> The Bakfiets Cargobike

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mama Bakfiets Race

A fantastic display of bakfiets finesse from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cy0UmakZck.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pure Joy

Pure cycling joy put to music via 24 Oranges

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cargobike Long Review

Here's a really thorough review of a long cargobike from a local family that has owned one for about a year now. Thanks Matt!

Monday, December 10, 2007

De Bakfiets Imam

Here's a fairly random, but humorous video of a bakfiets riding imam discussing halal and haraam with a group of Dutch kids. Love the folding cardboard mosque. Bakfiets is halal!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Barcelona Bakfiets

Sagrada Fabakfiets.
Originally uploaded by supertsaar
Supertsaar on Flickr, one of a handful of Bakfiets owners in Barcelona, has recently posted some nice photos of his family out and about in their lovely city.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A mellow Amsterdam ride

Napping Kids

A sweet video from the Netherlands of 3 kids sacked out for a long ride. Makes for a peaceful moment for dad!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cargobike Restoration on Transportfiets.net

When I'm an old man with more time for garage-based pastimes I want to restore old cargobikes back to their former glory. I suppose I'll have to dredge the Amsterdam canals and ship a cargo container full of rusyt bits back from Amsterdam, but those details can be worked out later. This hobby would certainly provide an excellent excuse to travel the backroads of Europe! Check out Transportfiets.net - an amazing resource for all sorts of old workbikes, bakfiets and Long John style bikes, bakkersfiets, etc. It's in Dutch, but has many wonderful historical photos.

Thanks to Henry at WorkCycles for pointing out this site on his blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What got me going on Bakfiets?

This is an excerpt from a comment I wrote on the Bakfiets flickr group discussion board earlier this evening... I haven't had nearly as much time to write on the new cargobike as I would have liked over the past year, so I thought I'd share it here as well. I'm trying to make this more of a blog about the role this bike has taken in my life this year rather than random collection of Bakfiets tidbits.

"A couple years ago, just after we moved into our leafy old Portland neighborhood, I kept having sightings of this luminous and energetic being - a beautiful blond Dutch woman with cute little kids - whizzing around on a classic black, short wheelbase Bakfiets. I would often see the bike sitting in front of the bakery or local hair stylist or pass her as she disappeared behind the green of a roundabout with a big load of groceries then go home mumbling over and over to myself

b - a - k - f - i - e - t - s - . - n - l

trying to remember the proper spelling until i sat down immersed for long Google sessions. Anyway, it's just as Mikael & Aaron from Copenhagen Girls on Bikes understand so well - attractive women going about their daily lives on city bikes are a most powerful influence...

Long story short: she started it...

The bike was such a strange beast, unlike anything I'd ever seen, let alone ridden. As a road and touring bike nut of 20 plus years I'd long experimented with putting together the ideal load carrying city bike and the capacity of the Bakfiets box blew me away. The design had an incredibly visceral and emotional appeal for me as the new father of two young children born during a most brutal and wretched oil war. It seemed like such a fantastically elegant way to ferry your children around a flat neighborhood such as ours and the ultimate two-wheeled middle finger to the flocks of overbearing, "safety" obsessed matrons in Hummers, Yukons and Escalades. To have my children grow to know the sights, smells and sounds of our neighborhood while we ran our daily errands deeply appealed to my idyll of city life. It's been one of those rare possessions that inspires you to live a simpler, more peaceful life with greater connection to your community and it has helped bring to light more clearly than any way I know the dehumanizing vulgarity of the automobiles we've been lifelong brainwashed to love."

What got you going on Bakfiets? Write and tell me more!


