusseleir, that's what we are, real Brusselers", he tells us. Imad is also very proud to be able to show the many visitors to the place du jeu de balle a brand that he wants to reflect Brussels, an open place where everyone can meet. Besides, we also find this multicultural philosophy in the work of the artist Dema inside the shop: an old photograph of Eddy Merckx decorated with a Moroccan typography.
This unusual Belgian story, where cultures merge into a Brussels melting pot that can be found nowhere else, could only happen in the Marolles. No doubt it will go on being told.