Archive | January, 2012

Promoting Cargo Cycling in the European Union

Back in May 2011, representatives from NGOs, the government, private sector business and industry analysis firms met in Copenhagen, Denmark to share different ideas for advancing the shift of goods and services transportation to non-motorized modes in European cities. This meeting also lies within the context of the CYCLE Logistics project, whose ultimate goal for 2014 is to save 1,300 tons (465,000 gallons) of fuel, put2,000 more cargo cycles into use in European Union (EU) cities, and shift 10,000 trips to inter-modal transport chains (bicycles and tricycles used with other modes of transportation).
They are trying to encourage CYCLE Logistics under the European Cycling Federation to promote the benefits of cargo cycling. Businesses who use cargo cycling give customers an image of environmental responsibility, they also have a better chance of delivering their goods on time without having to deal with traffic and road infrastructures.
Accessibility is also increased for those business who use cargo tricycles to reach out to people, where stores cannot. As a result, replacing motorized transportation with cargo cycles does not contribute to air quality degradation and pollution.

This is not the first time Europe tries to really encourage the use of cargo cycling as a real means of transport. In the United States, we often regard cargo cycling as a fun weekend pastime or leisurely activity. We don’t really see cargo scooters as being used for professional use – but it’s coming! What really needs to happen, which is what the CYCLE Logistics project strives to do, is promote a behavioral change within a culture. They try pushing Europeans to transport goods and services with cargo cycles—among all individuals, organizations, businesses and levels of government.

In China actually, this has already been the case for a long time. In large cities with dense populations, millions of bicycles and cargo tricycles are being employed for daily transportation of people and goods. Whether it transports garbage, fruit, a mini barbecue, stacks of chairs or hay, the Chinese have been very creative in using cargo scooters in any way to help them with their business or wherever they need to go.

The population density of Chinese cities has resulted in hundreds of millions of bicycles and tricycles being employed for daily transportation, many of which are utilized in the cargo fashions that the CYCLE Logistics project desires to produce.

To read more about this movement and CYCLE Logistics, please visit and read the article from  http://thecityfix.com/blog/the-eu-meets-to-discuss-how-to-promote-cargo-cycling/

Posted in bakfiets, City Cycling, Commuting, Family Cycling, Load Carrying, other topics, Places & Events, Useful References, Work CyclingComments (8)

The Danish Cargo Bike Championships, a classic Copenhagen tradition

Have you ever dreamt about racing your cargo scooter with friends? Well, cargo scooter fans in Copenhagen have already been doing this for the past 11 years!

Every year the Svajerløbet – or the Danish Cargo Bike Championships – takes place in the Carlsberg area in Copenhagen.They have championships in several categories, such as the Svajerløb for kids, men, women, vintage cargo bikes, two or three wheel bikes! It is a non-profit event, really for those who love their cargo bikes.

The name Svajerløb comes from city’s bicycle messengers – known as ‘svajere’ who, decades ago, used to battle in unofficial races for bragging rights on Israels Plads in central Copenhagen.  It was a classic Copenhagen event that disappeared when cars started to dominate the urban landscape. The last race was in 1960. But as a capital full of cargo cyclists, there was much support given to revive the tradition in 2009.

In fact, there are around 40,000 cargo bikes in use each day in Greater Copenhagen and they are the Copenhagen version of the SUV, used for transporting children and goods. 25% of all families with two or more children have a cargo bike in the City of Copenhagen.

If you ever fancy to participate in the race, check out their website: http://www.dmforladcykler.dk/English2011.php

Posted in bakfiets, City Cycling, Load Carrying, Places & EventsComments (6)

Xtracycle: Longbikes

15 years ago, Xtracycles was the first builder of longbikes in the US. They’re well known for their patented retrofit kit that can convert a normal bicycle into a cargo carrying longbike. More recently, they’ve been building complete bicycles that are ready to ride without any modification. Their “Radish Eco” model starts at $1000 and comes complete with cargo bags and extended frame.

