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Archive for the ‘Cargobikes’ Category

This time of year, every slightly warm weekend feels like it could be the last one of the year. We took the occasion to fit in a family bike ride down to the lake.

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Heading down Runnymede. I’m the only one looking psyched at this point.

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K at the turnaround point. This is her new bike; she has outgrown the Rambler by a fairly wide margin.

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Heading back across Mimico Creek on the Calatrava style bridge.

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These signs on the section of the path by all the tall condos are new. Pity they didn’t hire an artist that could draw a bike properly.

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Lucy complains if we’re not in the lead.

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Obligatory family picture.

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K insisted on taking a funny picture as well.

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Can you guess who is the clown in the family?

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Hope you all get a chance to get some riding in before the snow descends!

Update: I dug up a picture from Nov 2006 taken at more or less the same spot.2006-2016

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Over the last year, the cargo slings that came with my Haul a Day were gradually wearing out.

Finally, I broke down and ordered a new set from Carsick Designs. They came last week, and I installed them this morning. I needed to remove the deck so I took the opportunity to do a bit of frame cleaning, as well as adjusting the rear disc brake.

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Here’s a comparison between the old and new bags. The new bags are a little wider, and they have a zippered pocket, but the pocket is considerably shallower than the old ones so it won’t function as a lock holster.

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On the plus side, the new bags look much sturdier. I went all the way and paid an extra $30 for a custom colour: safety orange cordura.

Here they are all installed.

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One thing I don’t quite understand about the design is that the fastening straps for the upper corners are sewn very far in board of the corners of the bag. I’ll see if this ends up being an issue.

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Once the bags were installed, it was time to shop. Here is today’s load.

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After getting back to the bike, I thought that I had bought too much. However, with the use of an extra cardboard box, I was able to cart everything home. What I didn’t fully appreciate is that the straps on the Carsick slings are much longer than the originals, and so I was able to strap a fairly wide box to the bike. Bottom line: I think that I can carry at least 30% more with the new slings, with the extra load being about the volume of the box in the picture below.

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So far so good. We’ll see how they hold up, but for now, I’m really happy with my purchase.

Obligatory Hallowe’en themed update.

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To mark Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I paid a brief visit to an undisclosed location where most of the Bike Friday Haul a Day cargobikes in Toronto were gathered. That’s mine in the front, followed by several others, some of which were still in the process of final assembly.
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In all seriousness, if you already know about the Bike Friday Haul a Day, and you are interested in buying one in the Toronto area, you can go to this website:

cityandcargo.bike
(I didn’t know that there was a .bike domain either)

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In the near future, these fine folks will also be carrying several other lines of cargobikes that have not been widely distributed in the US or Canada.

Join us and join the revolution.

Sidenote: an article about the cargobike scene in Vancouver notes the relative lack of local cargobike dealers, something that I also noticed.

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Today was the first of two days for Open Streets TO. This year, they extended the range all the way west to Dufferin St. (On Sept 18, they will also close the Bloor St. viaduct, and extend the closure to the Danforth). At the same time, a cargobike meetup was advertised on Facebook, so we set off to see how many people would show up.

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One presumes that when there is car traffic, it would be too dangerous to unicycle while playing the ukelele on Bloor.

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I see that these booths are blocking the Bloor bike lane, but I guess we’ll give them a pass.

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Nice to see many families out biking.

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Some of them were riding cargobikes.

Here is everyone that showed up for the cargobike meetup.

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These guys are test riding our Haul a Day.

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Jeremy is ready to ride!

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Doug toted Honey in a messenger bag today.

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Lucy says it’s time to ride.

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These are the faster guys.

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I like how the booths east of Spadina leave the bike lane clear.

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I had not seen an Omnium cargo bike before today.

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Let’s turn south at Yonge and Bloor.

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Headed down Yonge St.

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Meeting up with Cycle Toronto volunteers who were collecting signatures for bike lanes on Yonge.

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Lucy says it’s time to ride north.

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We meet Andy and Elise.

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Honey strikes a post at Curbside Cycles, who had a full display of Babboe cargo bikes.

