Archive for the ‘Bicycles and Art / Fiets and Kunst’ Category

The Dump Tramp

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

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.

Brian and his motorhome bike-1

Brian and his motorhome bike-2

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:

midget camper

And then there’s this one by Paul Welkins, as seen on the Design Boom site:

burning man trailer

Check out Welkin’s site for an amazing array of self-built, efficient vehicles and other random stuff.

Even the sober “doe maar normaal” Dutch are at it. Check out “Met een bakfiets op vakantie“.

camper bakfietsen

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.

Bicycles… Forever.

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

I don’t normally expect to find intellectually stimulating material in the pages of Wallpaper magazine, not surprising for a glossy with the byline “International Design, Interiors, Fashion & Travel”. Mostly it just reminds me of my vapid days in industrial design, as do most “designer bikes” such as the Bamboomega and the Triobike.


This image has a little food for thought though. The sculpture by Ai Weiwei, very appropriately made of bicycles, is titled “Forever”. The bikes go ’round and ’round, climbing into a sort of geodesic dome.

A Bike is basically “forever”, just a few kilos of metal, plastic, rubber and leather that, like an ant, carries many times its weight. Beyond its initial manufacture few resources are needed to keep the bicycle running for an absurdly long time in modern terms. Every part, including the frame, is replaceable meaning that a quality, well designed bike really does have a practically endless lifespan.

Is this what Weiwei meant? Probably not but it fits my needs nicely.

Thanks to Frank Kloos for the tip. And while you’re behind that screen check out Frank’s cool new site featuring inspiring photography from around the globe: The Black Snapper.

The ash-tray bike!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

The ash-tray bike!, originally uploaded by Iam sterdam.

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.

Here’s more (humorous) bakfiets etymology

Thanks Iam sterdam for the great photo!

Life would be so sweet if I were a bicycle seat!

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Amsterdam’s happy, horny, musical clown from the 1980’s sings “The Bicycle Seat Song” . Only here in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the world’s cycling capitol city.

The Pfanntoom 1

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

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.

Konijnen Fruit

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Tripping Angels presents “Konijnen Fruit’; a rabbit bakfiets cycling trip through Amsterdam. Unnecessary inside joke: It helps to have seen the classic Paul Verhoeven film Turkish Delight (“Turks Fruit”), which you should see anyway because it’s a great film and has some quintessentially Dutch cycling scenes.

In case you were wondering what people do with a rental bakfiets, here’s an example.

Wobine: Thanks. The next rental is on the house!

De Bakfietsband

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Perhaps only in Amsterdam: A jazz band that plays while riding in a bakfiets.

And I just noticed that the video was made in the Palmgracht, right around the corner from WorkCycles Lijnbaansgracht shop.

1963: Frank Zappa plays the Bicycle

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

On the Steve Allen show. Very strange to see Zappa at 22 years old and still unknown.

David Byrne: “Hong Kong is the World’s Worst Cycling City”.

Thursday, March 5th, 2009
Hong Kong: World's Worst Cycling City

Hong Kong: World's Worst Cycling City

I didn’t know that David Byrne has a blog, but upon finding it I wasn’t surprised to find that it’s interesting, beautifully written, and demonstrates Byrne’s interest in cycling.

In his post “Hong Kong – The Future of No Future” Byrne describes cycling around Hong Kong, with fascinating social commentary along the way. He finally congratulates “…Hong Kong for being the worst city for cyclists that I have encountered in the whole world. That’s saying a lot. Worse than Napoli, worse than Istanbul. Worse than Manila! Hong Kong takes the prize.”

Our front doors…

Sunday, February 1st, 2009


workcycles-front doors

The strangest thing happened the other day: I arrive at WorkCycles Lijnbaansgracht to open the shop and I find that our front doors have been graffitied, or rather artfully painted actually… with a skeletons and bikes theme. It’s kinda strange and creepy but heck, it’s funny, bicycle related, eye-catching and far better than the stupid tagging we were getting every week!

It says “Posada” in big letters, I assume a reference to the Mexican artist famous for murals in a similar style. It seems unlikely Posada did this one considering that he died in 1913.

In small letters in the lower right it says “Abner” and “Slacker” which I assume to be this guy: