> The Bakfiets Cargobike: Clarijs Kid Cover

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Clarijs Kid Cover

The much awaited Clarijs kid cover for our Cargobike finally arrived. It's a critical accessory for hauling little kids in the winter for a couple of reasons: to keep them dry in the rain (duh) and less obviously, keep the cold wind off them when it gets below 50 - my son's eyes often water from the wind and on longer trips he gets chilled even when wearing a thicker down jacket and insulated pants. The parent pedaling the hefty Bakfiets will not get chilled easily. They will, however, lose weight and have very strong legs before long! Why pay good money for a health club membership when you can burn far more calories exploring your town with the family? ;-)

Luc and I went out for a rainy riverside ride over the weekend to trainspot and the cover worked well. The rear window rolls up and makes it easy to talk and little passengers still stay dry with rear flap up even when it rains fairly hard. It's really nice not to be held back by the rain anymore!

To open and close the cover you attach/detach a rubber bungie and lift up either rear corner, which has a flexible plastic batten with a rubber tip that rests in the rear corners of the cargo box, and then your kid crawls into the cargo box as normal. It's very elegantly designed, not much to break and no extra parts to keep track of when stored.

Visibility is excellent for kids, which is key when you're out looking for birds, squirrels and trains and such. Airplane spotting is also possible, another important consideration.

Initial installation took about 30 minutes and involved positioning and screwing in 4 button catches on the box to receive the top's bungies and one small block of wood in the front of the cargo box to tension the batten. The cover detaches in seconds and doesn't leave any intrusive or rattling hardware behind on the bike. Build quality is excellent and top is made from a heavy, industrial quality vinyl material that looks like it will hold up well over time, though I'm not sure what extended exposure to sun and elements would hold if you left it on year-round and stored the bike outside. I imagine our cover will stay on the bike most of the time in the wetter winter months and then be used intermittently the rest of the year. The windows appear to be made out of the same material as a convertible top on a car, so it will probably take careful cleaning to keep them from hazing over time.

The folks at Clarijs are very personable and responsive via email and I plan to pick up some of their GMG kid seat compatible panniers and a cargo box cover as well. One feature they offer which I haven't seen on other panniers is a big grommet which you can run a security cable through to prevent opportunistic theft. Check out their site for many bright, stylish color combinations - these look like the perfect urban bags for other Dutch or city style bikes, though they may not be fully compatible with narrower style of rear rack typically found on US bikes.

[the view from inside]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Richard,
You can buy similar button catches and bungies in the portland area (try vaughn brothers- http://www.vaughanbros.com/) if you need to, and you could probably have a cargo box cover made locally by beckel canvas products- http://www.beckelcanvas.com/

The kid cover looks nice.


3:47 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Thanks Matt - that's what I love about this thing, a lot of the parts can be easily repaired or replaced at a good hardware store or marine supply shop ;-)

I'll give a heads up on this info to the local guys putting together the Portland Bakfiets. They claim their cargo box will be dovetailed, so I'm pretty excited to see what twists the design takes as it gets a NW treatment. Will it also somehow incorporate a salmon theme and alaska yellow cedar? Who knows??? ;-)

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are they haveing the boxes built locally? Dovetails and alaska yellow cedar? that sounds spendy.


10:05 AM  
Blogger James said...

How long are the clarjis fietstassen you're looking at? I take it you are going to be importing dutch racks as well? Would you be able to take custom orders?
I have a cheaper set of panniers from Holland, very pretty red vinyl but find them to be too long for either the Nitto touring rack or the dutch rack on the pashley. They would probably work fine on an xtra cycle, if anyone in Portland wants to buy them.

7:22 PM  
Blogger James said...

Have you seen the fietsfabrik bicycles around? A year ago, when I was at NW bicycles, they had a pair of the short wheelbase fietsfabrik cargo bikes, one black the other an ugly green. I haven't seen them on the road.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Hey James - I don't know how long the Clarijs bags are. I assume they will fit the standard Dutch racks on our Bakfiets or jorg&olif based on emails exchanged w/Clarijs folks. The Dutch racks are definitely wider and longer and have thicker tubing than Tubus or Nitto or other typical North American style racks like Blackburn.