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So we had lots of fun riding during Open Streets. However, the format of the cargobike meetup was less successful than the last time. In particular, we didn’t manage to get a group back to the starting point, which might have been a bit of a disappointment for Curbside, since everyone was riding at different paces, and it was difficult to predict our progress during Open Streets. Next year, perhaps we’ll go back to the format of one or two weekend kids and cargobike rides during Bike Month.

Update: Dandyhorse has posted their coverage of this meetup.

 

 

 

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One of my ulterior motives in coming to Glasgow was the opportunity to visit Kinetics, which is a shop specializing in folders and recumbents, and is specifically known for its custom builds of Bromptons.  A quick ride northwest from the centre of town, and here we are.

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Parked out front is an 8-freight, a Mike Burrows designed cargobike that looks like the lovechild of a longtail and a long John.

This one has e assist.

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The monoblade fork that is typical of a Burrows design.

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The rear is also one sided.

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Once you step inside, there are an overwhelming number of things to look at packed into a very small space. Up front is a fully equipped machine shop. Ben is busy working on a Rohloff equipped Brompton.

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Fitting either a Rohloff or an Alfine hub to a Brompton requires a new rear triangle with wider dropout spacing, and these are made right here. Here are three pairs of triangles and forks. Custom forks allow for the installation of a front disc brake.

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A closer look at the copper plated frame in the corner that was a special request.

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This is as close to a smile that I could get out of Ben.

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This bike has the version of the rear triangle with an integral rack. It is stronger and lighter than the original.

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This particular bike was also being built with components from the Brompton black edition.

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The back room is filled with a variety of folders and recumbents.

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On the floor, an Alleweder, and on the wall, various HP Velotechnik bikes, a Birdy, and a bright blue Brompton that is his demonstrator.

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On the opposite wall, a Moulton, and some other bikes nearer the ceiling.

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The demonstrator has a Rohloff rear hub and front and rear disc brakes. Ben is now partial to this hybrid front brake that is cable actuated, but has the hydraulic advantage of being self adjusting as the pads wear.

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The rear triangle with Rohloff, and an Avid disc brake. There is not enough space in the back for the hybrid.  On the green bike, there was a TRP mechanical disc that is better than the Avid since the pads are actuated on both sides of the disc.

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This plaque is a nice touch.

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Do I look happy riding the bike?

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Overall impression was very good. I haven’t had that much time on a regular Brompton, but compared against my Tikit, I would say that the stem is much stiffer on the Brompton, and the gearing and brakes were terrific. What I thought was the rear brake was particularly strong; I almost lifted the rear wheel the first time I used them, but upon further reflection, what I was using must have been the front brake. I forgot that the brake levers are reversed in the UK. Both brakes were much better than on my Tikit. First time on a Rohloff equipped bike, so all I can say is that the shifting was reliable. My Alfine is a bit out of adjustment after many times of folding and unfolding the bike, although nothing I can’t put up with even on a long ride. Ben explained that the indexing on the Rohloff is in the hub, so it can’t get out of adjustment due to a change in cable length.

The new rear triangle makes the folded bike about an inch wider than the regular bike, and it still ships in the regular cardboard box. It will still fit in the hardcase if a little foam is carved out.

For a more comprehensive review of the bike, see this link to Velovision.

My visit came to a close as another customer rolled up with a Nexus equipped Brompton that needed some attention.

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Thanks to Ben for all the explanations. You’ve given me much food for thought…..

 

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With the growing popularity of cargobikes, I expected that there would be several cargobike dealers to visit while here in Vancouver. I had visited one dealer several years ago when I checked out an early Yuba Mundo, but they had gone under after about a year. A cursory Google search turned up several other dealers that were also out of business. There was one dealer selling Bullitts that I didn’t want to contact as it looked like they were selling by special order out of their home. A little more digging yielded a few options.

One was the Bike Doctor, on Broadway across from the MEC mothership. I’ve visited them before when I was looking for raincapes.

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Here you can see a Wike box bike and a Yuba Boda Boda out front.

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Inside, you can see that they also carry the Babboe box bike.

