Archive for the ‘Funny stuff’ Category

Sinterklaas Intocht 2009

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Sint Intocht 2009, originally uploaded by Tom Resink Photography.

Sorry for the lack of new posts in the last two weeks. I’ve been traveling in Japan with my family. We’re visiting family and friends and talking about cycling wherever possible. I’ve also been taking lots and lots of photos. Check them out here in my Flickr Japan set

I’ve got lots to show and write about but frankly, being in a place is more interesting and productive than writing about it. So the blog posts about Japan will come in due time.

In the meanwhile here’s a little tidbit about WorkCycles happenings in Amsterdam: Once again Sinterklaas (the skinnier, less politically correct, Dutch version of Santa Claus) rode into Amsterdam from Spain accompanied by a bevy of Zwarte Pieten on WorkCycles bikes. It’s become their preferred mode of transportation, probably for their reliability, classic looks and ability to carry tons of sweets for both the kids and horses.

Tom Resink, WorkCycles mechanic and damn good photographer took the pics that you can check out in Tom’s Flickr photo set

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.

WorkCycles Fr8’s invade London

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


All sorts of people ride WorkCycles bikes: Moms, dads, steelworkers, delivery girls, photographers, teachers, IT guys, cops, punk rockers and even royalty. A few weeks ago we received a call from a distinguished sounding gentleman with a +44 country code telephone number. Thank god for caller ID. The conversation went something like this:

Us: “Goedemiddag, WorkCycles. Je spreekt met (insert WorkCycles employee name).”

Caller: “Please excuse me but do you speak English?”

Us: “Ya. Dat can. How can I be of service?”

Caller: “Pardon me. Would you happen to have any Grey Poupon? Ha ha just a little English humour… No, actually I am interested in your WorkCycles F-R-8 bicycle. It looks like a most dignified bicycle yet refreshingly modern and versatile. Would you recommend it for an individual for whom it is important to look, well, dignified?”

Us: “What’s Grey Poupon?”

Caller: “It’s mustard but never mind that. I’m intereste…”

Us: “Mosterd? We have not mosterd here. We make only de bicycles.”

Caller: “Yes, sorry for the confusion. I’m interested in the F-R-8 bicycle.”

Us: “Oh, you mean de WorkCycles Freight bicycle? You speak it out not as F-R-8 but freight. It is a great bike and it can carry very much freight, such as 3 children and groceries or 150kg of tools. What must you carry and where will you ride de bicycle?”

Caller: “Well I’m not really at liberty to discuss the situation in detail but suffice it to say that it must be possible to carry a five year old child in a dignified manner and ummm… a crown.”

Us: “A crown? How do you mean?”

Caller: “Yes, a crown; like with velvet and silver and jewels and well, you know… a crown. I’m sorry but I’m just not at liberty to explain.”

Us: “Dat is OK. English clients have always strange requests. What is de diameter of de crown?”

Caller: “Almost 8 inches”

Us: “Dat is not a problem. We have a strong plastic crate in order to carry de crown. Dere is enough room to put the groceries next de crown. Do you need an elastic to prevent de crown from bouncing out?”

Caller: No I don’t think that will be necessary. The bicycle will only be ridden slowly.”

So to make a long story short the gentleman purchased the Fr8 and requested that it be personally delivered to Buckingham Palace, insisting that no further address info was necessary. The guards would be expecting the delivery but kindly do not disturb them during the changing of the guard. That would be most inconvenient.

Anyhow, being an American I don’t know much about these English things but I googled Buckingham Palace and found that at least part of the Royal Family lives there. By golly; that’s what the guy meant by the crown! But I couldn’t find any information about a five year old child in the English Royal Family. Do I smell a scandal brewing here?

Eurobike 2009: First impressions

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Eurobike 2009 7

This past week Richard and I made our annual mandatory pilgrimage to zeppelin land Friedrichshafen, Germany for the gargantuan European bicycle industry orgy known as Eurobike. It’s probably the thousandth such bike expo I’ve attended thus my lack of enthusiasm and low expectations. I’ve simply come to learn that it’s pretty much all been done before and for the most part all that changes are the fashion materials (titanium is out, boron is nowhere to be found and carbon nanotubes are in) and attempts to cash in on current trends and themes. More about these later. In any case 99.9999999% of the displays focus on racing bikes, mountain bikes BMX bikes and other sporting goods which, while fun to look at, are irrelevant to this blog and to WorkCycles. As expected I’ll show you some stuff you won’t find in the glossy rags.

