The Donky Bike is a not a new cargo bike – it’s been around for a while, since almost 2006. It could be arguable one of the earliest and, at the time, most innovative cargo bikes.
What is appealing about the Donky Bike? Its symmetry, its simplicity, and its rideability. Good for anyone looking for a tried and true, smaller-sized bike that will still both fit in a narrow hallway and carry twice as much cargo as the regular bike. It is available in lime green and black and retails around 499 pounds ($785 or 625 euros).
The Donky Bike is a product of Ben Wilson, a London-based Ben 3D Industrial designer working whose work has been extensively published and exhibited worldwide. Many of his projects involve bikes in one way or another, and he has collaborated with Brooks on what seems to be the weirdest, bikey-est seesaw yet:
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.
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.
Onderwater is a Dutch bicycle company that makes a bakfiets for families with older children. Instead of the kids riding in a cargo box, the Onderwater has standard bicycle seats in tandem with the adult driver. There are also pedals for the kids, so that they can help mom or dad pedal to school. They come in multiple configurations for families with one to three kids. The bikes come with 8 speed Shimano internally geared hubs, halogen lamps, and roller brakes front and rear. The bikes start in price at around $2200 USD / €1643
Torker has released the Cargo-T bicycle for $600 MSRP. It’s distributed in the US by Seattle Bicycle Supply, which should make it easy for your local bike shop to get a hold of. It comes with Shimano 3 speed internal hub gearing and comes with front and rear cargo racks.
At 45 lbs, it’s about average weight for most purpose built cargo bicycles. The frame comes in satin grey or blaze green. This Taiwan built bicycle is a lower cost alternative for anyone considering European built city bicycles which could easily cost more than a thousand bucks.
The Tianjin Flying Pigeon is the most popular bicycle in history. They have literally sold billions of these bicycles since Chairman Mao established the company in 1950. Based on a 1930s European design, they haven’t changed at all over the decades.
The bike has classic looks, weighs a ton, and is built like a tank. Due to the “Classic” design, maintenance is a pain. Also, if you live outside of the developing world where they sell most of their bicycles, finding parts can be equally frustrating. While taking a tour of their plant, the factory rep told me that their biggest customers are in Central Africa.
Out of curiosity, I asked what a shipment of these bicycles would cost. They said that they can fit around 200 of these bicycles (unassembled) into a shipping container and that they would charge $45 USD/each. Pretty good price if you buy in bulk.
Another thing I learned is that the original Tianjin Flying Pigeon company split up over the years and that there are dozens of factories across the country still using the Flying Pigeon name and design to build bicycles.
If you’re in the market for a Euro style city bike, the Flying Pigeon might be exactly what you’re looking for. Imagine for the price of one Dutch built bike, you can have a flock of Flying Pigeons roaming the streets.
Maruishi is a family owned bicycle manufacturer that is popular in Japan. They are one of the oldest bicycle companies in Japan and are famous for their line of Mama Cha-ri (Mama’s Bicycle). Their recent designs are extremely refined, have solid build quality, and come with numerous options.
Their newest line called “Frackers” has seating for two kids. There’s a unique front seat that sits between ape hanger style handle bars which allows you to carry a kid without having to be hunched over them. There’s also an optional rear seat for a second child or small pet dog. Also the Fracker’s patented design avoids tipping when loading kids by automatically locking the brakes and the front steering column when the rear kick stand is engaged.
I’ve talked to several people while living in Japan and they only have great things to say about their Maruishi bikes. I’m guessing if you’re comfortable with buying a China built bicycle (Maruishi’s factory is in China) and don’t want to blow two grand on a Dutch built bicycle, then Maruishi is definitely an option. The ones I’ve seen in shops in Japan retail for $300 to $400 USD.
• Tip resistant design – auto locking brakes & steering for parking
• Ergonomic front child seat (hunch free design)
• Optional electric assist
• Pet carrier version available
• Affordable Price: $350 USD or less throughout Japan
Larry vs. Harry manufacture a very nice modular bakfiets that can be fitted with a range of accessories such as wooden cargo box, aluminum all weather box, billboards, etc. As for fit and finish, their bakfiets frames are made from oversized aluminum tubing and fitted with modern components that even bicycle geeks like us would love.
Here are the specs for their base model the “Bullit Classic”:
• Powder-coated in black
• Hardened aluminium frame
• Stainless steel nuts, bolts and discs
• 7-gear SRAM i-Motion hub
• Hydraulic front brake
• SRAM Truvativ crankshaft
• Double-bound aluminium wheel rims
• Puncture-proof Schwalbe tires
• Impact-strengthened plastic mudguards
• Fast saddle and handlebar adjustment
• Insurance-approved ABUS bicycle lock
So, is this the major game changer that we’ve all been looking for? Or else, is it just another expensive industrial design study that only a few can afford?
Without having ridden one, I can only say that the new Taga Stroller/Tricycle looks amazing. Basically, it is a kid carrying cargo tricycle that converts on the fly into a walking stroller. WOW! Also, it has numerous optional features that allow it to be customized and outfitted in any number of ways.
The MAJOR drawback at this moment is the stunning price and lack of availability. Not yet sold in the US, it has a base price of $2500 without any options. Include shipping, handling, and customs duties, you’re pushing $3000 by the time you’re riding the base model in the States.
Early Verdict: Function and styling that any parent would love, price tag of a good used car.