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They also have a good selection of family biking things.

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In my brief visits with them, I’ve found them friendly, and their service and parts department was very helpful.

Another interesting shop was the Tandem Bike Cafe, at 16th and Heather. It is a coffee shop that also does bike repair. When I rode by, I had to stop since there was both a CETMA and a Metrofiets bike out front. I had not seen either in the flesh before. I was told that they could special order either of them.

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Here you see the flanges that allow the CETMA frame to be broken down for shipping.

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Some very clean TIG welding on the Metrofiets, and it also looks like the rear dropout is splittable for the installation of a belt drive.

Last but not least, a local contact pointed me towards Grin Technologies, so I went down there to check them out today.

On my way, I meet this fellow doing a technical check on one of the new bikes for the bikeshare system on the Hornby bike lane.

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I asked about the helmet law, and he showed me a cable integrated into the handlebar that could be used to secure a helmet, but since he was from the bike vendor, he didn’t know about the details of any helmet sharing system.

The Google map directions to Grin were a bit unclear as their postal address is on Powell St, but their actual access is off a parking lot accessed from E Cordova St.

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Once inside, an overwhelming number of things to look at.

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A wide selection of unicycles.

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Their main business is selling kits and components for e-bike conversions. They do, however, sell this one type of ready to ride electrically assisted cargobike, the eZee Expedir.

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More interesting to me was the row of bikes behind the two Expedirs.

Firstly, an e-assist Brompton.

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Beside it was an Xtracycle Edgerunner in the process of being built up, and then a Yuba Mundo with a complete middrive that was somewhat reminiscent of the Stokemonkey.

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However, Ben told me that their system was built in house and was considerably more refined. For one thing, this set up drives the chain, and a special crankset allows the rider to freewheel, whereas the Stokemonkey drives the crankset directly, requiring the rider to always be pedalling. There is also a clever arrangement that senses pedalling effort so that the controller can provide a proportional amount of assist.

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One of their visions is to have this system made as universal as possible so that it can be installed on a wide variety of longtail cargobikes.

Here is the staff parking; quite the interesting collection of bikes.

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Of course I immediately focused on the Haul a Day in the same orange colour as my own.

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It had a hub motor drive installed, but they were planning to install a middrive. The owner told me that hers was a prototype HaD, and so it didn’t have a diagonal frame brace that later models had, like mine. Compare the above picture to mine:

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Next to it was a longtail based on the Xtracycle Leap extension.

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I was told that one of the hazards of working there was that when you showed up with a new bike, there was the possibility that it would be turned over to prototype a new configuration of electric drive. There were a few non-assisted bikes in the rack. I was amused to hear them referred to as “acoustic bikes”.

In the back was a vintage Xtracycle FreeRadical with an original Stokemonkey drive.

I could have easily spent another hour looking at all the things on display, but regrettably I had to move on. Thanks to Ben for showing me around.

I applaud their efforts in promoting electric assist with made in Canada solutions. After a week of biking around Vancouver, I can see the need for e-assist to make cargobikes more generally appealing.

A little further on, I had to stop by Bomber Brewing, since I had ridden by it three times during a previous training ride.

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I tasted a couple of beers, but left with just a six pack of their Park Life Passion Fruit Ale that I had just yesterday at a restaurant. It tasted like a Radler, but I was told that it only had 7% of Passion Fruit Puree that was fermented with the rest of the beef. A nice, light summertime drink. Regrettably, they were out of their Bike Route Best Bitter, named for the fact that they were situated at the intersection of two bike routes.

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That’ll wrap up my reporting from Vancouver this year. We’ll see what shape I’m in when I reach Portland.

Update: here is an article from ModaCity about the cargobike scene in Vancouver. It is optimistic, but it also mentions the lack of dealerships. Note the picture of the Bullitt cargobike with a beer keg from Bomber Brewing.

Update #2: Spokesmama has a much more extensive list of cargobike dealers in Vancouver.

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Lucy and I are featured in this blog post from Bike Friday. Check out some of the other blogs as well.  Lots of good stuff about family biking.

 

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