One box, two legs & fourteen islands

Two weeks and two hundred kilometers later the Bakfiets.nl CargoBike Short is already part of the family daily routines.

What happened?

We’ve been thinking about getting rid of our car for a while but it really took the imminent birth of Pignon Jr. #2 for us to set things in motion. I have always been riding with Pignon Jr. #1 to preschool and other places already but the car came in handy once in a while. It also came with all the costs associated to convenience which, at the end of the day, are just not worth the money.

One of the biggest argument against owning that particular car though was that it simply is not a family car (3 door-VW-Golf-kind-of gas sucker). Owning a car “designed” for things a family of four tends to do and carry would basically mean, for us, owning another, bigger car that we would still only use twice a month or less anyway.

And that’s pretty much how the whole family ended up at Gamla Enskede Lådcyklar on a Sunday afternoon just a few hours before Måns closed the store for a month.

After so many weeks (months?) looking at cargo bikes specifications, reviews, and videos online I was sure I would ride a Butchers & Bicycles MK1-E back from the shop (it was actually because Måns had a MK1-E available that we went to his shop in the first place). But he, Måns, did what not too many shop owners do anymore and guided us through the process of choosing the right bike for us and our needs and had us try several cargos that he suggested (in the following order) we took for a spin.

nihola.com Family

We first tried a trike (I came for a MK1-E remember?) and pedalled around the block on a nihola.com Family which -it was the first time both Madame & Monsieur Pignon rode a trike- was a very nice introduction to three-wheeled bicycles.
nihola.com, Family
The bike was easy to handle and pleasant to ride but we felt that it would feel a bit bulky and not so nice to manoeuvre on longer rides (we don’t exactly live in central Stockholm and a roundtrip to Hötorget, for instance, is about 16 kilometers). – around 24,000 SEK

Butchers & Bicycles MK1-E

Next, we tried the Butchers & Bicycles MK1-E -finnnaaaallllyyy- and… I’m glad Måns got it back in one piece!
Butchers & Bicycles, MK1-E, Black & White
I know I wasn’t used to riding a three-wheeled bicycles but, compared to the nihola.com Family, riding the MK1-E was a completely different experience which, in my trike novice opinion, wasn’t of the riding with the family type. Sure I only rode it around the block for a couple of minutes but I couldn’t really figure out how to tilt it back on sharp corners and keep the rear wheel on the road. Madame felt it was not as stable as the nihola.com Family and did not feel confident in its saddle. First impressions are key and we decided it just was not a bike for us. – around 50,000 SEK

Bakfiets.nl CargoBike Short (and Long)

Last we tried what I thought I would never ride (and like) ever -for reasons I still can’t really explain- and within a couple of seconds knew it was exactly the sort of bike I had to have: a classic Dutch Bakfiets.
Bakfiets.nl, CargoBike Long
We (Madame Pignon is 8 months pregnant) tried both the long (Måns’ bicycle with electric assistance) and short versions and felt -probably due to the fact that they are pretty much regular two-wheeled bicycles, only a bit longer- like we always have had one. Easy to ride, easy to manoeuvre and easy to maintain (not much can go wrong on simpler machines). We had a deal -18,000 SEK- and rode a Bakfiets.nl CargoBike Short home.

Two weeks and two hundred kilometers later then and I would like, once again, to thank Måns for his help and for opening the shop on a sunny Sunday afternoon on his way -on a cargo bike obviously- to the lake. You’ll probably see us again sometime in the future… that box already feels too small.

To be continued…

Brooks England: B66, Brown

The B66 and B66 S are among BROOKS’s most loved products, having been on the market since 1927. Classically sprung with double rails for supreme comfort, B66 and B66 S are the ideal all-rounders for daily city or touring use in a rather upright posture. They are most appropriate for cyclists who set their handlebars higher than their saddles. In general, the more upright your riding posture, the wider, and more heavily sprung, the saddle you should choose.

http://www.brooksengland.com/catalogue-and-shop/saddles/city+%26+heavy+duty/B66/

we’re changing name to “One box, two legs & fourteen islands”

In the U.S., “Cargo Bikes” are becoming quite popular with families, especially in pedal-friendly communities. Families are using the bikes to do everything they do with cars — taking the kids to school, hauling groceries or running errands — without the hassle of finding parking. Some do it to help the environment or to exercise, while others say it is an easier, more fun way to get around. – Wikipedia

Stay tuned.
http://www.ladcyklar.se/bakfiets/

Riding a bike for an hour extends cyclist’s life by same time, say Dutch researchers

Riding a bike for one hour extends the average cyclist’s life by the same amount of time, according to a study in the Netherlands, which also found that they live six months longer than people who do not ride bikes.

http://road.cc/content/news/154903-riding-bike-hour-extends-cyclists-life-same-time-say-dutch-researchers

living the dream

Some say Sweden is the most Americanized country in the world. I’m not so sure it’s the 51st state yet but it’s definitely going in that direction.

Driverless vehicles have been wandering around Sweden for a while already and it’s become normal to read things like “Snowplow runs cyclist over” or “She was run over by a black Golf” even in the most influential newspapers. I hadn’t read the “Oops, wrong pedal!” (very popular in the U.S. and New York City in particular) gambit yet though but it’s finally here and Sweden is definitely catching up.


Oops, wrong pedal!
Oops, wrong pedal!

Motorist pressed the wrong pedal – drove off the road.

Hagsätra. It can go bad if one mistakes the gas for the brake.
Police was called out to Hagsätravägen after a motorist drove down a hill and into a parking lot last week.
This was the result of a driving student mistaking the gas pedal for the brake. Both the student and the driving instructor had to go to the hospital.


