Good Stuff from Switzerland

Fr8-extrawide-hebie-doubledutch

The Swiss are known for making and liking “good stuff” thus it makes me proud when Sjoerd at Swiss WorkCycles dealer DoubleDutch sends along these great photos showing how happy he is with our Fr8 bikes. Sjoerd also does a fun blog called Bakfiets Totaal. There you’ll find nice workbike photos and great ideas.

The photo above illustrates how stable your bike will stand with our special, extra wide version of the Hebie 2-leg centerstand. The Hebie is currently the only really solid and reliable centerstand on the market, and we’ve tested them all. Our stand simply has legs with a different bend to make it a few centimeters wider… and thus (even) more stable. Sjoerd was apparently so convinced of the stability that he put his lovely Rega amplifier in the crate, as evidenced below. Now that does seem a strange thing to do but I don’t presume to understand other cultures, and it makes for a nice photo anyway.

Fr8-Rega-doubledutch

Looking at this picture reminds me of our quest for nice, suitable crates to mount on bikes. At WorkCycles we fit hundreds of tough plastic crates to the front carriers of bikes. They work just fine and are relatively cheap. The Dutch milk crate below is a good example; It’s utterly indestructible and a handy size… but pretty it ain’t.

melkkrat-480

Customers sometimes find charming, old, wooden crates formerly used by beer, wine or produce companies. These look great on the bikes and are just about as handy as the modern plastic crates, if somewhat heavier. We’d love to have a collection of these at the WorkCycles shops for customers to choose from… but where to find a stock of them? Ideas?

19 Responses to “Good Stuff from Switzerland”

  1. james Says:

    there must be a stash of old wooden crates for tulip bulbs somewhere in the netherlands

  2. henry Says:

    James, Good idea… we’ll have to figure out how to investigate that one.

  3. Geoff Says:

    Henry, with all the breweries and quality Belgian beer cafes around amsterdam, they must have some crates handy. I can guarantee you that people in the US would love to throw on a nice wooden crate with WESTMALLE or AFFLIGEM all over it. even better would be to ship a full crate and have the owner empty it themselves! 🙂

  4. henry Says:

    Geoff, That’s exactly what we’re thinking about. Problem is that the breweries stopped using wooden crates a long time ago and the ones we see are quite random in size and condition. Probably if we start hunting for them we’ll find one here and there on the various online auction sites but I’m guessing it’d be nearly impossible to find a whole bunch of them together.

    John, We sell a few different industrial plastic crates, all of which are very tough. All of the consumer market crates we’ve found are too light and made from too cheap materials. They break quite quickly. There are also various wooden crates for sale in Holland but we find them all too expensive for the cheap softwood and sloppy assembly and uninspiring design.

  5. John . Dublin Ireland Says:

    I have had this problem of looking for a suitable Crate for my Work Cycles Bike, Something light but strong. I found a Yellow Plastic Fruit Crate in a Rubbish Skip which did me for awhile but it was to small really.I was looking around for a Milk Crate without Luck. Until one Day in my Local Supermarket I found they were selling Collapsible Plastic Crates that could be Flat Packed.

    This is the Size of a Milk Crate and light in weight and Strong and you can carry it into a Shop Flat Packed for convenience and open it up to carry your stuff. I have to get some stickers now with the Slogan One Less Car to put on the sides.

  6. macfred (wormholetraveller) Says:

    I think you have to ask a vintager …
    On ebay you will find a few offers : http://cgi.ebay.de/Weinkisten-Weinkiste-Holzkisten-Kiste-Rabatte-beachten_W0QQitemZ270489035288QQcmdZViewItemQQptZRegale_Regalsysteme?hash=item3efa672218

    macred

  7. David Says:

    Ahhh! Bicycles and high-end audio— it feels like my whole reason of being. (I think I need help.)

    I don’t know, but I like the plastic crate with the WorkCycles logo. It gives the bike a practical feel to it. If I can scratch up enough cash for a FR8 next year, the bike wouldn’t feel complete without it. (I think I need help.)

