Zigo Bakfiets Carrier Bike - Converts to Bike and Stroller

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Mama Bakfiets Race – Could We Do One in New York City?

This is a classic clip from May 2008 of the Mama Bakfiets race held in Vondelpark in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  It looks like great fun and great exposure for the bakfiets culture.  We would like to hear from others with Bakfietsen or shops that sell them who would be interested in organizing a Mama Bakfiets race in Central Park in New York City.

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CETMA Cargo Bikes – Made in the USA

CETMA Cargo Bike

CETMA Cargo Bike

CETMA Cargo bikes are hand-built in Oregon in the good-old United States of America. The CETMA cargo bikes come in two sizes, Largo and Margo, which differ in wheelbase by about 6 inches.  The CETMA Largo weighs 75 lbs and claims a cargo hauling rating of 300 lbs, while the smaller Margo comes in at 60-65 lbs with a similar load rating. The CETMA cargo bike is sold as a frameset for $1,850 plus shipping.  This means that you then need to have the bike built and purchase and add on all the components.  It is not for your average suburban mom! The CETMA cargo bikes come with a basic cargo platform integrated into the frame.  On to this, you can add a box for carrying anything from children to the kitchen sink, converting it into a classic bakfiets style. The box that CETMA offers is $300, but you can build your own (or have one built for you).

It is nice to see that we are still building things (let alone bicycles) in the U.S.A.

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Boxcycles Offer Christiania Bikes in The United States

Christiania Bike

We recently stumbled across Boxcycles, a small company offering the Danish Christiania bikes in the United States.  It is the typical story of American boy meets bike, meets danish girl, moves to Denmark, moves back, and starts selling cool cargo bikes, though we’re not certain of the precise sequence of these events.  Boxcycles offers the Christiania box bikes through a handful of specialty bike shops in the United States.  The price for a Christiania cargo bike is reported to cost about $2,700 in the United States, and we saw one listed at $2,599 at Flying Pigeon (a Los Angeles based bike shop).  We’re not sure quite how many bikes are being sold at this price, but it is reported to be about 100-200 annually–not much for all of the United States.  The mainstreaming of cargo bikes in the United States has been much reported, and we hope to see more and more on the streets.  With a range of price points, from the $3,500 Nihola (also at Flying Pigeon) to the more economically priced Zigo Leader (starting at $$1,399), and the Christiania model somewhere in between, we hope that there is a Bakfiets out there for everyone.

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Whatever Happened to Taga?

Taga Stroller

Taga Bike and Stroller

The Taga stroller-bike was a clever design and slickly made, and certainly it gathered a lot of press and publicity (notably Tori Spelling trying one), but it seems that the product is no longer available.  Some time ago, a letter went out to Taga’s dealers in Europe notifying them that it was not certain when supply would again be available.  No update has been forthcoming.  The Taga website no longer lists any dealers and just says “we are currently out of stock”.  A review of the Taga Facebook page reveals many comments indicating that the product can no longer be found, and forlorn inquiries from owners seeking support or accessories. There are also posts from various obscure companies in Taiwan claiming to offer Taga.  There seems to be no participation any longer from the Company on the Taga Facebook page.  On top of this, there were previous reports (see: http://carrierbike.com/2011/04/13/taga-chinese-knockoff-buyer-beware/) of a Chinese Taga Knock-off.  Sadly, it seems that a nicely-made product that might have expanded the appeal of cycling is now gone.  It is possible, of course, that production will commence again or that a buyer will appear for Taga, but for now it seems at best in limbo.  This pretty much leaves Zigo for the moment  in a class by itself in the Convertible Bike Stroller (or Stroller Bike) category.

 

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BikeRentUSA.com – New Site For Bike Rentals

A new website dedicated to bike rental has been launched at BikeRentUSA.com.  The new site has only a few participating rental shops so far, but is likely to grow rapidly.  It is supported by sponsor Zigo Carrier Bike, so listings are completely free for participating bike shops.  The process is simple.  Bike shops with bikes to rent can simply submit their listing information using the form on BikeRentUSA.com.  The site only asks in return that a badge be posted on the listing shop’s website indicating its participation in the BikeRentUSA.com listing program.  Once BikeRentUSA.com is populated with participating bike rental shops, BikeRentUSA.com will undertake a marketing initiative, especially outside the United States, to promote bike rentals by tourists. It seems that participating bike shops have nothing to lose and much to gain by participating.

Rent a Bike at BikeRentUSA.com

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Thule To Acquire Chariot Carriers

The Thule Group of Sweden, a global giant well-known for bike racks and bike carriers, cargo carriers, and car carriers for snow sports and watersports, has announced that it is acquiring Chariot Carriers of Canada, maker of the Chariot Carrier brand of bike trailers.  This is an enormous departure for Thule, which previously has made racks and such for carrying the more interesting products of other companies.  According to the press release, this represents Thule’s increased focus on brand building and retail.  Thule has some very well-known and successful business people on its board, and is controlled by Nordic Capital, an investment firm, so presumably they know what they are doing.  However, on the surface, this seems to make about as much sense as Thule getting into the bike, kayak or ski business….or the business of any other product you can carry in or on a roof rack or cargo hitch.  Certainly there are distribution synergies, as Chariot Carrier’s products and Thule’s are sold in similar channels, and certainly they both bend metal to make their products, but beyond that the match was not an obvious one (though granted, that the word “carrier” appears often in both companies products.)  This likely represents just the first step in Thule diversifying away from it’s core carrier business and moving into first-hand active lifestyle products.  Will this set off an acquisition spree for other active lifestyle brands, such as Burley and Zigo?  If it does, it will be one more business niche that has lost its independent roots.

