When bike events promote inclusivity and welcome all sorts of riders, not just racers, wonderful things happen. If it seems like I’m still glowing from this weekend’s Mid South, well, it’s the truth. Those few days completely recharged over two years of dreary times and meeting Keith re-centered my own struggles by putting them in perspective. In a serendipitous way – ok, I was stalking him – I happened to catch him rolling into the expo area at Mid South on his Scissortail Cycles cargo bike. There’s so much going on with this one so let’s get to it…
This week’s Readers’ Rides is a good example of an older frame put to solid, modern use. Sam‘s Ritchey has a Crust Clydesdale Fork that has really transformed this MTB into a multi-purpose work horse. Let’s check it out below!
Nesting projects. While some families go crazy building out and decorating a “nursery”, we mostly tried to figure out how to continue our bike lifestyle once our baby arrived. When Stephanie was pregnant, we fawned over Larry vs. Harry’s Bullitt, tried out the very-Euro Riese and Müller Packster, and bought into the front load aesthetic right away.
But, long term practicality was never too far away, considering the astronomical cost of an electrified front-loader. As it turns out, our friend Adam, whose Bullitt we borrowed for a couple months in 2018, let us know that his daughter was in fact outgrowing the bike’s kid canopy at only 4 years of age. Not only was her helmet hitting the top of the enclosure, but she was losing interest in riding in the “trailer” on the front of the bike.
High costs mixed with the prospect of the bike possibly lasting only three years before its primary cargo turned on it meant we were wary of dropping into an electric box bike. When the opportunity came along to review the first Surly Big Easy to make its way into Canada, we were very, very stoked. The dream of a car-lite lifestyle was alive!
I immediately swept out and scored an older Yepp seat with the requisite (and obsolete) adapter off the local buy and sell, and we got scheming on how to adapt to the longtail lifestyle.
Stephanie and I have been eyeing up cargo bikes basically since we found out we were pregnant early last year. But would it be a good financial move to drop $5000+ on a new setup when we’re also running on one income? Knowing we’d likely be taking the winter off of family biking with Sophia on the younger side, we had lots of time to consider the options and make sure we had the money ready when the time came.
Last summer, we borrowed a friend’s Bullitt for a camping trip. Super rad. Denver loved riding up front. Yet we had our suspicions confirmed that a bike that weighs 60 pounds dry is a tough sell when you live in a hilly area like we do. Load that up with kids or dogs and the rest of the stuff you need every day, let alone on a camping trip, and you’ll quickly find yourself back in the car.
Copenhagen, Denmark is a magical place for bicycle commuters. It’s where Larry vs Harry was born. In this short film, we take a look at the functionality of Larry vs Harry’s practical bikes in Seoul, Korea.
Leave it to Chris Akrigg to make any bike look like a fun time!
e-Bike hate is all the rage these days, yet pry open the myopic, short-sightedness of those scoffing at e-anything and look at Surly’s new Big Easy as a literal definition of what it is. In short, cargo made as easy as possible. Somewhere us Americans got it wrong, the bicycle that is. We look at them as instruments of pain, of punishment, of fitness, of sport. Oftentimes, the clamoring horde fails to look to the rest of the world’s reliance on two-wheel transport, over our enamorment with four-wheel. Our cars are easy. Bikes are meant to be painful and e-assist is cheating. You have to work for whatever it is you’re pedaling for. This is why I believe people hate e-bikes on their city streets.
As far as I’m concerned, the more people making cargo bikes, the better. Cities are filled to the brim with automobiles and congestion is the unfortunate by-product. Getting around a city, in fact, any city, by bike is easier and healthier. Juggernaut Cargo Bikes know that, which is why they chose to launch their new brand on Kickstarter. While buy-in is steep, cargo bikes made in the USA are not cheap, although they pale in comparison to a new car…
This short video showcases the cargo capacity of their bikes, no matter how precious it is.
“You have to shoot the Hunter Cycles cargo bike with those sick Randi Jo Bags!” I heard it over and over again yesterday. Rick is a more than capable frame builder, machinist and designer. The man has impeccable taste and ever the overly-quirky projects have such character that he really has developed a style, all his own. Case in point is this cargo bike. It features the same chain-tensioner system as the Bushmaster dirt tourer we looked at last year, as well as some clever problem solving in terms of steering and load capacity but the crowning detail of this project are the Randi Jo bags, complete with that crazy rabbit design!
After seeing Nils’ cargo bike roll out with a camp grill at a recent LA River Camp Coffee, suddenly the idea of utilizing a bike like that for over-the-top forest picnics has piqued my interest. Here’s Sven Cycles‘ take on that platform. Tested thoroughly over the course of a few months, this bike was designed and built specifically for a local chef and as you can see, is really capable of hauling everything you need for an afternoon meal in the woods.
