Bicycle Chariot Races

Whatever these are they really need to make a comeback!

Johnnie Olivan Explores Possibilities With The Bike-Car

Here are three cool videos of Portland, OR bikesmith Johnnie Olivan and his recycled creations.

Learn more at Rejuiced Bikes

More videos are available on Vimeo and YouTube

Cargo Hauler in NYC

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Spotted on John Prolly’s Flickr photostream. According to Google, Coco-Mat is a mattress company whose products are now available in NYC.

Update: More googling has turned up these videos of the delivery bicycle in action:

Don’t Call it a Girl’s Bike

Just because your bicycle has a sloping top tube doesn’t mean you have to call it a “girl’s bike.” That slope can make it easier to cycle modestly while wearing a dress, sure, but it also comes in handy once you start carrying any sort of cargo on your bicycle.

Adding cargo adds weight to your bicycle and the “step-through” frame design makes it easier for you to balance your packages or children while mounting and dismounting your bike.

Here are just a few “step-through” bicycles for women and men that can help you carry your cargo and avoid the delicate dance of getting on and off your bike:

The above Linus Mixte comes with a rear rack ready for you to strap a basket to, available at Bikes on Wheels.

The Globe Live 1 Mixte will stand out in the crowd, if not for the bright red colour but also because it comes stock with a huge front rack, available at Urbane Cyclist.

While the Dutch may call this design by Electra an “omafiets” (literally, grandma’s bike) both men and women have benefited for years from this easy to step through design. Available at The Cycle Shoppe.

When it comes to really maximizing your cargo carrying capacity, the Kona Ute certainly stretches the limits. Available at Sweet Pete’s.

And that’s not all… you’ll find even more sloping step-throughs at Curbside Cycle who carry models from Batavus, Pashley and Abici.

Momentum Magazine Issue #47 – All About Kids and Cargo Bikes

Momentum Magazine Cover Issue 47

Who can really get enough of cargo bikes? And what better way to take your children with you?

The latest issue of Momentum Magazine has articles all about the growing North American market for cargo bicycles and features a few reviews of these people-powered haulers, including the Zigo Leader pictured on the cover.

Read the latest issue for free online here. Or visit your local bicycle retailer to pick up a copy.

Cargo Bikes; Big in New York (and Toronto too!)

Screen Shot NY Times Video Cargo Bikes

Screen shot NT Times Video Cargo Bikes

Screen Shot Cargo Trike NY Times Video

Watch the New York Times video “The Family Car(go) Bike” here.

BikingToronto blogger Claire is no stranger to the benefits of carting her family around in a bicycle built for four. Read her blog, The Fletcher Five here.

Local DIYer Shows You How to Make a Bike Garden

Bike Garden via ayearfromscratch.wordpress.com

How cool is this?

Toronto blogger is assigning herself 52 DIY tasks over the year. The one shown above, is a bike garden. Who wants to run to the store to get fresh herbs when you can simply grow them yourself, and take them with you?

Go here to learn how to create your own bike garden!

Bike Garden via yearfromscratch

Photos via 52 Projects <– Go there and see what’s next!

Covet: Bent Basket

Bent Basket screen shot bentbasket.com

I really seem to be obsessed with carrying things on wood on bicycles these days.

Here’s another design for a bike-mounted rack, called the Bent Basket. Thick nylon straps are removable and interchangeable and the base looks like a skateboard design gone wrong. I like it, although those straps could really wreck havoc on fresh strawberries (my girlfriend and I are having a heck of time getting strawberries and raspberries home on our bikes without the end result looking like a CSI crime scene).

Bent Basket and flowers from bentbasket.com

Bent Basket in profile from bentbasket.com

More info from the Bent Basket site:

Each bent basket is handmade from bent wood, an aluminum frame and stretchy nylon straps.

Carry area is 16”L x 12.5W

Designed for 700c road bike

Maximum weight: 12 pack of beer

Go here to get one BentBasket.com

Photos via BentBasket.com

Found on The World’s Best Ever

Covet: Beautiful, Handmade, Wooden Bicycle Baskets

Curved Custom Bicycle Crate Rack

Spotted near College Street and Dovercourt, a pair of bicycles with stunning most likely custom and handmade wooden crate baskets. The one pictured above had a curved bottom, which may help keep round objects from rolling around. Really dig the cut outs and the large size of both of these.