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Nijland Delivery Tricycle

Nijland Delivery Tricycle

Nijland (of course a Dutch company) makes a number of interesting cargo bikes.  None are made specifically to transport children, but with the Dutch being how they are, I am sure kids get thrown in there with the cargo from time-to-time.  The Nijland delivery tricycle can haul an impressive 300kg of load!  The wheels are 26″ and the tubing steel, as you might expect for this sort of use.  It is essentially a hard wood platform that you can load anything on. It has a classic dutch look and seems sturdy as…well a dutch bike.Of course, we would not suggest carrying children in here with no seat belts or cushions, but it is a very beautiful bike with a solid mahogany box.  It sells for about 3,500 Euros (including VAT), so it is not for those that do not really have a good business use for one, such as hauling a heavy load, delivery, or promotion–even house moving in the Netherlands.  Also, don’t even think about this if you plan to conquer a hill! Surprisingly, the standard configuration seems to be a single-speed fixed gear, but an 8-speed hub is available as an option. It is mainly a European style bike, but a number of dealers are said to carry the Nijland in the United States. It is reportedly in use in Battery Park City in New York–which just goes to show that bike culture really is coming to New York City.

 

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Taga Chinese Knockoff – Buyer Beware


Taga Knockoff

Taga Knockoff

Recently an email was received by Taga dealers stating “We offer a product Kangaro Bike – we are owner of the patent and the manufacturer in China”, and included the photo to the left. This is a shameless knockoff of the Taga bike, along with a claim to ownership of the patents. This company has also of couse appropriated the Kangaroo name, which is used by the well-known Winther Kagaroo. The supposed European representative of this Chinese company is based in Poland.

This email prompted Taga to post the following on Facebook yesterday:

“Warning: a Chinese company is selling a fake of Taga called Kangaroo bike. They claim to have the original design and patent, which is simply a lie. We received several messages from consumers who bought it and had severe accidents. The two parts of the bike are separated during the ride resulting with injuries to both the child and the rider. Please make sure you don’t buy a faked Taga and take unnecessary risks.”

Taga also notes:

“Taga is going through a transition period in operations and therefore we are currently out of stock. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will update when the product is available again.”

No doubt this Chinese company is hoping to take advantage of Taga’s transition period to attempt to launch this imitation.

It is also known that in the past carrier bike company Zigo identified an attempted knockoff in Czech Republic but was able to prevent its production by legal means.

So buyers beware.  Do not buy counterfeit product when your child’s safety is at stake.  Buy only from the designer and manufacturer who designed, developed and tested for safety these carrier bikes.  In this case, you get what you pay for.  If the price of a knock-off is too-good-to-be-true, it is for a reason.

 

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Achielle 100% Handmade Dutch and Retro Style Bicycles

Achielle Bakfiets

Achielle Bakfiets

Achielle, with two stores listed in the U.S., offers beautiful, albeit quite pricey bakfietsen and Dutch retro style bicycles.   These bakfietsen are handmade in Belgium, and starting at $4,625, they carry the distinctive look of retro quality.  The Achielle U.S. website says that there are two versions of the bakfiets:  one for kids, with a bench and seatbelts, and one for dogs. Really, for dogs!  Some people really love their dogs, to the tune of nearly $5,000.  The frame of the Achielle bakfiets comes in different colors, and is outfitted with Shimano roller brakes and a Shimano Nexus 8 gear hub.  The Achielle bakfiets has a 26″ rear wheel and a 20″ wheel in front, similar to other models, and sports Schwalbe tires.  The Achielle bakfiets definitely seems a beautiful well-made bike with high-end components, but it is priced at a point that will exclude most of the market.  Although there is certainly a niche market for this in the U.S., it is difficult to see how it will ever have a major impact on bike culture.  On the heels of the economically priced Zigo Leader bakfiets, and the expanding U.S. market for carrier bikes in general, there will likely be increased interest in the high end as well.  I certainly hope to see one on the streets!

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Zigo to Rent Zigo Leaders for Just $25 for TD Five Boro Bike Tour 2011

Zigo will be renting a limited number of Zigo Leader Carrier Bikes for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour 2011 for just $25.  Pick up will be at Battery Park City and drop off at either Central Park (after 8 miles) or at the festival at the ride end in Staten Island (42 miles). If you have kids, show them New York City in this most incredible way. For rental information visit:  http://www.myzigo.com/fiveboro2011/

Zigo Rider at 2010 TD Five Boro Bike Ride

Zigo Rider at 2010 TD Five Boro Bike Ride

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Zigo Bakfiets Carrier Bike - Converts to Bike and Stroller