Archive | March, 2007

Shimano Automatic Transmission

Coastinggroup_550x412 Shimano makes an attempt at attracting technophobic new riders to casual cyling by eliminating the gear shifter.  The system relies on a front hub dynamo that powers both a headlamp and plus the computer chip that makes the gear selection.  The rear hub is a three speed internal with coaster brakes.

Posted in accessories, Tech TalkComments (2)

Open Source Design: Jetrike

I ran across this website while doing research on leaning tricycles. The inventor of Jetrike has put all of his notes, working drawings, and research onto his webpage in hopes of fostering innovation in the field. His work is amazingly detailed and useful for anyone trying to develop a leaning trike with popular appeal.

We’d like to applaud his generosity and willingness to share. Keep up the great work!

Posted in DIY, Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricycles, Useful ReferencesComments (3)

Hybrid Commuting (Shanghai China Maglev Train Video)

VideoplaymaglevI edited some video of the Shanghai Maglev Train from a recent business trip to China. We covered the 40 km distance from downtown Shanghai to the airport in 8 minutes. Top speed 430 kph (267 mph).

It’s not directly related to cargo bicycles, but more so with hybrid commuting (using a bicycle locally and a train between cities). Imagine if a high density region like the US West Coast corridor (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA, and San Diego) were connected with a high speed rail line like this.

It would definitely make hybrid commuting a more viable and enjoyable option. Plus imagine all the fun bicycle tours that become a realistic option. The rail lines wouldn’t have to be magnetic.

But wouldn’t that be cool?

Posted in Commuting, Places & Events, Portable, VideosComments (1)

Nihola Family Cargo Tricycle

Niholatricycle02_2Danish company Nihola makes an award winning family cargo tricycle available for sale in Northern Europe. It’s understated style appeals to anyone wanting easy convenient transporation, but with features that meet the needs of an urban family. It comes with a lightweight truss frame, Ackerman steering up front, all weather drum brakes, and a 5 speed internally geared rear hub.

Although the Nihola family tricycle is large enough to carry two small children and some groceries, it will be a cozy fit. Due to the Ackerman steering, the cargo box is smaller than for tricycles that use Axle pivot steering. However, for many people that is a small price to pay for having the added stability at speed.

After asking the kind folks at Nihola if we could purchase one of these tricycles in the US, we received a very kind email saying they are currently sold out and are having difficulty just meeting demand in Europe.

Designed to be lightweight, nimble, and stable at moderate speeds, this tricycle is a popular choice for many people. But with a starting price of €1995 Euros, it will likely be out of the price range of most young families.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope Nihola tricycles will reach the US in the future. If you’re lucky enough to own one, we’re sure you’re riding with a smile.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, tricyclesComments (4)

Family cycling

Here is another great article on Sheldon Brown’s page about family cycling,
covering tandems, trailer cycles, and teaching kids how to ride a bike.

To the right is the popular Adam Trail-A-Bike.

Posted in Family Cycling, Tech Talk, trailersComments (2)

UPS using cargo tricycles in Germany

Here’s a photo someone sent me of a UPS cargo tricycle in Germany. They say that in city centers, making deliveries with these things is much faster than by cargo van.

Posted in Load Carrying, tricyclesComments (0)

DIY: Homebuilt Sidecar

Popular_mechanics_diy_sidecarPopular Mechanics has a great article submitted by a Caleb Brown who shows you how he built a leaning bicycle sidecar for carrying his son around. The great things about the design are that the full suspension smooths out bumps in the road, the suspension allows for leaning, it allows the driver & child to communicate face to face, and finally it’s pretty low cost. Also, the fact that it uses a commercially available child carrier means many families will be able to make use of carriers they already own.

It looks professional and we’re impressed. GREAT JOB!!!

Posted in DIY, Family Cycling, Load Carrying, trailers, tricyclesComments (4)

Types of Tricycles

When riding around with my son in the front of my cargo tricycle around town, onlookers often ask me “What’s that?” I think the main reason is that most people are used to seeing tricycles with two wheels in the back and one wheel up front, rather than the other way around. Well, for those of you who are new to cargocycling here’s a quick summary of the main types of tricycles.

