At the 2009 Seattle Bike Expo bicycles functioning as cargo bikes, or in other utilitarian means, caught my attention. Two companies, Madsen and Metrofiets, seemed to have the same vision: move greater masses of cargo with a bicycle while keeping the frame elegant and functional. More importantly, being able to do it in a structurally sound manner.
Madsen offers two models of their cargo bike, the Rack and the Bucket, and each is able to move 600 pounds of whatever you want to load onto it. At the expo, Maurice actually loaded our 175lb, advertising guy Andy into the Bucket’s molded plastic cargo area and rode him around for a while. In the parking lot near the main entrance was another Madsen Bucket, but this one featured a cover reminiscent of an Amish buggy that stood high enough to cover kids, if they were to be ridden home from school in the rain.
All four sides of the cover had a clear widow-like-film for visibility inside and out. At the expo after party another Bucket filled with soft drinks and ice, was pedaled and parked next to a snack table and served as a makeshift cooler. One bike, many options, with even more if you put your imagination to it. With fenders, disc brakes, and multiple gears there isn’t too many places these bikes can’t be ridden. And at $1,100 to $1,300 for a complete bike, without accessories, the cost is low enough to entice many riders.
Portland, OR based puts a beautiful spin on their handmade cargo bikes and all material and labor are sourced from the USA. Instead of the load and gear being placed behind the bike, like Madsen’s design, Kona’s Ute, or Surly’s Big Dummy, Metrofiets places the weight of the load between the two wheels and increases frame construction to support the additional weight. Real wood cargo boxes and pallet mountable custom frames are no joke.
A Metrofiets frameset begins at $2,600, that’s with no components or extras so be sure of what your needs are. These bikes may seem a little pricey on the surface, but consider what you’re getting. In exchange you’ll receive one custom yet functional work of art to transport all of your goods with leg power in an efficient, solid way that can be felt good about.
With all the cargo bike options coming to light, I wonder how long it’s going to be before we see a show dedicated exclusively to this realm of transportation and the accessories that go along with it. After all, some big named bike companies are already players and manufacturing affordable production cycles. I’d attend it.
Click on the thumbs below to enlarge. Check out our entire Seattle Bike Expo photo gallery at this link.
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