Archive | tricycles

Republic: Cargo Bikes for Kids

Tired of hauling your kids and your groceries by bike? Make them pull their own weight, and some extra.



Republic Bike’s mini-cargo-tricycle, one of very few cargo bike options for kids on the market, comes in 5 different colors, feature a front wooden crate with a maximum recommended load of 10lbs (approx 4.5 kilos) and a bell. The tricycle build guarantees stability for the young riders, with a recommended riding age of 4 to 6 years old.

The bike itself is simple; the Florida based company focused on providing a dutch-style bicycle with a single speed and back-pedal brakes.

Retails for $349 on Republic Bike’s website.


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Featured in:

The Shopping Mama

You may know Republic Bikes from… their fleet of multi-colored bikes for Google‘s campus in Mountain View, CA.

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Bibliobicicletas: Cargo Bikes Turned Libraries

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.

Links to the various websites and builders:

Pima County Book Bike – Haley Tricycles

Oregon Street Books

San Francisco’s BibliobicicletaBikes at Work

Oakland’s Bike Library – Kick Trailer

Berkeley’s Library on Wheels

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Vélo Électrique

The ultimate electric cargo trike. It will carry four small kids plus your groceries. And then it will help you get up a hill with a small motor. All this, and it’s still pretty affordable for its category of cargo bike, starting at under $2,500. The creator, Jeremy Davies, keeps the price low by using basic, unbranded parts which are assembled in the UK where Vélo Électrique is based.

The bike is a full 225 cm long, with enough space in the cargo box to feature two (removable) facing bench seats with safety straps for children. In addition the rack in the back can carry some extra panniers for when you need all the load-carrying you can get. The bike is outfitted with V Brakes on both front wheels as well as a rear wheel disc brake.

Not only is it highly functional, but they have also been successful in marketing it to local businesses as a tool for development. See their school meals delivery bike pictured below, or their off-road ice cream delivery trike for example.

Great additional features: A kid’s bike rack in the front. Option to purchase a dog carrying kit as well as custom baby bike seats. And a removable rain cover for the cargo box with windows and zip access.

Future fleet additions: Vélo Électrique is now taking advance orders for their next product, the E350. Once on the market they expect it to be the strongest road legal cargo bike frame on the market, with a 3mm thick tube wall, and capable of carrying loads well over 120kg. They are also researching a solar charging system that would enable riders to recharge their batteries as their ride.

Featured in:

The Guardian


Facebook: @VeloElectriqueUK

Twitter: @VeloCargoBikes 

Velo Electrique - picture taken from their blog

Velo Electrique – picture taken from their blog

Velo Electrique - picture taken from their Facebook Page

Velo Electrique – picture taken from their Facebook Page

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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.” –

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.

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Onyacycles: Leaning Tricycle

There’s a new company called OnyaCycles in San Francisco, that is going to build a leaning cargo tricycle. There’s no word on the price, but it looks great. The designer of the tricycle is Saul Griffith the inventor genius from OtherLab.

Onya Cycles Website

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Mexican American Trike

I was walking at Redondo Beach Pier and met some low rider bike builders that tricked out their kid’s cargo bicycles. They both put a lot of work into their trikes and added a great Mexican American style to it. It’s great seeing basic cargo bikes evolve into custom tricked out machines.

FYI: The red trike is not made by Radio Flyer. The builder just wanted to go for that look.

Great work guys!

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Feetz: Leaning Trike, Independent Steering, Converts to Stroller

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.


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Hudson Urban Bicycles

Hudson Urban Bicycles is an American custom bicycle builder located in the West Village (New York City). They make these really COOL rear load cargo tricycles for carrying kids. The NY Times did a video interview of the owner talking about his design. If you’re in NYC, definitely check them out.

BTW: The mom in the photo driving the cargo tricycle is the actress Kate Winslet from the movie Titanic. Couldn’t ask for a better endorsement.

