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.
Here you can see a Wike box bike and a Yuba Boda Boda out front.
Inside, you can see that they also carry the Babboe box bike.
They also have a good selection of family biking things.
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.
Here you see the flanges that allow the CETMA frame to be broken down for shipping.
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.
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.
Once inside, an overwhelming number of things to look at.
A wide selection of unicycles.
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.
More interesting to me was the row of bikes behind the two Expedirs.
Firstly, an e-assist Brompton.
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.
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.
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.
Of course I immediately focused on the Haul a Day in the same orange colour as my own.
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:
Next to it was a longtail based on the Xtracycle Leap extension.
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.
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.
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.