Tag Archives: Portland

Cargo bikes taking off in USA

About 25 years behind Europe as usual, but custom cargo bicycles are starting to hit the streets in New York  (www.hudsonurbanbicycles.com) and Portland, Oregon (www.metrofiets.com). Hip moms as well as service professionals like carpenters and plumbers have started to use the SUV of bicycles.

US versions are typically significantly more expensive (USD$3000 and up instead of $1500 and up) as they are currently only available in customized versions  or imported from Europe.  They also tend to be lighter and longer than their continental counterparts.

Here’s a recent NYTimes article and super cute video of some girls who helped design their own pink and silver bicycle in New York: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/17/spokes-hauling-cargo-no-car-necessary/

George Bliss of Hudson Urban Bicycles claims he started building “around the time cargo bikes started gettting popular in Holland, 3-4 years ago”.  But even the Dutch are quick to point out that they (www.bakfiets.nl) copied the Danish (www.christianiabikes.dk), who started the trend way back in 1984.  Sorry, New York, sometimes you are way behind the times! But it’s nice to see you catching up finally.

Funky competitions in Portland

Gearing up for the race

One thing I miss about the US is the whacky cycling culture. Copenhagen and Amsterdam can compete on having the nicest, tidiest bicycle infrastructure in true, civilized European fashion. That’s nice and all, but can’t they just get down and shake it for once? Portland, Oregon, where I lived for 6 years, is hands down the champion when it comes to funky creativeness on bicycles and otherwise. Here are some pictures from a typical bicycle competition from a few summers ago.

Piggy back racing on tiny bicycles

Demolition derby on chopped bicycles. Last one standing wins.

In this sport, you ride down a huge ramp and launch into the (somewhat polluted) Willamette River, bicycle and all. Minus points if you lose the bicycle. Must be a chopped bicycle. Nakedness strongly preferred.

I’ve been living in Copenhagen and Amsterdam the past two years but haven’t seen anything like this. Anyone know of towns doing similar things? Maybe Berlin?