Projects like this, especially when they come from the shop of a framebuilder, really make me happy!
A bicycle can often times be a time capsule for an individual’s journey. Be it a tale told through road grime, dust, dents or a augmented addition like a cargo retrofit.
Nils has had this Surly Long Haul Trucker for over a year and a half. In that time it’s gone through various permutations with the documented version being the most current, obviously. A LHT is already a pretty versatile bicycle, yet Nils wanted the ability to carry more weight, lower and honestly, just wanted to try something new. The retrofit was done by the same talent that makes the Haulin Colin racks. It’s actually a pretty simple process. You supply your axle to crown and head tube angle to Colin and he fabs up a steerer extension, a downtube brace and a rack. A few weeks pass and viola. Cargo bike.
I have to say, this is one of the first bikes I’ve shot in a while that has whole-hearted character, not purchased style. The little brackets he bent by hand to hang his rear light off the Brooks saddle bag hoops and his hand-painted accents on the frame completely tie in with Nils’ character. The dude is tall, with a commanding beard, yet his energy fills the room through his smile and laughter.
During the day, Nils fills his hours as a part time middle school teacher and a part time ceramic artist. On the weekend, he’s out riding in the Angeles National Forest, or just kicking around town on this magnificent bicycle. I’ve met a lot of people through Golden Saddle Cyclery, but for some reason, Nils really resonated with me. Check out more photos in the Gallery and follow along with Nils’ rides at his Instagram.
Mornings with a two year old begin bright and early. For Garrett from Strawfoot and his wife, their schedules allow them to split the weekdays with their daughter Olive. For Garrett, that usually means breakfast duties around 6 or 7am, followed by a quick jaunt in their Frances Cycles cargo bike to Companion Bakeshop to “get sconed.”
Ryan is a full-time roaster at Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco. He’s a cyclist who commutes into work every day, rain or shine. A few years back he contacted Joseph Ahearne to build him a commuter cargo bike that he’d use everyday hauling his essentials to and from his work. He had a few ideas about what he wanted, but let Joseph take creative lead on the project.
The result is one of the most impressive cargo bikes I’ve been able to document for the Radavist. The bright teal paint job is accentuated by the large tires, shiny (yet dented) fenders, burnt orange portage by Black Star Bags and countless swoops and bends of the rack tubing.
With a wide range in the drivetrain, Ryan could very well take it touring, but it’s been at home in the streets of San Francisco, dipping between cars and dodging pedestrians. This bike has been abused in a loving way, yet maintained mechanically and as a framebuilder, I’m sure Ahearne is stoked to see one of his creations being put to use.
Seriously, this bike blew me away!
Copenhagen knows a thing or two about cycling. Both as individual transportation and carrying cargo. The Butchers and Bicycles MK1 tilt-action cargo trike offers a new perspective on urban mobility. Available in black or white, with dealers in Europe and the USA. Each trike is made by hand in Copenhagen’s meatpacking district. See more at Butchers & Bicycles and a few product photos below.
Pulling the Trigger on the Bullitt Cargo Bike
Words and photos by Kevin Sparrow
Bakfiets, bucket bike, cargo bike, or long john; no matter what you call it, this is a true workhorse of a bike. The Bullitt from Copenhagen, seem to be the cargo bike of choice for working messengers around the globe. My first opportunity to ride one was when I was working for Breakaway Couriers right here in Milwaukee. I have always wanted one for myself but had no idea just how much until my last trip to Amsterdam. There, I borrowed a friend’s bakfiets from the brand Work Cycles and took my wife Dani and daughter Lily for a riding tour of the city. After that one afternoon, I was convinced that I needed one. As soon as I got back from that trip I started researching what was available and affordable within the U.S.
The Road to the Schwarzwald Giro: Amsterdam
Photos and Words by Kevin Sparrow
The Schwarzwald Giro is a yearly ride in the Black forest of Germany. Phillipp of Europeantouches.cc invited me last year while I was living in Paris. It was such a great time I couldn’t miss the 2014 edition. I hopped on a flight to Amsterdam with the plan to drive to Frieburg with Sammy and Frank of Pristine Bike Shop.
Amsterdam is the bicycle mecca of the world. With 300 bike shops and 1.5 million inhabitants its no wonder why it’s the city of bikes. There is this beautiful buzz of freewheels in the air and the people are some of the friendliest I have ever encountered. They say the average resident of Amsterdam has 3 three bikes. One that kind of works, one locked up somewhere they forgot, and one in the bottom of the canal. I only had one day to explore this time and with my wife and daughter in tow we made the most of it.
My buddy Jon (@twotoneams) generously set us up with a bed and a bakfiets to explore the city for the day. So I loaded up my girls and headed out to get a taste of what this great city has to offer…
Follow Kevin on Instagram and check out photos via #schwarzwaldgiro