Overall, we’re a real fan of longbikes. They take up much less space than a bicycle & trailer combo and are more maneuverable in crowded traffic. Also, they look and ride more conventional than cargo tricycles and bakfiets.

Advantages:

  • Size: Smaller footprint than bakfiets or cargo tricycles.
  • Ride: Conventional ride similar to a tandem or regular bicycle.
  • Stability: Can lean into turns which means better stability at higher speeds than a tricycle.
  • Simplicity: Simpler design than a tricycle, which means easier to maintain.
  • Price: Affordable retrofit kit option.

Disadvantages:

  • Capacity: Less cargo capacity than a tricycle or bakfiets.
  • Configuration: Load is behind rider which means more difficult to monitor cargo or young passengers.
  • Stability: Higher center of gravity which means more unstable at very low speeds compared to a tricycle. Also means more tip prone when parked.

One thing to consider is that buying a longbike vs. a front load tricycle or bakfiets is a personal preference. They all have advantages and disadvantages. Generally at slow speeds or when parked, all bicycles are tip prone and tricycles are stable. At high speeds and when riding on un-level surfaces, tricycles become tip prone and unstable, while bicycles are in their element. If you’re looking for something that rides similar to a regular bicycle, you travel long distances, or you don’t mind the slow speed instability of a bicycle carrying a heavy load, than a longbike would be a good choice. If you’re looking for something to carry large loads, you tend to ride slow, and prefer to keep an eye on your cargo, a front load tricycle would be a good choice.

Overall if you chose a longbike, Xtracycle longbikes are a fantastic choice. They’re affordable, built with good quality, and are a great alternative to driving a car locally.

Link:
http://www.xtracycle.com/

Posted in long bikesComments (0)

Lightfoot Cycles

Lightfoot Cycles designs and builds custom bicycles and tricycles in Darby, Montana, USA. Their website has a large and diverse selection of very interesting bikes of all shapes and sizes, such as custom bikes for the “big & tall” (they can fit a person up to 7′ tall!). They also have recumbent bicycles, tricycles, quadracycles, two-rider recumbents, special-needs bikes, hand-cycles, power assist bikes, industrial work vehicles and all weather velomobiles.

What I thought was most interesting however was the history of the company, its founder, and their One World Design Project. Back in 1995, Earl Miner designed and built the PET handcycle, at the request of missionaries working in war-torn rural areas of Africa. Earl witnessed a large number of persons in their communities who sustained disabling injuries and who could not walk, many from land-mine encounters.

The walking-speed, cargo-carrying PET handcycle.

These people were consigned to dragging themselves along in the dust, through a land that had no handicap-access laws, little pavement, and not nearly enough money to afford doctors, protheses or wheelchairs. The concept of a simplified hand-cycle was proven by Earl, and then the prototype was redesigned by Rod Miner.  It was produced in increasing amounts for several years at what would become the Lightfoot Cycles shop. From there, Rod Miner began designing cycles for the domestic market. However, design for the less-developed nations continues still with the One World Design Project.” – http://lightfootcycles.com

Their goal is to create highly capable and affordable working vehicles for persons in any part of the world. Within this project, they even sell a cargo-adapter kit which can be attached to a regular mountain bike, turning it into a fully-functional cargo bike!

TCX extension used to transport bales of hay

TCX extension used to transport bales of hay

TCX Custom Box

TCX Custom Box

Marty Stomberg and Rod Miner together created a business model to underpin the production of Lightfoot cycles, starting as custom builders in a converted horse barn, and building slowly and tenaciously over a decade and a half toward the goal of larger-scale lean manufacture.

Check out their diverse array of products!

The Duo is a fast, efficient two-seat recumbent cycle.

The Duo is a fast, efficient two-seat recumbent cycle.

Posted in Load Carrying, tricyclesComments (4)