Upon arriving at the fairground shuttle bus stop we were greeted by a motley pack of WOOF bikes from Amsterdam via China. These one-trick dogs were introduced with massive press attention a few months ago and have already become the scourge of Amsterdam. You can hardly throw a rock with hitting a fashion victim riding one. Sorry but I just fail to see the attraction to this cheaply made bike missing most of what makes a Dutch bike great, and the feeble output of the built-in LED lights doesn’t do much to sweeten the deal.

Eurobike 2009 8

Cheaply made you say? How’s this for attention to detail?… Coaster brake only combined with forward entry fork ends, no axle/chain tensioners and not even hard serrated washers to hold the axle in place: Good luck keeping that rear wheel in place and better luck stopping when your wheel slips forward dropping the chain. At least you won’t break the headlamp when you crash.

But that wasn’t the last we saw of WOOF. Again and again they reared their ugly headlamps.

Eurobike 2009 35

And just when we thought it was safe sailing we found that the WOOF had won (or perhaps purchased) a Eurobike award. The nature of the award I didn’t see nor care. We did note though that the bike displayed on the award stand was completely different from the nasty production models.

Eurobike 2009 9

If you’re going to make something pointless, please at least do it with a sense of humor such as these grips from OGK in Japan. For those unfamiliar with (or too young to remember) OGK, they’ve been around forever. Back in the day when yours truly rode a BMX bike, OGK made lots of BMX grips as well as helmets and other molded plastic goods.

Eurobike 2009 63

We’ve got Sumo wrestlers, geisha girls, bacteria and German flags.

Eurobike 2009 64

Eurobike 2009 65

Onderwater triplet tandem… decorated

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

onderwater family triplet planted

It takes some cojones to give your brand new €2000 family triplet tandem a spray can paint job and then cover it in cheesy plastic flora… but the results are certainly unique and effective.

onderwater double tandem planted

Why does the Amsterdammer do such a thing? Simple: Making it crazy and unique wards off thieves. Your bike is critical to getting around but at the same time not an object of obsession. The same family has ridden a similarly decorated Bakfiets Cargobike for years, probably appearing in thousands of holiday photos and blogs as a result. Now the kids are older and it’s time for them to contribute some locomotive force.

astroturf cargobike

Thanks to the kind WorkCycles customer for stopping by with the bike.

In case you want a more subtle way to make your bike undesirable to thieves you can also check out WorkCycles High-Tech Antitheft Bicycle Spray.

Unclear on the Concept: Cargobike Style

Thursday, July 30th, 2009


Here in Amsterdam we just ride our Bakfiets Cargobikes, but over in North America it seems to be fashionable to put them on your giant car and drive around with them. Doesn’t seem like nearly as much fun to me, but hey, who am I to complain.

But just in case the guy with the ghetto blacked out Suburban with Cargobike on roof thinks he’s tough, check out this one. It’s a Unimog with the same Cargobike practically disappearing into the bed.

Cargobike in Vancouver, BC on a Unimog

Never heard of a Unimog? Well then check out these videos of Unimogs in action. Suburbans are for pussies!

Unclear on the concept 2

Thursday, July 30th, 2009


From the creative minds of famed eco-designer Ross Lovegrove and Biomega bicycles. Aside from being vaguely unique can somebody please explain what the benefit of this exercise is? I mean, I’m sure a complete aluminium frame was cut up to enable laboriously hand-fitting the carefully selected and finished bamboo tubes. I’ll eat my hat if such “hybrid” frames won’t require ten times as much energy to make as the Chinese made all-metal ones they replace. They’ll be heavier, weaker and more maintenance intensive too.


And then all this trouble to make a uncomfortable bike with neither practical amenities (OK, it at least has an enclosed drivetrain) nor sporting potential.

Interesting and structurally sound bamboo bikes have already been made, for example by Craig Calfee. I stick to my opinion that “designer bikes” are almost always pointless at best and bad bicycles at worst… and that’s coming from somebody who left the industrial design field to start a bike company.

Photos from “Design Boom”.

Eddy’s rogue loopfiets strikes again!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009


“Fietsen worden verwijderd” = “Bicycles will be removed” and is a common sign in Amsterdam since bicycles cover every usable wall, sign pole, lamp post, fence, gate, bridge railing, fence, window (and bike rack). Putting a Fietsen worden verwijderd sign on your window or door is no guarantee that the spot will remain bike free but it’ll at least keep the most conscientious people away.

Ahh, but why is it also written in Chinese characters? I’ll just leave that as a mystery for the locals to answer.

Addition to the WorkCycles sticker

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

IMG_1916, originally uploaded by henry in a’dam.

OK, so perhaps somebody disagrees with the sticker: “Tijd voor een goeie fiets” (time for a good bike)… but at least they had the decency to leave the workcycles logo intact.

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!