The Pfanntoom 1

Pfanntoom 1

The above photo by supertsaar on Flickr reminded me of a conversation I had with Jos Louwman, founder of the well-known Mac Bike bicycle rental company in Amsterdam. Jos rode the same “Pfanntoom 1” bakfiets to our Oktoberfietsfeest party this past fall and I commented that it reminded me of the casket bakfiets I’d seen recently.

Workcycles Anniversary / Shop Opening Party

As it turns out there’s quite an interesting story behind the Pfanntoom and the reference to the casket trike was eerily close to the truth. Here’s a rough translation of Jos’ response:

“Funny that you the Phanntoom 1 compare to the casket bakfiets. My friend Henk Pfann (the godfather of the Amsterdam Bakfiets Club) is buried in the box that was originally mounted on the bakfiets. As a memorial we mounted a pontoon from a aquaplane on the chassis.”

It’s also worth noting that the box that was originally on this bakfiets (the one Henk Pfann is now buried in) was in the shape of a book, specifically a bible; Henk and his family were in the book business.

The name Pfanntoom is a word play on the Dutch “fantoom”, the English “phantom” (meaning the same thing) and the name Pfann.

A little more about Henk Pfann on Wikipedia.

The bakfiets chassis under the pontoon appears to be an old Maxwell, a long extinct firm that made some of the best bakfietsen ever. Maxwells often had unusual features including triple main tubes, lovely double chainstays, and a handle built into a rear fender reinforcement. Maxwell was founded in 1914 and continued until 1961 though I’ve never seen a Maxwell bakfiets or transportfiets that looked as if it was built after WWII. The Maxwell name is still in use for a generic line of Dutch city bikes but these don’t have anything to do with the old Maxwell.

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