Some Loads Just Fit Better on a Bakfiets Than in a Car

Yes, though the photo doesn’t show it the bike was actually ridden with the crib like this.

A family in our neighborhood sent this photo to me today nicely illustrating something most people in the Netherlands take for granted: A bike is simply an amazingly convenient way to move stuff around the city. A bakfiets makes it safer and easier, and increases the load capacity but isn’t really necessary. Watch the cyclists ride by for a couple minutes (especially on a Saturday) and you’ll see somebody ride by carrying something unusual. it might be secured into a “bak” but then it might also just be balanced on their rear carrier and steadied by a hand, propped onto the handlebars or in one hand. Below some more examples, mostly from Marc at Amsterdamize

On And On

Cyclisme Naturellement

Cycle Life Around A Roundabout

Moving House By Bakfiets

9 Responses to “Some Loads Just Fit Better on a Bakfiets Than in a Car”

  1. Amsterdamize Says:

    you forgot this one đŸ™‚

  2. henry Says:

    Thanks Marc, That one is indeed perfect. I’ve added it above.

  3. fred Says:

    In my mind, it’s the main advantage of a coaster brake or a fixed wheel, that you have a free hand to carry stuff.

  4. feddo Says:

    I have a semi-related question for you, Henry, but apologies in advance for topic drift.

    Greetings from Vlieland, where due to the appearance of an ultra rare bird never before seen in NL, it is crazy busy with bird watchers. So I had trouble obtaining a Cargobike (even though the island is full of them) because all bird watchers are carrying the biggest lenses I have ever seen, binoculars, monoculars, folding chairs, HUGE tripods and backpacks stuffed with warm clothes and food in Cargobikes.

    Which means I am unable to “choose” a different Cargobike, they are all rented out.

    The problem? It is crazy wonky and nervous steering downhill compared to my Cargobike at home, despite the exact same load. I have the original model at home, yet here I have received the Mark II, the one with the more angled seat tube and the little welded bend added between seat tube and horizontal frame tube and the WAY better kickstand than original.

    Anyway, steering control bar (the horizontal one that runs to front wheel under the bak) is able to sort of freely swing left and right. I think this is what is causing the very scary steering at speed. The front wheel picks up a tremor that just seems to get worse and worse. I can remedy it by lightly slaloming on any downhill run. I have never looked, but I do not think the steering bar at home on my Mark 1 Cargobike does this. Of course, the bike rental place waved the problem away,”they all do this”. Unfortunately, I did not bring tools, nor can I get another one, and I do need one to carry the kids and their stuff around. Any thoughts?

    On a side note, I have seen the highest number of quality bikes here compared to Terschelling, Schiermonnikoog or Ameland. Tons of Cargobikes, E-bikes (Sparta Ions), Sparta Amazons, and the bike I dont know the name of with the kid pedalling up front with a fixed handlebar. There are many more here than on any other island. No 3-wheeled bakfietsen of any kind thankfully. Also cool, hotels let you park the Ions indoors and provide charging points. Grandma is loving the Ion with wind force 6 biking uphill.

    I would seriously consider seeing if a FR8 would be worth selling here. I am sure they have deals with bike manufacturers and buy cheap, but they obviously buy in serious bulk.

  5. Frits B Says:

    Feddo: Funny, Americans aren’t all that rare in Holland ….

    For those interested, it’s a Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) which breeds in North America from Alaska to the Northern US states, and winters in Central and South America. Apparently blown over across the Atlantic, or simply escaped from a zoo, who knows. I wouldn’t recognize one if it bit me, but hundreds of twitchers have gone to Vlieland to watch it, probably chasing it to its death as they did a few years ago with a Snowy Owl.

  6. feddo Says:

    Update: I received a plausible explanation from the rental company that he has these problems with his whole fleet of Mark2 Cargobikes and has a complaint out to Azor/van Andel. “I order 50 of these every year or two and this model is worse than the original”.

    His explanation seemed OK and he showed me on the bike.
    The problem is that the steering bar that runs under the bak is able to swing freely and there is some play on the balljoint that connects the bar at both ends. On the long downhill runs here on the island, this “play” on these connections allows the front wheel to vibrate slightly, which of course gets worse. It’s an oscillation that just keeps increasing. Steering input makes it better and even go away, it’s just a hassle to slalom on a downhill run on a narrow path with people coming uphill that are freaked out by this.

    So, bad batch from Azor or design flaw? The bike guy showed me that by tightening up the balljoint you lose the steering capacity because the bar can no longer move, logical. I think the problem is more pronounced here because there are relatively long downhill runs, which is of course rare here in NL. All in all, it seemed to be the best rental place, and he was prepared to explain and show me. Zeelen was the name, and he also runs the boat that takes you to see the seals.

    The twitchers are almost all gone from the island, BTW. The bird must have gone back Stateside.

  7. ubrayj02 Says:

    I’ve done a similar load many, many, times on my Workcycles bakfiets:

    I’ve gotten up to 3 boxed bikes (~150lbs load). I stack them on top of an old milk crate and keep turns wide and smooth. It’s just a short trip down to the nearest Fedex office like this.

    My next big buy is a Nijland – so I can carry a packed up Nihola 7 miles to the bus station for shipping.

  8. henry Says:

    We haul most of the parts and accessories between the two Workcycles shops in Amsterdam on Cargobikes. It must be 5 or 6km and sometimes the bikes are loaded far beyond the stated 80kg maximum. Occasionally dozens of heavy chain locks are transported this way. The steering gets somewhat rubbery and the bridges are a bear but it’s doable. Definitely pump the tires up good and hard if you’re going to load one up very heavily.

    Riding a big classic bakfiets 7 miles will take some patience. They roll very easily over flat terrain but with a 1:1 gear ratio you ride at about a jogging pace.

  9. Doug H Says:

    Here is a link to a coop hauling business in Massachusetts carrying heavy things on bike trailers- the LKW articulated truck as opposed to the Bakfiets’ Sprinter.

    Their trailers are modular, I think, adaptable to multiple lengths and capacities.

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