Haven't seen the Fietsfabriek bikes around or heard word about them. I wonder what happened to them and whether or not they were sold? Seems someone would have seen them around town... There is one Dutch fellow with a trike south of PDX, but I think he brought it with him when he moved here (see The Bakfiets Cargobike: Peter's De Fietsfabriek Cargo Trike)

1:48 PM  
Anonymous James said...

I saw a Swedish Skeppshult the other day and then found it on flickr.com

Are you guys going to seeling Azor fiets as well?

10:08 PM  
Anonymous James said...

I don't suppose you know anyone who wants a Pashley? I need to sell my year old sovereign.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

A quick note that the clear vinyl used for the cover's windows (like that which is used on automobile convertibles) can be maintained very well and kept clear with a very simple remedy: mineral oil. This is an age-old solution as it keeps the material supple while making it crystal clear for maximum visibility. What's more, it even restores hazy, older clear vinyl.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Thanks for the tip, Jeremy.

James - I'm not part of the CleverCycles thing, I'm just a fellow cargobike nut - check with Dean or Todd at Clever Cycles for what they'll be selling. I imagine that since they've got some relationship with the Dutch Bicycle Company that they'll get the Azor workbikes, but I'm just speculating.

Can you share a link about the Pashley - why are you selling? Has the Rivendell Quickbeam won out as most useful Portland steed? I like our jorg&olif a lot, but it's a brute on hills and a little long for the Max (light rail) hanging racks... Perfect for local NE/Pearl trips, though.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous James said...

I'm going to sell the quickbeam as well, it was an experiment to see if I could live with 700c and it didn't work out. Having built city bicycles for people using japanese 700 touring frame before I had expected to have some issues with top tube length and pedal overlap when used with decent tires and fenders and this wasn't much better. The SA hub was a bit defective too.
I had tried to find a nice lugged japanese market touring frame with 590 wheels to use a basis for a city bicycle. I actually across a danish bike shop that sold such bikes, similar to what momovelo did but better thought out, lugged and with quill stems and chaincovers.
I couldn't find anything, so I turned to the Raleigh Portage, their obscure 650b touring bike to turn into a city bicycle. Of course I never found one of those either.
So I bought a Bleriot and set it up like the quickbeam but with an absurd number of gears. It's much more comfortable than the quickbeam. And I need to get to work building my modified BSA which will be the Pashley replacement.
I've also scanned some old catalogues if you're interested http://1954rudgecatalogue.blogspot.com/
I have more coming.
That's funny. I thought you were the person behind the portland bakfiets. Do you own a bakfiets? The blue one?

8:36 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

James - the black Bakfiets on this blog/post is mine. The Portland bakfiets is being built by some other guys that I have become acquainted with and who periodically borrow mine for testing and reverse engineering of things like steering...

I took delivery of my cargobike from the same truck that Dean of CleverCycles got his first one, so that's the only connection there.

As far as 700c city bikes go I love my Independent Fabrication Independence - it's IF's touring frame designed by Mike Flanigan back before he left to start ANT. It's speedy and stable and has plenty of room for big tires and fenders and heel clearance with racks. Not lugged, but it is steel and the workmanship is excellent - most importantly it's built with proper tubing, fork and low BB geometry for carrying loads. If only I could figure out how to have a fully enclosed chain case with a triple and Shimano 9spd der. (ha ha) this bike would leave little to be desired for solo commuting and utility use.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

About the sizes of the panniers, you can find all sizes (5 models) on the website. www.clarijscovers.com. (also in english)

The "fietsfabriek" panniers and bakfietsen are bad copies of the clarijs panniers and the bakfiets.nl cargobike from Azor.

The clarijs kidscover is disigned togheter with Maarten van Andel who invented the Azor bakfiets.

Groeten uit Holland. Frank

6:23 AM  

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