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Cargo Bikes

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on December 3rd, 2008

Read the full article by Mikael Colville-Andersen on the Los Angeles Times website.

“The transportation of goods and children through an urban landscape is a universal need. In Copenhagen many our of citizens choose the self-propelled transport option and cycle to work, school and on errands. … In Copenhagen, however, we have our own version of the SUV. We call it ‘ladcyklen’ or ‘the cargo bike’. Often there are goods too large or cumbersome for convenient bicycle transport and if you have a child or two or three, they have places to go and things to do and you are the one who has to get them there. In Denmark the three-wheeled cargo bike is the vehicle of choice for moving things about and the cargo bike market here continues to enjoy steady growth. A cargo bike is a generic term for any bicycle that is designed to carry ‘stuff,’ whether it has two wheels or three. …

“Amazingly, only about 40 percent of Copenhageners own cars, even though this is the capital city of one of the richest countries in the world. Sure, vehicles are taxed heavily but the reason is simply because we have the infrastructure in place for bicycles and we have a rather good public transport system. Even 50 percent of the citizens of Berlin do not own a vehicle, for the same reasons. Fifty eight percent of Copenhageners, when polled, say that they ride their bike because it is easy and fast. Only one percent say they do in order to help the environment. Basically, we’re not environmentalists. We’re just people who need to get around the city, like anywhere else. …

“The continued growth of our cargo bike culture has contributed to the improvement of our bicycle infrastructure. On average a separated bike lane – by that I mean separated from the sidewalk by a curb and from the traffic by another curb – measures 7.2 feet wide. The city of Copenhagen is increasing the average width to 8.2 feet. For reasons of increasing safety and to accommodate the bicycle traffic, but also because cargo bikes are so popular. And wide.

“Cargo bikes may be our version of the SUV but they are an aesthetic addition to the flow of bicycles. They glide along at a slower pace and can sometimes be difficult to pass but it’s always lovely to see kids sitting in the box reading a book or munching on an apple or even having a nap. So many families in Copenhagen invest in a cargo bike when they have kids, in lieu of a car. The kids earn to ride bikes, sure, but the cargo bikes are practical for many reasons. Even many families who own a car have a cargo bike instead of a second car. …

“Cargo bikes may now be the domain of the family but new variations are constantly popping up in the city. A mobile coffee bar, a newspaper rack, fresh fruit, bike messengers, ice cream freezers, you name it. Anything you need to sell or transport can be done on a custom-designed cargo bike. Bike trailers are still seen on occasion but the cargo bike beats the trailer for so many good reasons. Heavier loads, kids seated up front where you can talk to them, more stability while cycling. But the trailer still serves the people. IKEA of Denmark found out that 20 percent of their customers arrived at their suburban big box stores by bike or public transport. They have now provided free Velorbis bikes and trailers for their carless customers who need to get home with purchases. Just leave a deposit, ride home with your stuff and return the bike. Cheaper than a taxi and easier than the bus or the train. This idea is now spreading to IKEAs in other European countries.”

Ref: Mikael Colville-Andersen (Visit the blog to get full story)

2 Responses to “Cargo Bikes”

  1. hugh frost Says:

    December 12th, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    thats great the cargo bike could work well with freight*bus(see bus can carrey the biks on bord lots of room ,so can do part bus part bike combo trip.
    Hugh frost

  2. kaplıca Says:

    May 4th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Cargo Bikes great article thank you.