They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are associated with public libraries or schools, others with community efforts or local book shops. All have one goal: bring the books to the people!Whether they’re called Book Bikes, Library on Wheels, Bibliobicicletas, or another variation on the theme, here is a selection of cargo bikes dedicated to wheeling books around.
Find them at your local park, open streets events, festivals and more.
The idea is not new – as a cheap way to get more bikes into homes, they are a good way to “bandage” poor access to public libraries, and the amount of “book bikes” throughout the world are countless. Oregon’s Street Books, for example, specifically works with the homeless community and rents books out to them for free (read more about Street Books in this article by the New York Times).
As for the bikes that pull them and the varying setup – there is no one right way. Whether a trike, a trailer, or a one-of-a-kind setup, as long as it rolls and can carry and display bikes, it works.
The city of Berkeley’s brand new “Library on Wheels”. Since 2013
The city of Oakland’s “Bike Library” – photo by Michael Cuffe. Designed by local builder, Kick Trailer in late 2013.
Pima County’s book bike, built using a Haley Tricycle Display Trike. Since 2008.
Street Books, a Portland, Oregon project started in 2011.
San Francisco’s Bibliobicicleta. Launched in 2013 via Kickstarter. Built using a Bikes at Work 32 AW Bike trailer.
This year the International Cargo Bike Festival celebrates its third edition on 12 and 13 April 2014 at Cultuurspinnerij de Vasim in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
The Cargo Bike Festival is the biggest platform for cargobikes and cyclelogistics in the world.
y 12 April the European Cycle Logistics Federation Conference is being held with national and international key note speakers. Sunday 13 April welcomes the exhibition where visitors, users, designers, manufacturers, DIY-builders and retailers of cargo bikes meet and enter in new relationships.
The European Cyclelogistics Federation participates in the organisation of the event, as does the municipality of Nijmegen and Arnhem Nijmegen City Region.
Nimble Scooters of Irvine, California, has just launched their latest cargo scooter design in Europe at the Fietsvak Bike Show in Amsterdam this past March. With a very strong and lightweight aluminium frame and a vibrantly colored roto-molded plastic cargo tub, you can tell this scooter was built for heavy duty. Whether it’s for personal and leisure use, for small businesses or warehouse operators, the cargo scooter is made to help carry belongings easily over a short distance in a fun and convenient way.
Having won a spot at WantedDesignNYC’s LaunchPad, Nimble Scooters will be exhibiting during New York City’s International Design Week to officially mark the launch in the United States. The fair takes place from May 16-19th. More information here: www.wanteddesignnyc.com/wanteddesign-2014/launch-pad/
Based in California, the studio is looking for retailers along the coast and across the United States, as well as seeking opportunities to promote their scooter.
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.
Ahearne Cycles are another great custom builder from Portland Oregon. Joseph Ahearne custom builds these great platformed cargo bicycles that are built to haul just about anything. Framesets are $1750 and complete bicycles start at $2750. If you’re committed to living the zero emission lifestyle and have the money to spare, you might want to give Joseph a ring.
Yuba Bicycles is a long bike company based in Northern California. From the looks of it, their quality is solid with modern components. We’ve seen some of their complete bicycles for as low as $800 at some budget bicycle dealers. On Yuba’s website, they start at $1100 with Shimano Acera components and go up from there depending on features. Their electric version is available for $2600. OUCH!!!!
We really love long bikes as a category and they’re great for families with older kids. If you’re buying a long bike for the first time, make sure to budget an extra $200 for some waterproof saddlebags (panniers), running boards for extra riders, and dual arm kickstand when loading kids. That way you can get the most out of your long bike.
Update: Yuba now sells their Mundo V4 for $1299 with SRAM components, including super stable double kickstand, bamboo deck and integrated wheelskirts. The elMundo with BionX goes for $3199.
From it’s specifications list, the Feetz is one amazing tadpole trike (two front & one rear wheel). It has front independent steering (ackerman steering), converts almost instantly into a stroller, and leans into turns.
Most tricycles tend to feel tip prone because they can’t lean into turns like a bicycle. The Feetz over comes this through it’s leaning design. Without riding one, we can’t tell how it actually performs. However from their videos, the Feetz looks fantastic.
The only catch is that it retails for £1,200 in the UK, which means it’ll be well over $2000 US dollars by the time it reaches the States.
We’ve been meaning to write a post about CETMA Cargo for some time. The place is run by Lane Kagay who makes fantastic custom built bakfiets cargo bicycles and racks. If you’re thinking about buying a bakfiets, rather than shipping one to the States, you should seriously consider getting a skilled local builder like Lane to build one for you. You’ll get a custom bicycle with great components for about the same price as shipping a stock Euro built bicycle to the States.
Lane’s bicycles have some great features like disk brakes, triangulated frame for strength, and customizable modular design. Check out Lane’s website for more photos.
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.
This is a great idea. Not sure how well it works, but you’ve got to give Ryan McFarland kudos for coming up with this idea and for recycling. He’s got tons of other interesting projects he’s built on instructables.com and his blog which is worth checking out.
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
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…
Montague Bicycle Company has been making folding bicycles for the US military since 1997. These bicycles are foldable and can be parachuted in with soldiers and marines. They are currently being tested for use by US Army Special Forces.
Bicycle crank repaired with welded on construction rebar
Here’s a picture I took in Korea of a repaired delivery bike. Rather than throw away the bike or broken part, the owner just welded construction rebar to fix a broken crank. I love seeing old bicycles evolve and take on a life of their own. I guess when you have to use your bicycle everyday for work, it’s a completely different mindset from people using bicycles for sport. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re useful.
Weighing in at more than 50 lbs, the Swiss Army Bicycle is the furthest away you can get from Lance Armstrong’s 16 pound Trek Madone 6.9 However, with its elegant simplicity, utility, and low maintenance design, the Swiss Army Bike had what it took to keep the Swiss Army chugging along for almost a century. Although it was phased out by the Swiss military in 2001, if you’re lucky, you can spot some of these bicycles on eBay going for a pretty penny.
My friend at the product design firm IDEO sent me a link to their winning entry in the "Innovate or Die" competition hosted by Specialized Bikes and Google. The contest challenged designers/innovators to develop a pedal powered device which has a positive impact on the environment. IDEO’s entry was the Aquaduct, a cargo tricycle that transports, filters, and stores water for use by people in the developing world.
www.Worldbike.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to building load carrying bicycles for people in developing nations. From the looks of their website, they make use of bicycles that are readily available locally.
Most of the bicycles look like adaptations to the ubiquitous Chinese bike that Chairman Mao made famous in the 20th Century. These Chinese bikes are everywhere in the third world. They are affordable, built to last, easy to maintain and highly modifiable.
Especially interesting about Worldbike’s website, is their open source community approach to designing bikes. Currently their bicycles are on display at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum as part of their new exhibit that showcases products designed for the needs of the developing world. The exhibit is called: Design for the Other 90%
If you’re interested in designing bicycles and helping people in the developing world, check out www.worldbike.org
It’s great to see people helping people. Keep up the great work guys!
A volunteer aid worker in Namibia named Aaron Wieler has developed a bicycle towed ambulance trailer for use in developing countries. The design looks very robust and easily serviced in places with limited equipment. You can find out more at the: Bicycle Ambulance Project Homepage