There’s a unique version of the cargo bike available from Xtracycle, which can not only carry bags or boxes with ease, but can also accommodate a passenger or two as well. Xtracycle’s EdgeRunner model combines a passenger seat, a bike rack, a bike bag, and more, into a “long-tail” cargo bike that is efficient to ride, handles responsively, and is lighter than a lot of other cargo bike options on the market.
Velogistics has the plan figured out with a straight-forward mapping system. People who want to rent or share their cargo bikes post photos and short descriptions of their bikes on the Velogistics website. Bikes can be shared for free or rented at a set price. The location of the bikes is easily found using pins on the Google Maps system. The Velogistics team also has members that scout out broken and abandoned bikes, and refurbishes them to be used as cargo bikes. Additionally, they are building an open-source wiki dedicated to care and maintenance of cargo bikes.
Cyclists are pushing the limits of what they can put carry on cargo bikes — sturdy two-wheelers built to haul lots of stuff. The so-called SUV of bicycles is increasingly popular in pedal-friendly communities, from Washington to Massachusetts.
Families are using the bikes to do everything they did on four wheels — schlepping kids to school, hauling groceries or running errands — without the hassle of finding parking. Some do it to help the environment in a small way or to get exercise, while others say it is an easier, more fun way to get around.
The Companion Bike Seat is a brand new, and pretty handy, extra that hooks up to your bike, allowing you to cart around, at the very least, a 200-pound passenger — or for parents a lot of kids. This week, the San Francisco-based company began its Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise just enough money to produce 1,000 companion seats.
The Companion Bike Seat costs $125 in Kickstarter guise and includes a lockable stash box, pegs, a comfy padded vinyl seat, and the tubular steel frame. While the Companion isn’t going to give you as much carrying capacity as an Xtracycle or a purpose built cargo bike, it gives you a lot more than you have now.
Bicycle sales outpaced new-car sales last year in all of the 27 member countries of the European Union, except Belgium and Luxembourg, NPR reported on Oct. 24. One reason is that car sales have slumped in the midst of the euro-zone crisis, NPR points out. But there are signs that this slump isn’t temporary. It’s a reflection, perhaps, of a larger change in how people are traveling.
There are a couple of reasons for the shift. The cost of fuel and insurance in many countries has gone up. And perhaps more importantly, cars have become less of a badge of prestige or money—at least in developed markets.
In Europe, predictably, countries hit by the economic slowdown have been the first to jump on their bikes. In Italy, in both 2011 and 2012, more bikes were sold than cars. In Spain, last year marked the first time the two-wheeled vehicles had ever outpaced cars since the country started compiling the related data.
Recently I was asked by a journalist to define the term mamachari. That’s a good question that left me scratching my head as mamachari isn’t easy to define in a few lines of text. First up the word mamachari is a typical Japanese mash up of the words mama, meaning mother and chari, a less polite word for bicycle.
The mamachari is a cultural icon, it’s the Japanese equivalent of the family station wagon. Its the family workhorse used on shopping runs, for riding to the local station, taking the kids to school or picking them up from sports practice. Without it families around the country would be in a right pickle.
The defining features include, a top tube bent low that is easy to step over, a shopping basket on the front, a luggage rack on the back, mudguards, chain guards, dynamo lights, an integrated lock, a bell and a hefty rear stand that keeps the bike stable and upright when parked.
Ai Weiwei, the dissident Chinese artist who is the only contemporary Chinese artist that most people in the West know of, has a thing for bicycles. He’s been going around the world creating versions ofForever Bicycles — an installation that uses lots and lots and lots of bicycles to make you feel like you’re time-traveling in bicycle space.
For the first time on record, bicycles have outsold cars in Spain.
Higher taxes on fuel and on new cars have prompted cash-strapped Spaniards to opt for two wheels instead of four. Last year, 780,000 bicycles were sold in the country — compared to 700,000 cars. That’s due to a 4 percent jump in bike sales, and a 30 percent drop in sales of new cars.
Bicycles, believe it or not, killed the era of the corset. In the late 19th century, when a Scottish inventor who practiced veterinary medicine in Ireland developed the first pneumatic tire–rubber filled with compressed air, the kind we’re familiar with today–it made bikes the common man and woman’s method of transport. Women started commuting to their factory jobs on bicycles, consequently realizing they needed to breathe to do so. And thus, the death of the caged torso.
Whatever role the two-wheeled vehicle may have played in the advent of feminism, it actually arrived on the scene much earlier. Take a quick scan of the latest from the prolific Pop Chart Lab team, and it’s clear that the birth date of the bike clocks in around the early 1800s. Less clear, however, is which exact model came first. Was it the tricycle, or the Draisienne?