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Cargo Bikes Re-Energize Urban Delivery Systems!

December 5, 2015       Muscle Machines
Cargo Bikes Re-Energize Urban Delivery Systems

All over the world, cargo bikes have
become a trending, urban work vehicle
for locals.

In China, Japan and Southeast Asia, rickshaws and pedal-powered bicycles with attached sidecars have been staples of informal urban conveyance systems (and an underground economy by themselves) for generations.

Image by P199 for WikiCommons  CC BY-SA 3.0
Traysikad, a cargo bicycle rigged with a sidecar for freight cargo.
Several variations of these makeshift cargo bikes can be found
in the Philippines.

Much to the consternation of hardworking pedal-pushing rickshaw drivers and 'Padyak' and 'Traysikad' (sidecar bicycle) drivers, local transportation and urban authorities (in the Philippines particularly) frown on having these meager looking contraptions roam the main streets and highways because of the 'inherent danger' they pose: slapping lots of restrictions on their operations as passenger conveyors and as cargo freight options.  And one smug, ASEAN politico claimed that 'progress' is measured by the number of cars clogging the street...can you believe this man wants to be elected for president...?  Yuck. 

Switching to the E.U., we find countries like the Netherlands, the U.K. and Germany with thriving urban delivery systems that keep local businesses in good stead.  Just using just cargo bikes and cargo e-bicycles (powered by small electric motors).  Work bikes in Europe are also a cultural tradition, especially for the Dutch.  Even American bike hobbyists have engaged in DIY custom hand-made cargo bike products with rear and front cargo holds.  These are not just rickety, ratty rigs using junk pipes or makeshift bike hardware but professionally engineered products for safe riding and with stable cargo capacities for maximum utility. 

With cargo bikes trending right now in the West, it is surprising that in Asia, especially in the Philippines, they are seen as an eyesore and a sign of poverty rather than the smartest green vehicle that actually works because it is effective and sustainable as a tool for making a living.

We take a look at some of the better Cargo Bike brands from all over the world.

If you were looking for business opportunities in the integrated ASEAN region next year: In far flung rural and suburban areas where 'progress' hasn't blighted the roads yet, a cargo bike  dealership might look really amazing and help local businesses thrive.

Urban Arrow Cargo Bikes

Dutch designer and bike enthusiast, Wytze van Mansum, created what may be considered the ultimate workhorse of a cargo bike, the electric powered Urban Arrow cargo bicycle.  Urban Arrow cargo bikes are streamlined and stylish, yet known as safe, lightweight, and low maintenance cargo bikes.

Powered by a mid-drive Bosch electric assist and Nuvinci continuously variable internal hub transmission, you don't have to wear yourself out if you purchase one as your work vehicle or as a hobby bike.  Although not a budget bike like most makes on the list, Urban Arrow cargo bikes are worth the premium if you want to invest in a really good hobby (designer) bike that can double as a work tool.

Work Cycles

Dubbed as the best bike shop in Amsterdam, Work Cycles offers some of the best and street worthy cargo bikes ever built.  With a long tradition of bike design and custom building, Work Cycles timeless design and high quality workmanship guarantees you the best work or hobby vehicle you can have if you want a Dutch brand over any other make. 

Work Cycles  Dutch Cargo (Bakfietsen)  Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Famous for the heavy workload 'bakfietsen'  style, front cargo,  two front-wheel design, Work Cycles are among the last bicycle makers to still offer this century-old classic workhorse:  big, heavy, and almost indestructible.  The 'Bakfietsen' or Dutch bike was designed before streets were paved with concrete or asphalt and were only suitable for flat terrain.  Work Cycles can even custom build the Bakfietsen according to your own company or personal work specs.

Dutch Cargo Bike

Based in Melbourne, owner Emmy is a Dutch immigrant who wanted to have her Dutch biking heritage in her new found home.  She put together Dutch Cargo Bike as the proud maker of the safest family bikes and the fastest budget cargo bikes available Down Under.  Dutch Cargo Bike also makes 'bakfiets' styled workbikes in several variations, from bin containers to canopied cargo holds.  They have an eBike consultant for any custom orders for e-motor outfitted cargo bikes.

Image is all rights reserved to Dutch Cargo Bike and used for review purposes only
Dutch Cargo Bike's very own version of the traditional 'Bakfiets' work bike.

Yuba Bikes

If you prefer the cargo hold sitting at the rear of the bike rather than in the front, there is another American company named Yuba Bikes which makes rear cargo-hold, custom cargo bikes.  Inspired by makeshift bikes from South African and Latin American rural communities from his backpacking travels, Bike hobbyist, Ben Sarridar put together a custom cargo bike company that sells several models of rear cargo hold bikes.

Image is all rights reserved to Yuba Bikes, used for review purposes only
Mundo V4 21-Speed is Yuba Bikes bestselling cargo bike model in
the U.S., favored by bike messengers
and ride hobbyists.

The Yuba Mundo V4 21-Speed cargo bike is already the best selling cargo bike in the U.S. for 5 years running.   Yuba also offers an electric cargo bike that can run 20 to 35 miles on a single charge.  If you bring a battery to recharge the rig, you can get more mileage out of the electric motor.

CETMA Cargo Bikes

American bike messenger, Lane Kagay built his company off his hobby of bike and rack building for biker friends.  Originally based in Oregon, CETMA Cargo Bikes now is located in Venice, California and providing some of the most popular cargo bikes in the area.  CETMA has very unique urban cargo delivery styles and even cargo bikes that can hold and carry young kids safely.  Stokemonkey is CETMA's personally recommended electric motor and electric gear maker, if you want to rig their bikes as an eBicycle.

Photo by Dominique Dougherty  Flickr Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0
CETMA Cargo Bikes have front cargo holds that can be secured
with cargo containers.          

Although there are provisions for allowing legit urban cargo bikes and even makeshift rickshaw trikes in the major urban cities in the ASEAN, the best places to have these bikes would be in the smaller urban centers where transport regulations are less stringent for cargo bikes plying the streets. 

Even so, there are great opportunities available for these amazing work tools for both bike hobbyists looking for a multi-purpose utility bike and for businesses wanting a green, freight delivery system for localized operations.
  Enjoy your passion with a hobby-work, cargo bike.  The only bike that lasts forever.


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