On a crisp and bright autumn afternoon 11 month old Ben is quickly adapting to his newly discovered ride. Today we took an excursion to get some more pumpkins at the neighborhood market since carved-too-early jackolantern #1 had already collapsed into a brown heap of moldy slime (but isn't that a key part of the season and holiday - death and renewal?). The fall colors have really reached their peak and the gutters and sidewalks are brimming with a rainbow of dry leaves. For cargo freaks, note that there is a 12 pack of Mirror Pond hidden under the seat. This load really smooths out the ride! And you get very strange looks from the people at the supermarket check-out when they see you, the child, the squash, the large quantities of beer and then look up and see that you both are wearing bicycle helmets. Viva la Bakfiets!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Here's 3 year old Luc taking 10 month old Ben on his first cargobike adventure. Well, actually, they're just playing in the driveway thanks to the uber-stable kickstand.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Street Films: Bogota Planning Successes

I've watched this brilliant interview from StreetFilms countless times in recent weeks and can't get many of the points made by ex-mayor Enrique Peñalosa out of my mind. It will change the way you look at your own city - its streets, public spaces, and the domination of the automobile over the people who live there... Think of it as a template for cityscapes in which cargobikes will achieve their full promise - the bakfiets is just a tool, it needs a proper habitat.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cargobike history at LongJohn.org

[from LongJohn.org]

It's good to know your history and the Bakfiets owes a lot to its precursors, particularly to the Long John - a Danish bike manufactured by various firms from at least the early 1940s. Check out some lovely restored Long John cargobikes, some quite old, at LongJohn.org.

A Bakfiets "Pick Up" for your Oma

[finished installation]

[top view - heavy Dutch steel]

[mounting bracket stays on the bike]

[rack easily detaches when you don't need it]

[the box is a little narrower than the handlebars]

[gotta love the folks at Bakfiets.nl...]

I recently purchased a Dutch made front cargo rack for our Jorg&Olif Omafiets at Clever Cycles to give my wife more capacity for hauling groceries and larger parcels on her neighborhood rounds. It's produced by the same company that built our Bakfiets and in quaint Dutch fashion it's called the "Pick Up". The rack fastens onto the downtube using a sturdy steel bracket that receives the tubular steel rack. Dean at Clever Cycles had the idea that a wine box would be the perfect size for fastening to the rack, so after initially trying out a smaller wicker basket that didn't take full advantage of its load carrying capabilities for a few weeks I thought I'd give it a try. You can usually talk your local wine merchant out of a nice box for $5-10, or if you're feeling really flush, you can buy a case of the primo quality wine that still comes in wooden boxes and have the enjoyment of drinking up or cellaring the contents of the box (we have kids' school to pay for so I scrounged a box).

The wine box is fastened to the rack with 8 hefty zip ties which are passed through holes drilled in the box. I reinforced the box with a couple of long square-drive stainless deck screws on each corner as wine boxes are nailed and will probably work loose otherwise. To protect the box from the weather I coated it inside and out with marine grade teak oil left over from another project. An oil finsh can be easily recoated as needed, will allow the wood to weather gracefully to a warm hue over time and won't chip off when banged around. In true Bakfiets style, I also drilled a couple of drain holes at the back, lower end of the box to keep standing water to a minimum when it's left out in the rain. Overall, it's a very sturdy (and heavy) steel rack and the whole installation is solid and is pleasantly silent on the road unless you have a U-lock or loose cargo rattling about.

I'm not sure what the "official" load rating is, but you can certainly carry 20-25 lbs. without a problem. Two grocery bags fit side-by-side making it a good grocery getting setup. What I really like about the design of this rack is that it does not effect the steering since it is fixed to the frame rather than the fork or handlebars. Fork mounted D-racks and handlebar mounted baskets get unwieldy and really degrade the handling of the bike as you add weight. These types of racks also have the annoying quality of flopping sideways and tipping over the bike when loaded while frame mounted racks on bikes with center stands will happily stand up on their own on level surfaces.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

NYT Gear Test Features Bakfiets

Check it out - the New York Times comes to Portland to get the scoop on child carrying options, including a nice shot of a Clever Cycles bike.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Next Generation Spin Cycle - Portland Tribune

There's a very nice story in today's Portland Tribune on Clever Cycles. It's so great to see local mainstream press picking up on the topic of the simplicity and elegance of Dutch bikes, the practicality of cargobikes and joys of running daily errands while biking with kids.

