We recently came across this report from Germany, reported on in a Belgium news site, concluding that a cargo bike or carrier bike is the safest way to transport children. I will admit that my dutch is not much good and that Google translate mostly mangled the article, but from what I can figure, the German automobile club ADAC tested a bike seat, a trailer and a carrier bike. The conclusion was that a trailer was safer than a baby bike seat, but that a carrier bike was safest of all.
Each setup was tested by crashing into an obstacle at a rate of 25 kilometers per hour (15.5 mph). In the crash test the trailer remained upright and the dummy passenger unharmed, while the doll in the baby bike seat had damage to the legs.
The examiner concluded that the cargo bike was the safest, citing the low position to the ground, ability to always confirm that the child is connected to the cycle without looking back, and the larger vehicle size discouraging motorists from attempting to pass as compared to a cyclist with a baby seat.
Zigo at Eurobike last week unveiled a prototype of the new eZigo electric carrier bike. Using the TransX battery, the eZigo was reported to be a pleasure to ride. The styling is expected to be updated to a more integrated look before a final eZigo is released, possibly as early as mid-2012. The eZigo, and electric bakfietsen in general, open the carrier bike market to those in hilly regions, those less fit, and those doing long commutes. This product is expected to be a success in Europe. Even in the United States, the eBike trend is taking off. We expect to see many electrified bakfietsen in the future. What a great, economical way to save on gas and transportation costs. At around $3,000, an eZigo would pay for itself in no time. Note that the picture shown is just the Cycle component of the eZigo Carrier Bike. It couples to the ChildPod in the same fashion as the Zigo Leader. So it can be used as a regular electric bike, an electric carrier bike, or a regular stroller, jogger or trailer. Other electrified Zigo Leader units have been reported in Europe (see links below) but the eZigo is the first one produced by Zigo.
With the proliferation of products such as the Zigo Leader Carrier Bike and the Taga Carrier, there has been an equal proliferation of terminology to describe these products. In Europe, the conventional term Bakfiets would cover it, or if you are in Denmark, Ladcykel. But in the U.S. the situation becomes more complex. The terminology ranges from Carrier Bike, which is favored by Zigo, to Stroller Bike, Bike Stroller, Strollercycle, and other even more cumbersome monikers. Sometimes Dutch Cargo Bike is used in the U.S. as equivalent to Bakfiets, but this does not seem widely adopted. In the United Kingdom, we must also take into account the usage of pushchair instead of stroller.
So here is the question: in the United States (and United Kingdom and English speaking world everywhere) what should we call these products?
Bakfiets.nl versus Babboe.nl versus de Fietsfabriek versus Other
We are actually looking for some feedback here. We have seen quite a few Bakfiets (Bakfietsen, I suppose) in the Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular, and would like to know which one is actually the market leader. We would also like to hear about the differences among them–both real and perceived. Bakfiets.nl seems to be the 1000 pound gorilla in the Dutch cargo bike market. Bakfiets.nl makes the CarboBike Lang, CargoBike Corte, and CargoBike Premium, which range in price from 1465 Euros to 1829 Euros, and vary by type of hub, brakes an level of trim. Bakfiets.nl also makes a Cargo Trike and a Cargo Trike L (L is for Large).
Babboe on the other hand, offers the Babboe City for just 849 Euros, and the Babboe Big 3-Wheel for 749 Euros. The Babboe city comes with a Shimano Nexus 7 speed gear. They also make a model called the Rabobank – Babboe City and According to Mamma – Babboe City.
de Fietsfabriek F22
de Fietsfabriek is another classic Ducth Bakfiets brand. They make quote a few models, including the Troy for 1995 Euro, the 994 for 1495 Euro, the 995 for 1495 Euro, the 995 for 1595 Euro.the FF16 tricycle for 1995 Euro, and the FF22 tricycle for 3750 Euro.
There are of course other sellers of Bakfietsen, but these brands one see a lot of around the city. Please help us understand the large price difference between Bakfiets.nl, Babboe.nl, and de Fietsfabriek Please send us your comments about the differences between these Bakfietsen, as well as your ideas about what the “perfect Bakfiets” should be.
