Vehicle of Urban Transformation?


As an advocate for cycling as a means of daily transportation, I often get push back of the form: “Well, you can’t ________________ on a bicycle” (pick your objection – kids to soccer, stock up at Costco, etc.).

But we’re increasingly seeing creative solutions. In many families the bakfiets has begun to play the same role as an SUV, hauling the kids to school, stocking up at the grocery store, etc.

But there has not been a bicycle analog of the pickup truck – a way to carry large, heavy or odd-sized loads. But I think one may be aborning.

I first saw this trailer on Bike Portland and was intrigued enough to make a Kickstarter pledge.

Why I became entranced after the jump.
I wanted to learn more, so I contacted designer Len Rubin and met with him to get a closer look.

It’s the modular nature of the trailer that appeals to the open source developer in me. There are so many ways to potentially configure the trailer, and the key is a very easy to use clip that connects the square tubes that make up the framing and extensions.

I can easily imagine 3rd parties creating additional add-ons that are compatible with the clip-in system.

I encourage as many people as possible to support the Kickstarter project. With only a week left, it may not fund on this attempt, but I’d like to see momentum build for getting this manufactured!

You can see the trailer in various states and configurations below.













7 responses to “Vehicle of Urban Transformation?”

  1. Small is beautiful, eh….

    There’s nothing wrong with “engineering down” things that don’t need to be as heavily built as present standards require. This would be resource efficient. I’m waiting for the bicycle driven concrete mixing truck to supply concrete for the new urbanist village.

    Seriously though, while a low-technnology, human powered economy could supplant heavy machinery in mild climate locales like Silicon Valley or Portland, I don’t know how well this concept would work in Canada, Scandinavia or even much of the US where winters are very cold.

    Has anyone checked lately to see what the Scandinavians are doing to enact low-technology solutions? Also, please don’t forget my old article on the 30 percent lighter, stainless steel, city bus concept adaptable for hybrid technology. Developed during the Bush administration…..

  2. Ron, Denmark was traditionally included in Scandinavia, and Copenhagen has the highest bicycle mode share among cities in the developed world outside of the Netherlands. Over 30% of all trips of any length are taken by bicycle. The winter weather doesn’t slow them down:

    As for this trailer, it’s a nice design, but I think all the current trailers from Burly and the like are more useful, since they are optimized for carrying kids. You can easily haul stuff in a trailer designed for kids, but it is hard to throw kids into a cargo trailer, at least in a country that expects children to have seatbelts and helmets at all times.

  3. Some comments from your article:
    Emily said…

    Those pictures do the talking in more ways than you think. I’m seeing a definite absence of hills. I haven’t bought studded tires yet, but I’m fairly tempted, because I live at the top of a steep hill, and riding my bike down that when it’s icy can be a little scary.

    Anonymous said…

    From MN
    Anonymous said…

    From AK
    Doug said…

    Looks darn flat. Ever tried riding uphill, or maintaining control going downhill in those type of conditions without studded tires? I ride everyday in the U.S. in some of the harshest winter conditions in the country. I couldn’t do it without studded tires. I’ve been riding bicycles for 42 years. I am experienced.

  4. Ron,

    I don’t really get what you are driving at… Yes, we have hills in Portland, but we don’t get snow for more than 2 days a year, typically. So, yes, it may be tough to get people in Park City, Utah to start riding, but most cities in America are conducive to cycling in all ways but one: infrastructure.

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