Monday, July 09, 2007

the Practical Pedal - Dutch Cargobikes in American Cities

Here's another recent Bakfiets article and interview with Todd and Dean mentioned on a Clever Cycles blog post from the Practical Pedal - a magazine worth keeping an eye on and another wonderful indicator of a rapidly growing interest in utility cycling in the US.

AP - Bakfiets goes Mainstream

Cargobikes got a nice mention in an AP article today on Dutch cycling trends:

"...Another noteworthy trend is the growing popularity of the "bakfiets," a bicycle with a sturdy wooden box attached to the front capable of carrying loads of up 175 pounds, with plenty of room for groceries - or small children.

The bakfiets had been around for decades for use as a transport vehicle but until recently were mostly popular with left-wing Amsterdam residents and squatters. Since the turn of the century however, it has crossed over into the mainstream.

In the wealthier neighborhoods of Amsterdam, having a high-quality model has become something of a status symbol among young urban professionals, who deck them out with chrome finishes and various accessories.

For both 'Yuppie' and working class parents, rain covers for the often miserable Dutch weather are a must."

It's interesting that, according to this article, the Dutch don't really think of themselves as cyclists or non-cyclists like Americans do. Bikes are just a sensible way to get around town... I wonder whether we will ever be able to get over seeing biking as sport (lycra clad) or identity (tattoed fixie) over here?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Top Secret Satellite Photos

Thanks to some old connections at CentCom and an educated guess at the GPS coordinates for the facility in NE, I was able to briefly repurpose a couple of satellites and get these spy photos of the much rumored Portland-built bakfiets... Special thanks to the boys at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), National Security Agency (NSA) and Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) for their continuing support.

someday these ugly ducklings will be a beautiful swan!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Reuters Cargobike Video

Hadn't run across this video before, but just stumbled upon it on YouTube - a nice Reuters piece on Dutch cargobikes including an interview with Henry Cutler.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Portland Built Bakfiets

Jonathan Maus recently posted more details over at BikePortland.org on the much rumored Portland built cargobike project. These guys spent some time riding and crawling on the ground around/under/on top of my bike with measuring tape and camera over the winter and I'm anxiously awaiting spy photos of the early prototypes as they take shape (ahem, Phillip).

More Rain City Bikes opening photos

Clever Cycles to open June 1

Originally uploaded by cleverchimp
Wow, look at all those beautiful green cargobikes just waiting for a new home... Only one more week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rain City Bikes Opening Night

Thanks to Victor of Rain City Bikes of Vancouver, British Columbia who just sent some photos from his recent grand opening party. The shop looks great and I'm sorry to have missed the festivities. Looking forward to more pictures from up north!

A true Utility Vehicle!

Outside raincitybikes

A few flowers for the shop?

Classic Dutch fare...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Amsterdam Zoo

Here's a short video by Mary of Velomobiling (aka Livewombat) from Amsterdam that shows a number cargobikes parked outside the zoo. You can see why bike parking becomes a major issue when a significant portion of the population begins to ride, particularly if they ride cargobikes!

Gardening the Bakfiets Way

Originally uploaded by cleverchimp.
Thanks to the Bryants for capturing this happy shot of spring cargobiking at its best.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New WorkCycles Blog: www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl

Here are some fresh pics from Amsterdam courtesy of Henry Cutler of Henry WorkCycles. Thanks Henry! Check out Henry's new Bakfiets and cargobike blog at www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl for some great writing from a guy who has done far more for bringing cargobikes to the masses than anyone I can think of. It's off to a great start and Henry has a lot of cool photos to share. I particularly like the bridalfiets below:

(Text captions are from Henry's email...)

"A newlywed couple, perhaps about to make twins. Actually this is the popular Dutch author Raymond Klundert (known as Kluun) and his wife. I blatantly stole the image from his website, figuring its somehow OK since I own the bike they're on/in."

