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April 13, 2022
Updated on:
November 28, 2022

Humans of Zoomo: Meet Rob

At Zoomo, our people are the secret sauce to our success. Zoomers are a bunch of passionate, motivated and purpose-driven individuals all working towards the same mission of transitioning every urban delivery mile in light electric vehicles. 

Our #HumansofZoomo blog series aims to shine a light on Zoomers around the business, and the different skills and roles that make Zoomo what it is today. 

In today’s #HumansofZoomo blog we catch up with Rob Karbas, our head mechanic. 

Originally hailing from Brazil, Rob moved to Australia five years ago and has spent four of those years working at Zoomo. Rob has seen Zoomo (previously Bolt Bikes) grow from a small operation out of his van, to a global business partnering with some of the biggest names in the delivery space. 

“I lived in Sao Paulo for most of my life, but I also lived in Rio de Janeiro. For five years I worked for one big company in Brazil. Before I came to Australia, I worked as a fleet manager for big trucks, lorries, and transportation. I lost some opportunities when I left Brazil, because I couldn’t speak English, but I wanted to learn.

“I love bikes. I used to ride bikes in Brazil. I learned a lot about bikes there, it helped me a lot when I started my job with Zoomo.

“I started riding with friends. I was really, really young. Maybe seven or eight, I started to disassemble and reassemble bikes, fix bikes for friends, and so I started to learn a lot about bicycles. I still have my bicycle from then. When I arrived in Australia, I never thought about working with bicycles, but when I had this opportunity, I thought it’s good, I can work with something that I love.

“I started by myself, learning about bikes by trying to fix my friend’s bike. Then, I started to learn more and more things, watching YouTube, and then friends would teach me some specific things, like hydraulic brakes, how to fix spokes, and more. Then I started learning about motors and batteries when I got to Australia.” 

Why do you like fixing bikes?

“Everyday, we see something different. It’s a big challenge. I like challenges, I like figuring out problems, fixing things.

“I have a lot of love for this company. When I started my job at Zoomo, the company had about 70 bikes, and it was just three or four of us. We, together, helped grow the company. Now, we have more than 450 employees and have launched in multiple countries across the world. 

“Zoomo really inspired me to work more and more. A lot of customers are students, they need to be couriers to stay here. This kind of thing really inspired me to keep working, because we don’t just rent bikes, we help people to stay and study in Australia.

“Fixing these bikes is a great challenge, because we need to keep these bikes in good condition for a long time to support our growing customer base.”

“Since I started my job here, I try to fix the bikes like they’re my own bicycle. I try to explain to the other mechanics, give your all when you fix the bikes. 

“Try to be sensible with the details, make it clean and make it better. Because people don’t want to just rent a bike, they want to rent one that’s clean, has no scratches, and is in perfect condition to ride. It makes me happy when the customers return the bike and say ‘I loved this bike, it’s really reliable’. 

“I have a big family, back in Brazil. I have my mother and seven siblings. One brother, he works in robotics, another who works in system security, I have a sister, she works in healthcare.

“My mum, she’s stopped working now, she’s 70. She just takes care of the house. She came to Australia last April and stayed with me for 2 weeks. She loved it, she said ‘I want to return to Australia’, I said okay mum, move here! I have a nice family.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have my father. He died when I was 28. But now, he’s my angel. He inspired me to come to Australia. My father is Greek, and in 1952 he had to decide to come to either Australia or Brazil, and he thought, ‘which one is quicker?’, and decided to go to Brazil. 

I listened to my father my whole life saying ‘Australia’s a good country’. When I had a chance to come here and study, I remembered what my dad would say a long time ago about Australia.”

Rob’s advice to riders is simple:

“First, ride safely. Then, use the helmet properly. It can save your life. Don’t try to go over the speed limit. Respect the pedestrians, respect the laws, respect the cars, especially the bus drivers and taxi drivers.

“The last thing: have fun, a lot of fun. Because, it’s not just a bike, it’s a good transport alternative. You can use the bike for a lot of different things. You can use it to get from A to B, you can use it to make money, and you can use it to have fun on the weekends. And finally, lock the bike properly and put it inside at night, if you can.”

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