Tricycles are generally defined by their wheel arrangement. The three most common are:

• Delta Tricycle: 1 wheel in front and 2 wheels in the rear
• Tadpole Tricycle: 2 wheels in front and 1 wheel in the rear
• Sidecar: 2 wheels in line with each other and 1 wheel parallel and offset

Deltatricycle_2Delta Tricycle:
A delta trike has 1 wheel in front & 2 wheels in the back. It is sometimes refered to as a traditional tricycle or rear load tricycle (meaning the cargo is behind the driver). A lot of times you’ll see older people using these bicycles because it is stable at slow speeds and uses standard bicycle steering.

Tadpoletricycle_2Tadpole Tricycle:
A tadpole trike has 2 wheels in front & 1 wheel in the back. It is sometimes refered to as a front load tricycle because the cargo is in front of the driver. These tricycles are useful for drivers that need to keep a close eye on their cargo or need quick access to it without having to get off of their trike. This makes them ideal for use by food vendors or pedi-cab drivers who have frequent interaction with customers.

Sidecar_2Sidecar Tricycle:
In the side car arrangement, two wheels are in line with each other like a bicycle. The third wheel is parallel to the other two wheels but is offset from the center line of the two wheels.

In future posts, I’ll try to include information on other aspects of cargo tricycles for those of you who are interested in picking up a cargo tricycle.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricyclesComments (8)

Velomobile: go-one³

A German company called Beyss Leichtfahrzeuge makes a totally cool human powered zero emission vehicle called Go-One³. Designed by a designer from Daimler Chrysler that helped bring us the Smart Car, the Go-One³ is a fully enclosed weatherproof pedal powered tricycle. With features like it’s carbon fiber shell, turn signals, and electric assist this is like no other bicycle you’ve ridden before.

Looks so hot, it’s been used as a prop for TV commercials and magazine ads for companies like Puma.

Now if they can only do something about the price tag… $7689 US Dollars with shipping.


Posted in Commuting, Load Carrying, tricyclesComments (8)

Apax Leaning Tricycle

ApaxA start-up company called Apax Vehicle Dynamics is developing an interesting leaning tricycle. They’ve got some great video footage of their tricycle in action going down stairs, offroad, etc. The design has a lot of potential for other applications.

Hopefully as they develop their design, they’ll be able to improve the aesthetics, reduce weight, and simplify the design.

Keep up the great work!

Posted in Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricycles, VideosComments (0)

Leaning Tricycle

In many situations tricycles have advantages over traditional bicycles. Tricycles don’t fall over when sitting at a full stop, they are stable at low speed, they can carry tremedous loads, and you can take a rest any time.

However one of the most difficult things for riders to get used to is the fact that most trikes do not allow you to lean into a turn like on a bicycle. There are many people who are developing designs for leaning tricycles and we’ll start to post links to some of those.

One of the cooler designs we’ve seen so far is from Apax Vehicle Developments in Canada. Their website is barebones, but they’ve got some cool videos that shows their trike in action.

Posted in DIY, Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricyclesComments (2)

Internally Geared Hubs

Internal-gear hubs offer the advantage of less maintenance compare to a standard derailleur based drivetrain, great for wet weather riding.  You can change gear when at a stop, a plus in traffic.  The disadvantage is the extra weight and increase in drivetrain friction.

Shimano Nexus (3/7/8)
SRAM/Sachs (3/9)
Sturmey Archer (3/5/7/8)
Rohloff (14)
Nuvinci (CVT)

Check out Sheldon Brown’s page on internal-gear hubs.

Posted in accessories, Tech TalkComments (1)

Check out, an online retailer specializing in bike cargo trailers., dedicated to bike trailers.

Cello, an unique bike case travel system for BOB trailers.

All three sites were started by Josh Lipton, here is his interesting blog where he talks in depth about running his own small start-up business.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, trailers, Useful ReferencesComments (0)

Henry Work Cycles

Henry Work Cycles is a Dutch retailer specializing in workbikes, cargo trikes, city bikes, and some bicycles for the mobility impaired.  Check out their great selection of quality practical bicycles.

Posted in shopsComments (0)

Interested in workbikes, offers tons of info on workbikes.
Featuring a list of manufacturers, pedicab and cargo delivery businesses, online forums, books, history, organizations, etc.

Looks like the site is related to Zero Couriers, they claim to operate the largest fleet of freight cycles in London.  Check out their blog under workbike news.