"Cargobike twins in MaxiCosis - we sure see a LOT of twins here."

"More twins.. a little older."

"The 70cm transport GT for those 6'6" and above. Big guys need good bikes too."

Oregonian: Kids and cargo: This bike can haul it all

Nice article today in the Oregonian. There seem to be enough Bakfietsen around the Portland area that sighting them is becoming a regular thing - hooray!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Good clean fun...

Friday, April 06, 2007

4 year old on a bakfiets

Check this cute video of young Emiko riding her bakfiets.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Guest Post - Bird Dogfiets

[Pete and Porter]

[Solas retroreflective Ducks!]

[Cece takes a turn with a friend]

Guest post from Peter E.S. Cole, Portland, Oregon:

"We are proud to join Rick and family in The Bakfiets Revolution. We have been testing it for several weeks as a kid mover, a dog hauler and a commuter/errand bike for Gamblin Artists Colors Co. If you are reading this, know that The Bakfiets Revolution will hit your neighborhood - it's not a question of if anymore, it's just a matter of when. Thank to the folks at Clever Cycles and Rick Wilson's prescience, it's probably going to be sooner rather than later.

The Bakfiets just flat out hauls. It hauls kids - to their endless delight. It hauls dogs and lulls them to calm with its heft and the hum of its tires. And it hauls ass down any hill. The good news is that the drum brakes provide reliable stopping power and first gear is low enough that you can get up most anything if need be, albeit slowly. Think of off-roading uphill in 4LO...slow and steady, nothing fancy.

After several shakedown cruises with multiple kids and the dog, we are ready to try some longer distances. Next stop: an unnamed railroad bed up an unnamed, for now, river for a bike/camp/fish durnig the salmon fly hatch. What do you say Rick?"

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Clever Cycles in Holland - December 2006

Clever Cycles]

Here's a link to a fantastic set of photos from Clever Cycle's winter research and shopping trip to Holland. As always, Todd has a great eye and this set is an education in utility cycling.

Submit your Bakfiets photos

[Happy winners of the Alice Awards Bakfiets - © Scott Mizée]

Scott M. has recently created a new group on Flickr to create a centralized location for sharing Bakfiets photos called "Bakfiets -- The Dutch Cargo Bike". If you've got any photos of Bakfietsen you are invited to join the group and share - we'd all love to see your pictures!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dutch Bakfietsen on Photobucket

Just found this nice Dutch photo gallery of various cargobikes in their native habitat. The sheer variety of shots does a good job of showing how ubiquitous cargobikes are becoming over there.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Bakfiets Stamp

A writer from Amsterdam that my wife is working with on the latest addition to her series of City Walks decks published by Chronicle Books sent us this great Bakfiets postage stamp designed by ...,staats the other day. Another reason to love the Dutch - they've got their priorities straight! Read more about how the stamp came into being here.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Velo Vision Bakfiets Review

Here's a link to the digital version of a recent Bakfiets review from the fine folks at Velo Vision, an absolutely superb publication for information on specialized cycles, bicycles as transport and human powered vehicles.

Be sure to check out and/or subscribe to their new digital edition - a real boon for those of us in the United States.

(thanks to Scott for helping my find this!)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Old School Dutch Cargobike

Roel1943 on Flickr]

Bikes Hauling Bikes...

Here are some snapshots from Scott Mizée of npGREENWAY. Scott is one of Portland's latest Bakfiets converts and has been test riding Todd's long cargobike for the last couple weeks for work and play - including doing the infamous Worst Day of the Year Ride with his kids.

[A happy family down on the river]

[No onboard DVD player here]

[Worst Day of the Year ride]

[Bikes carrying bikes]

[Barges and Bakfiets...]

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More PDX sightings: Old Town Pizza Bakfiets

Thanks to Jonathan at BikePortland for the heads up on this post: