– “Let’s ride our bicycles to dinner.”
– “Nahhh. I don’t feel like cycling.”
– “Jump in and I’ll do the pedalling.”
– “You’d never do that.”
– “Never say never! Ever.”
The Bakfiets is doing well, thank you for asking! And to all of you who think commuting by bicycle through the winter is not possible I tell you, it is. It’s even possible up here in Stockholm with a cargo bike and it’s lots of fun.
PS. I will update the gallery as snow keeps falling.
From Stockholm. With Love.
Lots of people treat winter as the bike commuting off-season and most winter cycling tips out there are either written by buy-as-much-accessories-as-you-can-but-seldom-ride cyclists or people who just don’t ride their bike at all during winter but believe their opinion matters nonetheless.
I’ll soon bicycle commute for the fourth winter in a row and I’ll do it with the CargoBike (Bakfiets.nl) Short for the first time this year. I tried to find information on what kind of tires people use to get these tanks roll through snow but could not find many different alternatives.
Most seem to go for Schwalbe Marathon Winter but I really didn’t want tires with spikes. I don’t think spikes are necessary around Stockholm and I’ve been doing just fine without for the last four winters (the one time I crashed during winter was on a bike with spikes). Moving 100+ kilograms on 20+ kilometers everyday is already hard enough and I didn’t feel like pushing harder on the pedals because of the added rolling resistance of studs (whatever people say spikes DO increase rolling resistance) and so I went for my own setup:
I’ll keep you posted. Let’s roll.
It’s been exactly four months since Fizz #1* and I pedalled back home on a classic Dutch Bakfiets we picked up at Gamla Enskede Lådcyklar. Four months and 1000 kilometers in the saddle later I believe time has come for a few pictures and some feedback.
So far, so good
We’ve been to places, we’ve transported stuff and we’ve had fun, a lot of fun. I guess that’s sort of what I expected the experience would be but I have to admit it’s been even smoother than I anticipated. Never in the last four months did the bike fall short and a bigger vehicle was needed. It just does the job.
It does the job and IT JUST WORKS.
I’ve come to a point in my life where I want stuff that just works. I really can’t be bothered with fixing and tweaking anymore and if there is something I love about this box bike is that: it works. I have not had a single mechanical issue in 1000 kilometers. Nothing. Nada. Rien. Ingenting. I barely had to pump the tires now and then to keep the pressure required for heavy duty. That’s how things should always be. Period.
Winter & Fizz #2 are coming
Maybe it’s a little too early for a proper review though. Temperatures (slowly) begin to drop and I have yet to swap the Schwalbe Marathon Plus for a pair of mountain bike tires that I hope will help keep the rides fun and safe during winter. At the same time Fizz #1 is also looking forward to sitting next to Fizz #2. Fizz #2? Well… she doesn’t know it yet. Twice the fun soon?
I suggest we meet here again in a few months.
* You got that? Right?
A few pictures from the first Cargo Bike Festival held in Stockholm on September 19, 2015. One of my neighbors -who I sent a link to the Facebook event to- ordered a cargo bike right after he and his family went and tried all the bikes available for test rides. I can only call that first edition a success.
Two weeks and two hundred kilometers later the Bakfiets.nl CargoBike Short is already part of the family daily routines.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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