Dutch Cargo Bike
I had the luck of riding up behind Rianne Taylor as she transported Luc and Cecilia to school yesterday morning in that fabulous Dutch contraption. After landing it in front of the school yard and unloading the kids from it, she offered to let me take it for a spin!
First thing I tried to do was lift it off the ground. I couldn’t budge it, not a millimeter. It felt like trying to lift a car. Imagine my surprise, then, when driving it felt like floating in a hot air balloon, except with steering control. So smooth! You don’t feel the weight at all. How they could make such a hunk of machinery glide like that, Idon’t know. And the steering is easy, too. The handlebars connect below the box to an extender that reaches
forward to turn the front wheel, and you’d expect it to feel sort of like steering “by proxy,” but no. At least for the short distance I rode, it felt effortless.
I didn’t try out the thumb-shifter and I forgot to ask how many gears it has. Rianne says forget about hills. The slight incline of the route to the kids’ doctor is the most she’ll take on. She welcomes the exercise, but this bike has its limits. We’re not likely to see one tooling around Portland’s West Hills.
Remember that Holland, where she brought this over from, is flat as a pancake. In Holland, this is a car. You can see the website for this amazing unit at http://www.bakfiets.nl/. It’s all in Dutch, but if you contacted them I bet they’d reply in English. (I’ve never met a Dutch person in my life who wasn’t completely fluent in English and probably a few other languages.) It comes with a built-in lock, a generator headlight, a custom-fitted zip-up plastic rain shield, and seatbelts for the passengers. Makes me want to move to Holland.