Taking a page from the traditional Bakfiets model, the Portland-made Shuttlebug has incorporated several design changes. The Shuttlebug, made by Joe Bike in Portland, is described as lightweight, yet strong, and engineered for traversing the hilly Portland terrain. At only 55 pounds, the Shuttlebug claims to make cycling with up to 3 kids a breeze. However, the light weight may make handling more difficult when riding empty. The Shuttlebug looks to be inspired by the Dutch Gazelle Cabby.
The cabin of the Shuttlebug is said to be large enough to accommodate both an adult and child together. The steel box frame is covered with durable, water-resistant fabric that can be removed from the frame without any tools. These quick-release mounts allow you to go from carrier bicycle to cargo bike. The Shuttlebug has an optional double-decker rack accessory for big cargo loads. The Shuttlebug is pricy, starting at $3750, but it is to be expected for a more-or-less custom product.
Thinking of moving any time soon? Need to replace that refrigerator? Well, cyclists in European cities like Vienna have found, perhaps, the cheapest way to do so. In fact, Austria has plenty of collectives that rent specialized cargo bicycles specifically for hauling large loads like bulky furniture and appliances. Some people have even been known to move their entire flat solely with the use of cargo and carrier bikes. One such event was a featured workshop at EuroEnviro 2010. A couple and 12 volunteers, many of whom had never ridden cargo bikes before, successfully transported the entire contents of the couple’s home. You may have to wonder, why bother with the cost of renting a Budget truck and hiring movers when there are whole fleets of bicycles waiting to deploy? Imagine city streets bustling with Bakfiets filled with televisions and kitchen tables. How excited would companies like Christiana Bikes, Bella Bike or Ladcykel be to see their products being put to such good use? Imagine moving your family as you move your furniture! It’s not so farfetched if you consider keeping your child in front of you in your Taga or Zigo, while you trail your queen sized bed behind. As we see people getting more creative every year when it comes to bicycling, who knows what the future may hold for the next big design?
Apparently Tori Spelling and husband Dean McDermott were spotted riding the Taga Bike-Stroller around town. OK…it was back in April, but we’ve just seen it. Is this the start of a trend in the United States for Carrier Bikes, such as Taga and Zigo? We just need a few more celebrities to adopt them and it could herald a sea-change in attitude. Will cities across the US soon look like cycling cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen? Recently observed Zigo group rides in New York City give us hope. Perhaps a celebrity endowment for complete streets and bike paths? Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would look good on one of these…or on a Dutch style Bakfiets or Danish Nihola etc…
Velorbis makes a whole line of beautiful classic style bikes. The Velorbis Mobii is a cargo tricycle that can haul kids, groceries, or perhaps a pile of Scandinavian snow. Each Mobii has a steel frame, handcrafted in Denmark. The Velorbis Mobii is equiped with an SRAM 5 gear rear hub and front WinZip disc brakes. It weighs 36 kg (79 lbs) and has a cargo capacity of 100 kg (220 lbs). A version of the Velorbis Mobii with an electric motor is available as well. You can also customize the colors and patterns of the Velorbis Mobii. We cannot tell from the website or photos what kind of steering is used. We presume that the Velorbis Mobii uses tiller-type steering and not articulated steering. At US$3,895 it is not cheap, but the VelorbisMobii looks to be a well made trike.
The “Joe Bike” is Joe Bike’s of Portland unique, modular, multipurpose utility bike based on the boxbike frame. It is claimed to offer more versatility and configurability than most cargo and child carrier bikes. With its short wheelbase and relatively light weight, it is said to be remarkably easy and fun to ride, with essentially no learning curve. The Joe Bike currently includes four configurations, all of which are designed and handbuilt in Portland. These include the first double-decker cargo-carrying system, the original wooden box, and a sort of reverse-XtraCycle attachment that allows two children to sit upright in front of the rider, along with several grocery bags. The Joe Bike costs significantly more than the boxbike primarily because of substantial frame modifications, component upgrades (disc brakes and lighter wheels, for instance), two-tone color schemes, and simply the cost of steel. In general, Portland is the place in the United States where it is relatively easy to find a Dutch-style carrier bike, and it is not uncommon to see them on the street. We hope that more cities in the United States follow this example and redo their street grids to be all inclusive. A great first step would be truly protected bike lanes.