Round bottom wooden create bicycle basket

Square wooden crate bicycle basket

Square wooden crate bicycle basket with round holes

If anyone has any information on who made these, please share it in the comments below. I really like just how sturdy these looked, mine is starting to fail the test of time.

Elsewhere Observed: Cycling in Peru

Machu PicchuOver two spectacular weeks, my girlfriend and I traveled through Peru. From Spanish Colonial churches perched upon Inca ruins to winding dirt roads connecting tour groups and local farmers, Peru is both modern and firmly rooted in history.

While two weeks isn’t long enough to truly capture and understand how Peruvians use bicycles, evidence of their use is around every corner.

Narrow, cobblestone roads, pushy drivers and plenty of hills in Arequipa and Cusco meant that not many locals used a bicycle as primary transportation.

Independent mini bus companies and low-priced taxi services (at least for tourists) carry office workers, school children and anyone in between to and from work and school.

While we did see quite a few personal vehicles, the city streets are dominated by mini taxis, mini buses, massive tour buses, delivery vehicles and motorcycles. Stop signs are almost always optional, street lights are few and far between and the pedestrian never has the right of way. More often than not I’d encounter tourists stranded at intersections, watching on as locals quickly jumped and ducked around whizzing cabs. Young and old, you have to be aware of your surroundings on the streets of Arequipa and Cusco. While this felt exceptionally dangerous, I never did see a collision, but as I said, two weeks isn’t nearly enough time to truly understand how this traffic situation works.

Lima, Peru’s capital and largest city, was our flight hub to and from the country. We spent just a few hours here and it was our first encounter with non-stop rushing Peruvian traffic. Our taxi from the airport took us along a developing portion of Lima’s shoreline. Amidst piles of dirt, soccer fields, a long bicycle and pedestrian path and other public spaces are slowly taking shape.

In the neighbourhood of Miraflores, we encountered one piece of urban cycling infrastructure, a coloured portion of sidewalk for cyclists. This was the first and last time we’d find cycling infrastructure in Peru:

Lima Bike Path

From Lima we flew to Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city:

Taxi Arequipa

The streets here are simply swarming with small taxis like the Daewoo pictured above. However, being Peru’s second largest city and a major tourist hub connecting to nearby volcanoes and the stunning Colca Canyon, there’s also a pedestrian-only street lined with shops and restaurants (don’t let the Scotiabank fool you, this is Arequipa, Peru):

Arequipa Pedestrian Boulevard

The majority of bicycles we saw here were to promote downhill cycling trips down nearby Misti volcano. The few we did see were always mountain bikes. This makes great sense when you see the road conditions here. In a matter of only metres you could travel bouncy dirt roads, washboard cobblestones and a smoothly paved street or two.

Bicycle Parking Arequipa

Other than the mountain bike, there is another bicycle that you’ll find in every market throughout Peru. Three-wheeled cargo bikes, or bakfiets, transport tourist tchotchkes, local produce, children and most anything else you could buy. These two were spotted in the busy market in Chivay:

Cargo Tricycles Chivay

And this one in use in Ollantaytambo:

Unloading Cargo Trike Ollantaytambo

While I was often tempted to take one of these cargo bikes for a spin, we had something else planned. The journey to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu can be made in many ways. You can sit for hours on a bumpy bus and then slow moving train. You can trek along the popular Inca Trail, camping under the stars and follow a path used hundreds of years ago. Or, you can save yourself a little money and take an alternate route through small villages. We joined Lorenzo Expeditions (Inka Jungle Trail with a “K”) for 4 days and 3 nights starting with a bike ride down a winding mountain road.

Mountain Bikes

Buses delivered our groups to the Abra de Malaga Pass, 4317m above sea level.

Abra de Malaga Pass

Our destination, accessible by winding roads, was the village of Santa Maria, 1,430m above sea level.

The Way Down

The ride is disarmingly calm, except when transport trucks and tour buses scream past you in either direction. Safety gear on this trip is required, including helmet, full gloves, shin and elbow pads and neon visibility vest:

Safety Gear and Sunshine

Glaciers nearby and a bit of clouds meant the start of this ride was pretty chilly:

Clouds Glacier Bicycle

Winding Road Down

The end, however, nearly 3 km straight down was in the jungle, which required the immediate shedding of layers:

At Rest in the Jungle

In the end, after you’ve hiked up and down mountains and followed a riverbed before reaching Machu Picchu, you’ll to find a refreshing ice cream treat, delivered by bicycle:

Ice Cream Bicycle Cusco