• Hudson Urban Bicycles
Hudson Urban Bicycle Blog
NY Times Video

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Is an American maker of tadpole style tricycles for young families, where the children sit in front of the driver. It has Ackerman steering similar to the Nihola tricycle. However, what makes it unique is that it can quickly be converted into either a single person bicycle or into a jogging stroller. The cargo area is made of fabric and tube construction similar to most bicycle trailers.

We noticed they were selling these through Target’s online store for a while. Which is an amazing approach because it means that there’s a possibility that these could become more mainstream in America. Not just for bicycle geeks like us.

Of course the early adopters would have to pay a premium price ($1399 base model), but as sales increase, quantities of scale would hopefully kick in. If they could get these into stores like Costco or Sam’s Club at around $700 or less (combined cost of a medium quality bicycle and bicycle trailer), MyZigo could become more commonplace. This is the first real attempt at bringing a refined factory built cargo tricycle to the masses in the US. The Zigo team should be applauded for their efforts.

As for the trike itself, here are some quick thoughts.

Factory built
Unique convertible design (Bicycle/Stroller/Tricycle)
Folds flat for transportation
Weatherproof cargo area for kids
Safety harnesses for kids
Ackerman steering (stable ride)

Small cargo area due to Ackerman steering. Families with more than one kid might find it cramped when grocery shopping or running errands.
Fabric style cargo area, difficult to customize.
Complex converting system.
High initial cost.

If not for the price, this could be a great cargo tricycle for a lot of families. It’s safe, looks refined, the kids are comfy, and they are in sight of the driver. Also, the Ackerman steering design means it has better stability vs. pivot style tricycles. However, having the convertible design adds complexity and cost to the design. Some families might even find that they don’t convert the tricycle into a stroller at all.

For a first round, the MyZigo has a the makings of real hit. However, families on a budget will most likely have to go with a China made Christiania style trike. However, for those with large discretionary income, MyZigo is definitely a good option.


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TNT Post

European mail delivery company TNT Post is another company making use of cargo tricycles to get around congested urban traffic. Here’s a photo that someone sent me of their cargo tricycle in use.

Link: TNT Post Webpage

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Taga Stroller – Game Changer?

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.

Taga Website

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The Perils of Hybrid Design – Triobike Redux

Triobike is a Danish company that makes a family tricycle with a nifty “Multi-purpose Design” which can be converted from a tricycle to a bicycle to a stroller. On paper it has many of the design features that families are looking for such as 5 point harnesses for kids, front & rear lights, disk brakes, etc. It’s sleek minimalist European industrial design will send hearts aflutter anywhere. Who wouldn’t want a tricycle you could drive the kids to daycare with, convert into a bicycle, and then ride to work with.

However in the case of Triobike, it’s Achilles Heal may be that it does neither of it’s intended purposes very well. As a tricycle, reviewers are beginning to talk about it’s dangerously unstable ride. As a bicycle, it’s sporty design doesn’t lend itself well for city riding (no fenders, uncomfortable forward leaning style, men’s style swing over frame) Finally as a stroller it’s unwieldy bulk makes it impractical. Imagine a parent struggling to load it into a car or better yet trying to get it through the doorway of a local store with a sleeping toddler on board.

Hybrid designs in and of themselves are a neat idea. They take up less space but serve multiple purposes. However, history has been marked with endless hybrid designs that try to do too many things and fail to do any well. Airplanes that convert into a car, cars that convert into a boat, and so on.

In the case of Triobike, it’s a great idea with flawed execution. Like any groundbreaking innovative design there will be growing pains and hopefully an evolution to an ideal form. If the makers of Triobike continue to refine and iterate the design, then it has a great future. Otherwise, it’ll remain another industrial design study where style has won out over function, with the added bonus of a $3000 USD price tag.

Triobike Links:
Triobike photos by Carteco
Triobike Video

Other Luxury Cargo Tricycle Makers:
Winther Kangaroo
MyZigo (US manufacturer)

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Paris: Cargo Bicycle Delivery Network

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.