It was great to see that some of the large manufacturers are heading into the cargo bicycle market. Hopefully it’ll bring cargo bicycles into the mainstream and make a dent in car traffic.
Check out the Kona Ute. They’ve added this great new longbike to their huge lineup. Longbikes are great for anyone who wants an all around bicycle that they can use for commuting, getting groceries, camping, and to transport small adults or older kids.
Heh heh… I ran across this gem while doing a search on “product liability”. This is one awesome bike! 17 riders pedaling together around town while drinking beer, eating food, and enjoying the sites. Couldn’t think of a better way then the PedalPub (Het Fietscafe in the Netherlands). What can I say, simply a great time…
A friend sent me this photo of Google employees using a tricycle to map places where cars are not allowed. They’ve got it hooked up with the same camera and GPS equipment that their specially equipped cars use to capture street views all over the world. Pretty cool idea…
I generally try to keep this blog upbeat and focused on bicycles. But, the other day I found a picture I took a couple of years ago during a business trip to China. The photo speaks for itself… The air pollution in China is awful…
This picture was taken in Ningbo City, about three hours drive from Shanghai. In the early 1990s, most people in China were still using bicycles or mass transit. Cars were a luxury for the rich. Back then the air was clean given the size of the population. But now in many of the factory towns across China, your eyes water as soon as you step out the front door.
The sad thing is we keep blaming China for all of this, but most of those poluting factories are making products that are bound for US and European markets. Basically we’ve just exported our pollution creating factories and jobs to China. Anyway, everytime I go to Costco, I always get a sense that I’m just adding to this cycle…
La Petite Reine (little queen) is a French nickname for bicycle. It’s also the name of the small company that operates a fleet of over 60 cargocycles for various client companies such as express delivery service DHL. Everyday these cargo bicycles and tricycles make their way through congested parts of Paris to deliver parcels with an efficiency that Fedex would be proud of.
Besides the suped up messenger services. La Petite Reine also sells and rents these cargo tricycles to the public.
I ran into this video about New Urbanism, which is the trend in urban planning which promotes walkable livable cities. This video is a really cool intro to the whole idea. Hopefully the idea of using bicycles for transport in these new cities will take off.
Pashley Cycles has been building bicycles in the UK since 1926. They have a range of bicycles from city bikes to cargo tricycles. My favorite in their product line is the Pashley Freighmate Cargo Tricycle.
It has absolutely everything anyone could look for in a cargo tricycle. It has electric power assist, independent steering for each of the front wheels (Ackerman steering), disk brakes, turn signals, lights, and even a horn. This is definitely a great alternative for any business that needs to make local deliveries in crowded urban areas or as a run about for staff working in a large facility.
German manufacturer, Fine Mobile GmBH, builds a fantastic pedal powered human electric hybrid car. It has a top speed of 53 mph (85 kmph) and a range of 80 miles (130 km) per charge. With it’s fully enclosed body and luxury features, it might just be the all weather solution that you’re looking for. The only catch, with a starting price of $26,000 USD (20,000 €) this beauty will be in the hands of a lucky few.
Dutch ID is a company in the Netherlands that makes a bakfiets with a tension fabric and cage design for carrying children. Think of it as a kid trailer mounted on a two wheeled bakfiets bicycle.
The added safety of the tension fabric cage takes care of the safety concerns many parents would have when using a wooden box style bakfiets. Although this bicycle is available only in a few countries in Europe, it would be a very easy sell to parents anywhere.
Maybe if enough parents show interest in this style of bakfiets, dealers will start to carry them in the US.
The Christiania Tricycle is one of the original “tree hugger” bicycles from the 70s. It was built as a way for residents to get around the town of Chrisitiania, which does not allow cars. The town has about 850 residents and was established as a social experiment on the site of an old military barracks. Although the town has had some recent troubles with the Danish gov’t, the trikes themselves have gained in popularity throughout the years.
We are real fans of these great tricycles. They are sturdy front load cargo trikes that can be used for all sorts of tasks such as carrying kids, the handicapped, transporting goods, etc. The unique charm of the tricycle is it’s simple wooden box design which is inexpensive, easy to maintain, and highly customizable.
If you’d like to find out more, check out these links.
A. Winther A/S is a company in Denmark that makes the Benz of family tricycles. Winther did not hold back when designing this trike. It has hydraulic brakes, independent suspension, 7 speed internally geared hub, etc. Plus, the aluminum frame wrapped with tension fabric will keep your kids and cargo safe & sound.
Although this trike is close to being the perfect family trike, the big deal killer is the PRICE!! It retails at a starting price of 17,000 Denmark Kroners, which is a little bit over $3000 US Dollars. With shipping and taxes, the Kangaroo will be close to $4000 US Dollars by the time you get it into the country. OUCH!!! If Winther could only find a way to bring the price down to around $500 US Dollars, we might see a renaissance in neighborhood transportation and planning.
Paul Frank is a graphic and fashion designer. You might recognize his popular Julius the monkey character on clothing. Check out his new city bikes, featuring a retro clean look. His also offers cruisers (under the Nirve brand)
Electra, a bike company that specializes in cruisers and townies, have came out with a new line of commuter bikes called, Amsterdam. The bikes have the look of the Dutch bikes at an affordable price. Amsterdam is retailing for $550 and comes in classic and sport model.