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.
A multitude of Bakfieten to choose from.
We have learned about a few more Bakfiets makers in the Netherlands, with even lower pricing than Babboe. What is the difference in quality and components, we want to know.
Tuk Tuk Bakfietsen sells a basic unit starting form 495 Euro . The Tuk Tuk name is taken from a class of motorized tricycles popular in Thailand. The Dutch version is not motorized, but it is a tricycle.
The Tuk Tuk ‘Basic’ is equipped with: SRAM Spectro with 3 speed, coaster brake, a plywood cargo box with a bench and SRAM drum brakes. All Tuk Tuk trikes come with aluminum wheels and a powder coated frame. It seems from the photo to be tiller steering.
The Tuk Tuk Bakfietsen do look rather industrial, but at that price you would not expect it to have the style of a Zigo or Gazelle.
Bakfietsweb.nl is another provider of lower-priced bakfietsen. The Model 030 tricycle is 699 Euro, which includes a light color wooden box, 3-speed Shimano hub, and coaster brakes plus V-brake.
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?
U.S. soon to look like Europe?
Despite its hilly terrain, San Francisco is quite the biking city with shops now offering bakfietsen, including short bakfeits, long bakfiets, tricycle bakfiets, the Gazelle Cabby, and of course the American Bakfiets–the Zigo Leader Carrier Bike.
It is quite remarkable to see these Dutch style bikes and utility bicycles, more typical of Amsterdam or Copenhagen, now multiplying in U.S. cities including New York, Portland, and San Francisco.
Also we see now more classic Dutch-style commuter bikes, like those from Batavus, Retrovelo, and Workcycles, emphasizing our new European modeled bicycling culture.
We have also commented in other posts on the proliferation of ciclovia events in U.S. cities, including Oakland, New York, Baltimore, and others. We look forward to seeing this quite rolling revolution continue.
It seems that more manufacturers of bike baby seats are incorporating a forward-positioned design. What many parents seem to want is the ability to keep their kids close by and within eyesight. The Kangaroo Carrier by WeeRide accomplishes just this. With this design, the child sits between the rider and the handlebars, positioned in a way which is reminiscent of a Kangaroo mother and her baby joey. WeeRide says that this forward-mounted position, as opposed to the conventional rear-mounted baby bike seat, provides better weight distribution and an improved center of gravity. With the Kangaroo Carrier, the rider’s arms surround the child, assuming a natural and comfortable protective position. Not only does this position give more peace of mind to the driver, but it allows parent and child to experience the ride together. With rear-mounted seats, the child’s view would be obstructed by the rider’s back. The WeeRide Kangaroo Carrier can even accommodate a cushioned pedestal for the child to rest his head on when he gets sleepy, which is convenient for longer rides.
It should be noted however, that the WeeRide Kangaroo Carrier is an accessory, requires assembly and must be securely mounted to your bicycle. The WeeRide website says setup should only take ten minutes.
Potential limitations of the WeeRide Kangaroo baby bike seat, and other front-mounted baby bike seats are: there is not a lot of room between a rider and the handlebars, limiting the age/size of child that can be accommodated – they are best for children age 1 to 3; clearly you can only carry one child at a time in a forward-mounted baby bike seat (though you could carry a second on a rear-mounted seat); depending on the seat design it can interfere with your pedaling, as your knees may hit it - this can be especially uncomfortable for longer rides; the high center of gravity makes tipping an issue, especially when mounting and dismounting (i.e. you always need to keep a hand on the bike); loading and unloading a child can be especially challenging for smaller adults; and remember, while you are riding, if you fall over, the bike seat falls over. Although a child is in most ways more protected in the front position, it also means that the adult rider may land on top of the child in the event of a spill. An additional risk of a front-mounted seat is that an item dropped by the child can catch the front spokes, causing a head-first fall – so make sure your child does not carry anything while riding.
At $59.99, the WeeRide Kangaroo Carrier is definitely an item to consider. Though your kids will outgrow it a lot quicker than a bicycle trailer, such as those made by Burley or Chariot, or a Carrier Bike like the Zigo Leder or Taga Bike, it is a good entry point into family biking.
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…
The Taga Bike and Stroller, which we previously wrote about [See: http://carrierbike.com/2009/10/18/taga-bike-and-stroller/], is now being offered in the United States by SJS Cycles, joining market leader Zigo in the U.S. carrier bicycle market. The Taga stroller is being offered for $$1,414 on-line, as compared with $1,399 to $1,550 for the multifunctional Zigo Leader Carrier Bicycle. The Taga Bike and Stroller can only be ordered on-line at this time, but it seems likely that Taga will be in stores in the future. As noted previously, the Taga is a slick design, converting from a 3-wheeled carrier tricycle to a stroller. Unlike the Zigo Leader, the Taga doe not uncouple from the stroller but rather the rear wheel flips over to become the front wheel. That is why the Taga stroller has the unusual split handlebars–to make room to pivot the beam over the top. This also means you need to move the baby seat out of the way to do the conversion. Taga is a fun ride, but with 16 inch wheels and 3 gears, it is not suited for longer outings. The split handlebar takes some getting used to. The Taga handlebar does not feel quite like a regular bicycle handlebar, nor a regular stroller pushbar. In stroller mode, the lack of a central pushbar makes one hand pushing difficult. Taga is a welcome addition to the U.S. market and will hopefully expand the cycling culture here in the United States.
The Zigo Leader Carrier Bicycle System is now available Down Under. Zigo…it’s Australian for really cool bike! Actually, it’s American for really cool bike, but it’s now being sold throughout Australia through a number of local dealers, which can be seen on www.myzigo.com.au. To ride a Zigo Leader across the Australian Outback must be awesome, but the one pic we’ve been sent of a Zigo Leader in Australia is more urban [See http://tweetphoto.com/6863649]