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Pashley Freightmate Cargo Tricycle

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.

Their website is:

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Twike – Human Electric Hybrid Car

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.


Check out their website at:

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New Amsterdam Project

The New Amsterdam Project is a company that was started in 2006 which offers delivery services by cargo bicycle in the Cambridge, MA area. They also design, build, and sell their own flavor of custom cargo bicycles.

One of the key points in their mission statement is that they would like to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. In high density urban areas like Boston, cargo bicycles are a great alternative to monster delivery trucks.

Keep up the good work!

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IDEO: Aquaduct Water Purifying Bicycle

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.

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Aileron Trike: Tilting Three Wheeler

Inventor Wayne Soohoo has been working years on a system that allows a tricycle to lean into turns. The leaning allows tricycles to go into turns at higher speeds with stability. Although it looks like there haven’t been many updates to his site for years, there is a treasure full of great information for anyone thinking of building their own leaning tricycle. Hopefully, someday we’ll see a mainstream leaning tricycle based on his designs.  Keep up the great work Wayne!


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Smart Trike – Smart Urban Transportation

Dutch company, SmartTrike, makes a fantastic cargo tricycle that comes in a variety of configurations. In the photo from their website, you can see two versions, the kid carrier and the basic cargo box. The tricycle is also available in a other models such as a solar powered icebox version for vending ice cream and soda. Also, the cargo box is available alone as a push cart for vending and moving cargo.


Similar to other European luxury cargo tricycles, the SmartTrike comes with a hefty starting price of € 2199 Euros ($3000 USD). The tricycle looks great and has many useful options like power assist & onboard lights. However, it comes at a price only a few can afford.


Hopefully enough early adopters will buy these great tricycles and bring the price down to a family budget.


Check out their website at:



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Christiani Tricycle a Danish Original

Christianiabicycles_2The 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.

• Christiania Bikes:
• Christiani Freetown:
• History of Christiania Freetown:

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Types of Steering

A front load (tadpole) cargo trike has two wheels in front and one wheel in the rear. There are three main types of steering for front load cargo trikes:

• Axle-pivot
• Articulating frame
• Ackerman linkage

Axle-pivot steering is the most common kind of steering on a front-load trike as well as the simplest to manufacture & maintain. Axle pivot steering is great at low speeds, because it has a much tighter turning radius than Ackerman steering. Also, for the same size tricycle frame, Axle pivot steering trikes can fit a much larger cargo box.

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Triobike – Stroller, Trike, Bicycle Hybrid

Triobike is a Danish company that makes a family tricycle that can be converted into a bicycle or stroller. It has pivot style steering and also boasts features such as a 5 point safety harness for the kids, front and rear lights, firehood, disk brakes, etc. Although we haven’t seen any owner reviews yet, Triobike’s unique design has been garnering a lot of praise within the design community.

The Triobike could be the perfect thing for families that are trying to do away with a family car. Drive the kids to daycare, convert triobike into a bicycle, and then ride the bike to work.

It retails for 2375 Euros (around $3200 US Dollars), which puts it in a similar price range as the Winther Kangaroo and Nihola. Hopefully for all three tricycles, as sales grow the prices will come down.

They’ve got a great website, where you can configure and order a Triobike. They’ve also got videos of a person converting the bike in a few easy steps.

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Winther Kangaroo

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.

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Tricycle for the Handicapped


HC and I were skateboarding at the beach the other day and we met a guy who was riding a mobility tricycle. The rider was mobility impaired, but someone had designed this great bicycle for him. It was completely adapted for his needs. The gear ratio was low for easy pedaling and he had foot straps to keep his feet on the pedals.

We weren’t able to talk for long, but it was great to see that he was enjoying the beach and weather as much as we were.

It really reminded me that for the vast majority of people, bicycling is more about enjoying the ride than about trying to win a race.

Keep on riding dude! and see you around.

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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!

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