No one else was injured but we might not be as lucky next time it happens around a playground or a busy terrace. I would have liked to read that the student and instructor had been charged with something because that kind of “mistake” means they both should, in my book, never be allowed behind the wheel again. Ever.

rain, wind, rain, rain, wind, rain, wind, wind and… rain

The correct number of bikes to own is 4

There was a time when I thought n+1 was the right number of bicycles I had to own. But as I grew older and got other things and people to spend time with and take care of, more equipment did not mean more time in the saddle.

Quite the opposite actually and I sure never really needed these two Centurion Le Mans mixte bicycles I’ve had for almost 6 years and barely used. I wanted them gone before winter and put an ad on Blocket (Sweden’s Craigslist) in October last year. I quickly realized I’d better be selling skis at that time of year though.

Centurion Le Mans Mixte, Blocket

That horse was in pretty good condition and I had just replaced both tires with brand new Schwalbe but a guy actually offered me less than half the price I was asking for to, and I quote, “help me get rid off it”. I removed the ad instead and put it back online last week: the horse was sold less than a hour later. Blocket in a nutshell.

I’ve now got 4 bikes -a commuter to display the Brooks saddle I got when I turned old, a full suspension mountain bike to jump on & off curbs in the neighborhood, a cyclocross to ride on roads and a hard-tail mountain bike to carry my kid around- and it’s about the right number.

Stockholm hasn’t had such a rainy month at this time of year for more than two centuries

Sweden hasn’t experienced such a wet May since 1962, according to meteorologists, with double the average rainfall for this time of year across much of the Nordic nation.
The capital bore the brunt of the recent downpours. In fact, Stockholm hasn’t had such a rainy month at this time of year for more than two centuries and the recent soggy weather has dampened a number of major events in the city including the annual marathon.1

According to meteorologists it’s been raining quite a lot in May. It didn’t take me complex mathematical models and insanely expensive hardware to figure that out but I guess that sort of lines are for people who never go out so keep up the good work, you’re on the right track! Now if you want cheap and accurate weather data you could also ask any daily bicycle commuter in the streets and she could tell you that. She probably wouldn’t know about two centuries ago but even if she said so you couldn’t prove otherwise.

If there’s one thing cyclists don’t like and don’t forget though, it’s wind. She could also tell you it’s been windier (last year was also windy) than all those years (at least two centuries) she’s spent in the saddle around Stockholm. So back to work weather boys, you’ve got a cyclist to catch and question!


  1. http://www.thelocal.se/20150601/may-weather-in-sweden-was-worst-since-1962 

Brooks England: Cambium C15 Carved, Slate

The Cambium C15 Carved shares the same narrower shape as the existing Cambium C15, but with an ergonomic cut-out to provide relief from discomfort in the perineal area, experienced by some cyclists.
This “registered cutting, a sure preventive to all perenial pressure” is also to be found in the saddles of the Brooks Imperial line.
Made from vulcanised natural rubber and organic cotton top, combined with a die-cast aluminium structure and tubular steel rails. For performance, a distinct dampening effect is delivered by the classic Brooks “hammock” construction keeping the rider in unparalleled comfort mile after mile.

http://www.brooksengland.com/catalogue-and-shop/saddles/road+%26+mtb/Cambium+C15+Carved/

thank you for cycling – May 27, 2015 – tack för att du cyklar

On May 27, the City of Stockholm and Naturskyddsföreningen (the most influential non-profit environmental organization in Sweden) will give goodie bags to cyclists around Stockholm as a thank you for riding a bicycle (“tack för att du cyklar”).

Cycling in Stockholm

In order to get one of the bags you will have to ride by one the following 17 check points:

  • Alvik (Alviksplan)
  • Hornstull
  • Ekelundsbron (Solna)
  • Slussen
  • Årstabron
  • Skanstull
  • Götgatan (by Katarina bangata) – bike service available
  • Hammarbyfärjan (Södermalm)
  • Roslagstull (north side) – bike service available
  • Stadshuset – bike service available
  • Norrtull
  • Lidingöbron (Ropsten side)
  • Sankt Eriksplan
  • Raoul Wallenbergs torg
  • Älvsjö station (by the bicyle pump)
  • Kista – bike service available
  • Hökarängen

Will you commute by bike on May 27 and ride by one of the check points to get a bag? What do you think the goodies will be this time? Or, if you’re reading this afterwards, what did you get?

Sthlm Bike goes Royal

Sthlm bike, the world’s most beautiful bicycle race, is back with a new route on September 6.

This year’s ride (Sthlm Bike is a non-timed race so take it easy and enjoy the scenery) is a bit longer (48 kilometers) than last year’s (42 kilometers) and has been given a new – Royal – dimension according to the race organizers: “We will not just ride through Stockholm’s beautiful landscape but the route will take us from castle to castle.”

Stockholm bike, route, 2015

We’ll start at the Royal Palace and head to the islands of Djurgården where we’ll bicycle by Rosendal Palace followed by Kungliga Djurgårdens Förvaltning (no idea how to translate that but that’s where coffee and snacks will be served).
We’ll then continue towards Ulriksdal Palace where you’ll get a chance to refill your water bottles and bring your blood sugar levels up. We’ll then head back towards the city via Haga Palace and Hagaparken.
From Sveavägen on we’ll ride through the city to the finnish line: City Hall (don’t forget your blood sugar levels), Kungsholmen, Fredhäll and Södermalm. Breakfast will be served at the Royal Garden.

I really enjoyed last year’s ride and will definitely join this year with a couple of friends. I suggest you join too and register already.

Registration starts now and will remain open until August 27 or until all 3,000 entries sell-out.