The Bicycle Family
more cargo biking and precious cargo biking in Vancouver!
Drawing of future bike production concept
Categories: Ideas

Hi, here is what I am trying to achieve:

We’re planning for the first demonstration version of our Bicycle Family Vehicle to look like this. You can can get an idea of the features:

  • Family cargo box up front where you can see it! No tie-down or bungees, no squeezing into panniers, you barely even have to consider balance: just throw in your load and off you go. Carry up to 200lbs (100kg) no problem! No more special consideration just to go buy the groceries. If you want to buy a watermelon or other bulk/heavy items just throw it in, stop working for your bike and have it work for you.
  • Big easy comfy bench seating for 2-4 little wonders  (folds out of the way when not in use) with seat-belts that can be put on after the kids helmet. Having the kids up front means it is easier to keep and eye on them and talk to them. Also the kids love being the captain!
  • Super awesome stable kickstand that means you can park anywhere, load up or even use your parked bike as a freestanding stable platform.
  • Upright riding posture – comfy seat and handlebars for everyday use in the city and good visibility.
  • Full fenders, dressguard and chainguard (not pictured). We believe that less effort required in choosing cycling clothing is a good thing.
  • Frame lock and chain. Since I got one of these locks I’ve never looked back even though I was wary of them before I got one. These locks are uncommon in North America but in places with more daily cycling like Europe and Asia they are ubiquitous. The bike can be parked and locked on the street – more easily than parking a car. You don’t have to find a bike rack or pole – you can roll right up to the front of your destination and just lock it to itself, unload with the fabulously stable kickstand then be on your way. The frame lock is a great feature for a cargo bike. It’s large enough that you can lock it to itself without worrying that someone will pick it up and walk away (a frame lock is not made for fixies) but there is also a built-in chain for when you need to lock overnight. You’ll just have to experience the ease of this lock to understand why I have to make it a STANDARD feature.
  • Lights. Because riding home at the end of the night should not be an afterthought: Built in generator lights are preferred but customers can customise to their heart’s content (I have contacts with some very creative lighting people). If anyone has any idea where I can get ahold of some awesome fender/light integration as I’ve imagined in the drawing please contact me.

(This is a general idea of standard features, we will be ultimately making custom bikes one at a time so you can always get more or less than this as your needs dictate)

This is a long list of great features. I’m trying create the ease of use that comes with the world famous Workcycle Bakfiets from the Netherlands. My bike is a synthesis of the Bakfiets universal usability with the superior CAT Oregon CroMoly Long Haul frame design. The Long Haul is hand built in Oregon (soon in Vancouver, BC) and lighter weight than even the Danish Aluminum Bullitt frame.

My impetus for building this bike is riding with a family and trying to build solutions that don’t require me to rely on automobile transport. The inspirational designs I am trying to combine are those of the CAT Oregon Long Haul frame, the usability of Bakfiets, the style and some of the production ideas of Metrofiets.

I really respect all of the bike producers that have inspired me and recommend their cargo bikes to people all the time. My distinct combination of features, usability and local production have not been seen before. There is so much room for innovation and expansion of cargo bikes. Just look at each car on the road now and realise that bikes can do 99% of that. We’re building a future of cargo bikes that will replace cars in cities because it will be the more appropriate technology. Convenience is a huge aspect of technology. Yay future!

Update May 9, 2011 — It’s built :-): 

Hey, am I psychic? Looks just like the drawing. Told ya so! The only difference between this and the drawing is that this is better. Ding Ding!

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