Posted in shops, Useful References, Work CyclingComments (4)

Leitra and Velomobiles

Recumbent trikes with full fairings came from human powered vehicle (HPV) racing.  One was Mike Burrow’s Windcheetah, originally intended as a stable HPV trainer for HPV racers.  Recumbent enthusiasts soon discover the advantanges of a fully faired trike for commuting compared to a full faired recumbent bike.  There is no need to balance the vehicle at stops, no worries of side wind blowing the vehicle around.

Velomobile became the term used to describe these fully faired recumbent trikes built for commuting in traffic and offering all-weather protection.

One of the most well know is the Leitra, with a flip-forward front section that allows entry and exit of the rider.

Check out for more info on velomobiles.

Posted in Commuting, Load Carrying, tricycles, Useful ReferencesComments (0)

Center for Appropriate Transport and Human Powered Machines

(quoted from their website…)

The Center for Approriate Transport (CAT) is a non-profit organization committed to community involvement in manufacturing, using, and advocating sustainable modes of transportation. The first organization of its kind, the Center was founded in Eugene, Oregon in the fall of 1992. Since that time we have established a number of projects under one roof designed to further this mission.

Human Powered Machines was established in 1991. Our primary interest is in relieving urban congestion by building load-carrying workbikes. We also produce many types of vehicles including recumbents, utility trailers, folding bikes, hand- powered vehicles and farm machines.

The trike pictured to the right was designed by Human Powered Machines.

Posted in Useful ReferencesComments (0)

Pedal Express delivery service

Pedal Express
is a chain of delivery service offering ‘Zero Pollution Delivery Solution’.

Here are pics of their delivery vehicles for Pedal Express Berkeley.

Posted in tricycles, Work CyclingComments (0)


Rivendell, is a bike company specializing in quality bikes for cyclists looking for a bike with lightweight, durability and practicality in mind.  Grant Peterson of Bridgestone fame with bikes like RB-1, MB-1, XO-1 started Rivendell and continue the philosophy of simplicity and practicality combine with classic lug contruction.  All bikes comes with fender clearance and rack mountings.  Their bikes strike a nice balance between specialized racing bikes and overweight hybrids.

The bike pictured to the right is their Atlantis model.

Posted in bicycles, Commuting, TouringComments (1)

Bob Ibex trailer


B.O.B. (formerly Beast of Burden) is the maker of the famous single wheel Yak trailer.  By replacing the stock quick release with a special replacement,  you can mount the single wheel trailer to any bike.

BOB Ibex is a variation of the Yak trailer with suspension added.

Curiously instead of building kid trailers, BOB makes a line of jogging strollers.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, Touring, trailersComments (0)

Felt cruisers

Wanna cruise around town in style?
Check out Felt’s line of retro cruisers.
Too cool for school!

Check out other cruisers at

The bike to the right is a Felt MP.

Posted in bicycles, City Cycling, Family CyclingComments (0)

John Forester & Effective Cycling

Anyone interested in cycling in traffic should take a look at John Forrester’s website.

He is a Cycling Transportation Engineer who wrote ‘Effective Cycling’ and ‘Bicycle Transportation: A Handbook for Cycling Transportation Engineers’

He promotes the idea that "cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers
of vehicles

He also offers a traffic-cycling course for riders of all ages.  Check out the ‘Effective Cycling’ dvd.

Posted in Riding Tips, Tech Talk, Useful ReferencesComments (3)

Folding Bicycle Society

For those interested in folding bikes, check out the Folding Society site. sells various models of folding bikes.

To the right, are folders made by Airnimal.

Posted in bicycles, Portable, Useful ReferencesComments (0)

Bike Friday Tikit

Bike Friday, the famous maker of folding bikes, have  a new model called the Tikit.  They claim that it is the fastest folder in the world.

Check out the this youtube clip featuring the Tikit.

Posted in bicycles, PortableComments (1)

Chariot Sidecarrier

Chariot , a maker of kids trailers and strollers, have a unique sidecar design called the Sidecarrier.  It is like a regular motorcycle sidecar except it allows the bike to lean independently.

Sidenote: We’ve read in some reviews that one drawback of the Chariot is that it’s only compatible with mountain bicycles. We haven’t tested one out on our bike. But you might want to check with the manufacturer about compatibility with your bicycle before rushing out to order.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, trailers, tricyclesComments (5)