A couple weeks ago I wrote about a pedal powered snow plow from the USA. Now I’ll make it clear that, as stodgy as they can be, the Dutch will not be outdone in the area of bike innovation.
Let’s begin with the Monsterfiets. That’s “Monsterbike” for those of you who haven’t yet noticed that “fiets” = “bike” in Dutch and that the Dutch have absolutely no problem with appropriating words from other languages, especially mighty, media-friendly Engels.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that every Burning Man and Kinetic Sculpture race features two dozen “bikes” more amazing than this one. However the Monsterfiets seems to have piqued the interest of the Dutch and the above YouTube video has been watched almost a million times. I suppose, a la South Park, builder Wouter van den Bosch must be headed to Canada to collect his You Tube popularity paycheck.
I suppose the most remarkable thing about the video is that nobody seems to find the Monsterbike remarkable. “Sure, whatever. I see a billion bikes every day. So what if yours looks like a kid’s tricycle with a bigger front wheel.” I guess we call that “nonplussed”. (more…)
Coffee is good. Bakfietsen are good. So why not combine them into mobile coffee vending trikes? It’s a business with a very low barrier to entry, catchy and probably fun too. Great idea and though you write us weekly to build such a beast… you’re actually not the first one to think of it. You might have first seen it on TV. (more…)
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.
A man travels with his home-built home on a bicycle. That’s all I know about this one. Thanks to artist friend Abner Preis for the tip but don’t go searching for his website – it seems to have been hacked into a porno site, I assume NOT Abner’s doing.
Speaking of houses on bikes I’d forgotten about this fantastic camper bike from Kevin Cyr:
UPDATE: Jason Moore in the first comment below reminds me of another bicycle camper/motorhome, this one traveled with and lived in full-time by Brian Campbell. His bike, which has gone through several iterations is ingenious. Brian’s situation though isn’t one to be envied; I’m under the impression he doesn’t live in his bicycle entirely by choice. You can read about Brian on Bike Portland, and also the sites of many others who’ve met Brian during his travels. Photos by Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland.
But then I begin to google camper bikes further and find that a whole new world has opened to me: bicyclists not content to merely travel by bicycle but who also insist upon sleeping in or on their bicycle. Take these Midget Bicycle Campers from Australia for example:
And a family from Zeeland (as in the original Zeeland that New Zealand is the new version of in the same way that New York is the new version of Amsterdam… or something like that) who used to ride their old bakfiets as a camper, kids riding alongside on their own little bikes.
A few years ago there was an Italian firm called “Tasso Italia” that offered (though probably didn’t ever sell) a copy of the Main Street Pedicabs trike with a pop-out camper tent on the bed but they seem to have disappeared into the ether.
Of course that’s all good fun but we shouldn’t ignore the countless rickshaw drivers in Indonesia, India and elsewhere who sleep in their bikes out of necessity and not for kicks. It’s about as easy to forget as the fact that a great number (a majority even?) of transportation cyclists in the US are neither “cycle chic” nor “cycling enthusiast”. In fact they’re people who cannot drive; they’ve either lost their licenses or are too poor to own a car, and their accident statistics are so appalling that they skew US bicycling safety stats markedly toward the danger direction.
WorkCycles didn’t make this one and I haven’t seen it yet myself. The Amsterdam city District “de Baarsjes” is using this brilliant “Asbakfiets” to promote smoke free and butt free surroundings. They’re giving out little cigarette and gum wallet/baggies to hold the nasties until a suitable trash container can be found.
A little background:
Ashtray = asbak
Cargo trike = bakfiets
The “bak” part of the words is the same: means “tray”, “box”, or “bin”. I suppose “bucket” probably also comes from the same origin.
Just browsing through the old photos here, and I came across some nice oldies: January 2004, WorkCycles‘ first shop in the Veemarkt in Amsterdam under construction. We’d cleaned it up from it’s former (extremely dirty) life as a truck garage and installed the platform that’s still in place.
The large beams were purchased new but the rest of the wood was second hand. I bought an entire truckload of used “betonplex” which is an extremely tough and water resistant coated plywood. It’s a very expensive material and I scored it cheaply but… it was covered in concrete molding residue and had thousands of (bend and broken) screws to be removed. It took a friend and I a couple weeks to clean these boards but to this day almost all of the flooring and shelving in the shop is from this purchase.
A few bikes are visible: Gustav Transport trike on the right and on the left a handful of Monarks including a Long John. Except for those big beams, the Gustav transported practically everything needed to build this shop. Sometimes it was loaded with 250+ kg of materials. That bike remained in rental service until 2008 when Melissa Halley purchased it. I’ll tell that story in a following post.
June 2004, WorkCycles Veemarkt shop is open for business. It wasn’t busy yet and here artist friends Sietske Tjallingii and Eric Staller are using it as HQ for a film shoot nearby. I was happy to participate, especially considering the attractive women involved. Kyoko and I didn’t meet until a couple years later.
…while hauling about a million styrofoam boxes on a cargo trike. All in a day’s work in China. Photo by Elyse Sewell, a fashion model living in China (I think). Her copious posts are sarcastic and insightful, filled with photos of the absurdities of her daily life as a “ladyposer” and all the weird things she comes across. Such as a guy talking on the phone while cycling with about 40 cubic meters of styrofoam. We don’t even see that in Amsterdam.
I find this Indian rickshaw converted to a school bus to be particularly bizarre. There’s nothing at all strange or bad about carrying kids to and from school in a trike. In fact WorkCycles sells trikes specifically made for this purpose and they’re becoming quite popular in various cities around the Netherlands. The kids love it. See the examples below:
No, what’s bizarre about the Indian bicycle school bus is how is almost seems to have been designed to be unpleasant for the kids yet not out of economic necessity. A couple of the kids inside are smiling but I suspect its just for the camera. The others don’t seem too happy about the situation and who can blame them? I count at least nine kids in the box. There’s no way to make a bike to carry nine kids in spacious comfort but I’m sure it could be better than this.
I just don’t get it. It looks as if the child carrier box has been built especially to fit this rickshaw chassis, as opposed to having been adapted, second-hand from some other vehicle. But maybe that’s not the case – perhaps the box was originally intended to carry livestock such as sheep, a task it seems better suited for.
Otherwise why make such a cramped and enclosed kid carrier in a place that gets so hot? The roof could easily be higher and still carry the backpacks and protect the kids from sun/rain. Why are the windows so tiny… and further covered by a metal cross bar? Would the kids otherwise jump out and run away? I would. Likewise, with no significant additional cost the box could be extended to the side over each wheel to create more space inside.
Call me arrogant but I don’t believe this situation has anything to do with economics. It just seems like lousy design. Can anybody shed more light on these bikes and/or schools and/or children in New Delhi? Are there reasons beyond my narrow-minded, egocentric comprehension that have dictated this design? Is “public school” actually just a euphemism for “jail for juvenile delinquents” in New Delhi? Please help because my head is spinning.