  8. Steven Vance Says:

    In the US, this is a common bin for shipping stock to retail stores. If you go into a store while the employees are stocking the shelves, you usually see these bins stacked on the floor. They must be indestructible (like milk crates) because they are used over and over again:
    http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/storage/bins-totes-containers/shipping-security/distribution-container-with-hinged-lid-21-1-2×15-1-4×9-1-2

    Inexpensive, too, at only $12 USD each + shipping. Browse through the website to find all sorts of sizes and colors. The one I linked to weighs 5 pounds. Not sure if that’s more or less than the wooden or plastic crates in this blog entry.

    These are similar to the Euronorm containers WorkCycles lists on its website (I think).

  9. ten Says:

    just a suggestion, but could you get someone to make you a bunch of them? Pretty simple to make, and made out of scrap they’d all be slightly unique, maybe you could get a workscycles branding iron to brand the logo on, and you could even drag each one behind a bike for a mile or so (in the rain) to give them a kind of ‘aged’ look. Not quite authentic, but if you can’t find a source this might fill the need.

  10. treberden Says:

    Hey Henry,

    Do you know http://www.batescrates.com ?

    They are doing fine work over there, have a look.

    Treberden

  11. henry Says:

    MacFred,
    That wine crate dealer is a great tip – I’ll get Richard on the line with those folks and we’ll see what shows up.

    David,
    Of course the industrial plastic crates are most practical. I also like the look of them but not everybody shares our taste.

    Steven,
    Such nesting distribution crates are also used in Europe (in different standard sizes). They’re super tough but also ugly as sin. Generally the rectangular stacking transport crates are a better fit on the bikes. We mount lots of these but the Euronorm sizing doesn’t offer an ideal front carrier box.

    ten,
    There are already a number of firms making such crates but they’re all sort of charmless and too expensive for the quality offered. I can design a better one but given the quantities we need it’ll be too expensive.

    treberden,
    Those Bates Crates are a perfect example of my comment just above. They’re very pretty and look nicely made but nobody here will pay $125 for a wooden crate to leave outside on their bike. At €50 we might be able to sell a few of those. Our customers are not obsessive bike weenies (though my employees and I are).

    Wow, I’m amazed how much interest a little post about little boxes for bikes gets. Don’t any of you have any commentary about my post about Japan? That took a lot longer to research and write!…
    http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2009/11/20/japan-a-land-i-love-but-just-dont-understand/

  12. treberden Says:

    Hey,

    we’re just a bunch of geeks, that’s it !

    Sorry.

  13. Nick Says:

    I couldn’t find a suitable box for my bike and I wasn’t going to pay $150+ for a suitable porteur rack, so I made my own. The box frame is made out of 1/2″ diameter PVC sprinkler pipe and fittings and the sides/bottom are lawn chair webbing woven around the frame. It worked out pretty good. I probably spent $30 on pipes, fittings, bolts, glue, paint, pop rivets, and webbing. If you only made the box and not the rack also, it might be $10 less. I can send a photo if you want to see it; but I’d need an address to send it to.

  14. Peter Says:

    I can’t really add much to the ‘crate debate’ except to say that the wine boxes look pretty promising.

    Instead I wanted to sing the praises of the forgotten other subject of Henry’s post: the excellent bi-pod stand that WorkCycles bikes can be supplied with. Not just useful for loading and unloading the bike without a wobble, but also impressively capable of keeping the bike upright on high-speed (and bumpy) train journeys all by itself – wow. Highly recommended.

  15. Todd Edelman Says:

    I like those old wine crates a lot. You might want to make something to brand them with your logo, i.e. with fire and heat. So, every time someone buys one you can do the branding in front of them and of course have a glass of wine.

    But also you should offer a drilled out version of the crate with a wind faring, titanium hardware and GPS. Oh, and anti-theft coating.

  16. BlackDawn Says:

    Todd,
    I want the version with headlights that opens to missile ports.
    I would also want a rear one with a smoke generator & an oil tank for taking out the riders on the back.

    oh, I almost forgot!
    we need to find a place for the girl…

  17. henry Says:

    BlackDawn,
    Funny you mention that. We’ve built some bikes for the Dutch military and may have an opportunity to do more.

  18. BlackDawn Says:

    I was aiming at MI-6 but whatever…

  19. Steve Bell Says:

    Found this awesome crate at a farmer’s market in Holland, Michigan last Saturday. Farmer Visser sells his onions and lettuce in these things. I asked Farmer Visser how much? Ten bucks says he. Sold! Mounted to my new Workcycles Transport and away we go. http://www.bellsy.blogspot.com/

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