Bakfiets on the bakfiets ambulance

bakfiets op een bakfiets

A while back I wrote about how some goon stole the rear wheel of Doede’s antique bakfiets. After some measurements we determined that this bike was quite strange in that the rear hub axle and crank axle were narrower than usual. Consequently the chain line is much closer to the center of the bike meaning that even if we widened the frame (40mm!) to fit one of our wheels the rear cog wouldn’t line up with the chainring in front anyway. It was decided to bring the bakfiets to the WorkCycles shop for further investigation and repair.

So how does one transport a non-functional bakfiets? On another bakfiets of course! Here Mette van der Linden (brother of web genius and maker of these photos Doede) rides the bakfiets ambulance across Amsterdam. Mind you, an old bakfiets is not exactly something you can just toss in your car, even if you happen to have one; This particular example is over 300cm long, 130cm wide and weighs probably 130kg… OK somewhat less since it’s missing it’s almost 10kg rear wheel thanks to some knuckle-dragging cretin.

bakfiets op een bakfiets 4

bakfiets op een bakfiets 3

bakfiets op een bakfiets 2

bakfiets op een bakfiets 1

24 Responses to “Bakfiets on the bakfiets ambulance”

  1. Andy in Germany Says:

    That street in the first picture looks familiar: is that the Goudsbloemstraat by the Jordaan shop?

  2. BlackDawn Says:

    Funny pics, but i would use the Trailgator concept in reverse (lift the real of the bakfiets), much easier then lifting a 130kg beast to & from another bakfiets.

  3. BlackDawn Says:

    oops – rear not real 🙂

  4. henry Says:

    Andy,
    Yes, the first photo is actually at the destination and then the others are in chronological order.

  5. henry Says:

    blackdawn,
    Agreed that it would have avoided the heavy lifting but the “trailgator concept” would in turn require some fairly ingenious rigging and be a pain to ride. It’d also require a trike as a tow vehicle since a bike needs to lean with the backwards bakfiets wouldn’t. Hernias aside I think they did it the easy way after all.

  6. BlackDawn Says:

    Carry Freedom’s hitch can solve the ingenious rigging issue, no need for a trike.
    I guess calling it a trailer would be more appropriate then “trailgator concept”

    I think riding a 260kg, 2.5m wide bakfiets would be a bigger pain to ride then a 150 kg bicycle with a large trailer.

  7. henry Says:

    BlackDawn,
    Keep in mind that no solutions were needed at all for this transport. Doede and Mette just borrowed a bakfiets and returned a couple hours later with two of them. They didn’t have any problem doing it and seemed to have fun in the process.

    I’m sure if we made a habit of riding incapacitated bakfietsen around by bicycle we’d invent a better way to do it but for now this seems to work just fine. It’s just not something that comes up every day.

  8. BlackDawn Says:

    Henry,
    Murphy told me to update you on the 50 bakfiets you will need to tow next week as a result of your answer 😛

    for me the fun would be to improvise the towing bar, so again that’s what I would do, riding a 260Kg monster with bad visibility & a wide load (even one time) – no fun at all imho.
    so we can argue on this issue all week, it’s not a matter of the right way to do it, but each preferred way.

  9. Mark Says:

    I like the idea of a bakfiets transporting another bakfiets.

    Judging by how narrow the rear axle of the original wheel was it sounds like a front wheel from a standard bike could have been bolted on temporarily and then a buddy could have towed the disabled bike back to the shop. They might have even been able to attach the rear end to an old skateboard. In any case the way that they did it was probably the quickest.

  10. henry Says:

    Mark, the rear axle of Doede’s bakfiets is 140mm thus still slightly wider than any standard bicycle wheel. The rear axles of our own bakfietsen are 170mm! But even if they had a spare rear wheel to put in the bakfiets towing that beast would be a huge hassle. How would they steer it with that huge box swinging around?

    Keep in mind that these guys are not particularly mechanically inclined, which is why they brought their wheel-less bakfiets to our shop in the first place. So a little heave-ho and the job was basically done. No need to invent special solutions for non-problems.

  11. Mark Says:

    Henry, The way that I envisioned it was that the bakfiets being towed would have a rider steering. The other problem would have been no brakes on the spare wheel.

    I agree that they did it the best way possible. Any time you increase the number of wheels on the ground the resistance is increased as is the difficulty of maneuvering through traffic.

  12. BlackDawn Says:

    Mark,
    One extra wheel won’t change the fact that the two bakfiets are a lot heavier than a bicycle & bakfiets, so less resistance here,
    as for maneuvering, did you notice the two bakfiets are about 2-2.5m wide? that’s a lot for an SUV (hum-v is about 2-2.2), not to mention a bicycle.

    There is no best way, there is only a way.
    mine will be easiest to ride while Mette’s way is the simplest, yours is in the middle.

  13. Doede Says:

    If the wheel would get stolen again (which I hope not!), I think we’ll transport our bakfiets the same way again. Just to see the looks on all the faces again 😀

  14. Doede Says:

    By the way… We (and Henry) had great difficulties finding a second hand wheel in the first place. But finding a new wheel is difficult as well, because it’s not a standard size at all. Meaning, I think, that the scoundrels that stole our wheel, can’t use it for anything. :-p

  15. henry Says:

    Doede,
    Speaking of that strange rear wheel… it’s replacement was built yesterday and should be installed today. It was a serious quest to find a suitable hub, rim and spokes that could be combined into a wheel. So now you’ve got an Italian moped hub, Belgian 10 gauge spokes, an Italian transporter rim and a Dutch bakfiets tire… and a fat invoice we’ll just have to settle up with future web work, of which there’s always plenty to do.

    I recommend painting this wheel in some garish color to ward off future scumbags.

  16. BlackDawn Says:

    Doede,
    More likely Someone needed yours because of the unusual size.

  17. henry Says:

    BlackDawn,
    Very possible though I don’t usually like to credit thieves with so much forethought and intelligence. Most of the bakfietsen in the city that aren’t owned by the couple shops that rent them are very sloppily and randomly repaired with parts from whatever donor was available: cheap mountain bike tires and cranks, bed frames mounted (crooked yet) as cargo carriers, fenders long gone…

    In any case it’s much easier to fit a narrower wheel to a wider frame than the reverse. The cog, for example, can be moved outboard with spacers, but not inward.

  18. BlackDawn Says:

    Doede,
    when rare things gets stolen it’s probebly because you cant find them in shops.
    I don’t like underestimating my enemy, I believe they are very smart.

  19. BlackDawn Says:

    oops sorry Henry, that last replay was meant for you.

  20. Todd Edelman Says:

    Hey, is it too late to suggest an inflatable balloon with a Workcycles logo for heavy lifting assist as long as didnt get in the way of the trams or you would use http://www.angelfire.com/rebellion/nikotus/poster.jpg instead as an image as long as you donated the fee or changed the party the next time.

  21. henry Says:

    Ooh, I really like the heavy lifting balloon as another highly technical solution for a nonexistent problem. Just think about the need for sophisticated tethering and steering systems, helium storage, an entire art devoted to the safe connection of the balloon and the bakfiets and the skills needed to guide it through the city. I suppose we’ll have to offer courses and certifications to the rental customers who want to use the system.

  22. BlackDawn Says:

    Finally the man recognize the potential

  23. drooderfiets Says:

    I saw you paddling in the street! I saw that rescue, wanted to puck up my camera too but… I was running late…

  24. oilios Says:

    hahhahaha the load is so big, like an ant carring an elephant ;))

    I’ve got an antic bike for sale, if somebody interested, please contact me:oliosmas@web.de

Leave a Reply