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Portland Pedal Power launches cargo bike enclosure sales

Posted by on May 7th, 2012 at 11:24 am

Portland Pedal Power’s cargo enclosure.

Portland Pedal Power is a local bike business that delivers food, beer and wine, groceries and other products throughout the city. Their fleet consists of Yuba Mundo longtail cargo bikes with custom made enclosures that attach to the rear racks.

The enclosures are a nifty way to hold cargo and they have a highly visible presence on the road.

In the nearly five years they’ve been in business the enclosures have gone through many iterations and design refinements. Now, after receiving many inquiries about them from other local businesses, Portland Pedal Power is selling them as a stand-alone product.

(Photos: Portland Pedal Power)

In addition to the Yuba Mundo, company founder Ken Wetherell says their enclosure is compatible with any bike that uses the Xtracycle kit or any bike built to the Xtracycle Longtail Open Standard (like the Surly Big Dummy, Sun Atlas Cargo, and many others). The enclosure is attached via Portland Pedal Power’s own “quick mount system” which Wetherell says enables one person to install or remove it in about a minute or less without tools (They’ve developed a fact sheet (PDF) with more technical details.)

For Wetherell, the goal of his company has always been to replace delivery trucks, so the evolution of the enclosure has been a focus of his business. “We wanted to create a viable alternative to gas powered vehicle based delivery,” says Wetherwell, “so we made sure that there was sufficient capacity, security and protection from the elements.”

The enclosures are made with an aluminum frame, corrugated polypropylene panels, and wooden shelves.

In addition to utility, the enclosures can turn a bike into a rolling billboard and sandwich board. If you’re interested in buying one or have questions, email info [at] portlandpedalpower [dot] com.

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Comments
  • q`Tzal May 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I need to see a video of that maneuvering in traffic, at speed and testimonials from experienced cyclists before I can dispel my irrational gut reaction that this is WAY TOO top heavy and sail like.

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    • Mickey May 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

      I was thinking the same thing, and it looks like it would be difficult to see behind that thing, also what is the weight? Most of the cargo bikes seem to have pretty weak brakes (BB7′s seem standard), and with the hills in Portland riding the brakes on a descent with a heavy load could lead to disc warping, and the rim brake equipped ones seem semi-suicidal with the rain. I guess the wind resistance of the thing could assist braking, but side gusts could be hazardous.

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  • Jenn May 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Great comments. We have been using this design for 3 years. The enclosure weighs 35 pounds and depending on what bike is used, we can load up to 220 pounds of cargo. The enclosure it self is not wider than your handlebars or shoulder so there is no rear visibility issue. With Vbrakes we have moved to a custom heavy duty built wheel from Epic Wheelworks and our new bikes are running disc BB7 Mountain. These options have worked great. Check out the video of the bike in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asDIsbKuiQw&feature=feedu

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    • q`Tzal May 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      Thank you for the video. Good demonstration.
      Half expected to see the guy with the whistle.

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    • Chris I May 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Have you thought about using composite panels for the shelving or other parts of the enclosure? Composite honeycomb panels would likely achieve the same strength at about half the weight.

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  • wsbob May 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

    It’s a nice looking design. According to the company’s fact sheet, the unit weighs 35 pounds. Information about maximum weight capacity the unit is capable of could be answered better than by saying simply: “Max load = weight capacity of host cargo bike”. 35 pounds doesn’t seem very light, but it could be the weight was a result of the type of construction needed for whatever cargo the company designed the cargo rig to carry.

    It’s a bit hard to tell from the picture’s what visibility to the rear a person pedaling a bike with this cargo rig attached to it has, but it does appear that its’ width and shape was chosen partly so the person riding would be able to look over their shoulder and see behind them.

    For better visibility to other road users, it might be good for cargo rigs with big back surface areas like this one has, to have tail lights designed for them that would be much bigger in area of illumination than standard bike tail lights are.

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  • Jim May 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I just see the $50 deposit price. What is the total cost?

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  • Shawn Small May 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Looks well designed! :)

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  • Paul Smith May 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    From Jenn’s comments they sound well thought out, and when you couple that with good looks and simple install/removal, these sound like they could become quite popular. Jenn will they be for sale out of the area too?

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  • Ken Wetherell May 7, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Hey all, thanks for the comments and questions. Shawn, LOL! Yes it is well designed! All: Shawn Small (a mechanical engineer), owner of Ruckus Components, was contracted by PPP to take our first generation, all-wood-frame prototype design and CAD drawings and turn the enclosure into the robust, aluminum, disassemble-able and ship-able version we have today. We are super happy with the result. The aluminum babies are so much nicer than their wooden predecessors. They are quieter, more solid feeling and have greater capacity. Much prettier too.

    Regarding the questions about handling, braking and visibility, I can comfortably say that looks can be deceiving. These things are quite nimble and handle amazingly well in a stiff cross-wind. Admittedly, I was also concerned about the thing behaving like a sail when I designed it. It’s simply not the case — rather, it’s fun to ride it in a cross-wind. That said, every vehicle, including every airplane, has it’s maximum cross-wind component for safe operation. It’s the same for the enclosure, and one must take into account the weight and skill of the rider. Braking? No problem, even with our early version Yuba Mundo’s with caliper brakes. While you can load a heck of a lot of weight on a Mundo, most of PPP’s operations (e.g. large food orders) take advantage of the enclosure’s high volume capacity more so than the weigh capacity.

    For some other pictures of riding position, you can see our blog post of our 104 mile ride on two of the bikes during last year’s Reach The Beach. http://www.portlandpedalpower.com/blog/?p=806

    As Jenn noted above, she has run our daily delivery and promotional operations for over three years with this design and it has proven itself to be a super productive platform.

    We are early in our go-to-market phase of the enclosure sales program, so please forgive the lack of published pricing at this time. I encourage anyone interested in one or more to email us: info at portlandpedalpower dot com for details.

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  • Ken Wetherell May 8, 2012 at 12:00 am

    One more important note: the kickstand system. The two independently adjustable legs permit parking the bike and enclosure securely on uneven ground, even on a steep side slope. This image shows the mechanism and wide stance: http://www.portlandpedalpower.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/IMG_20110521_200234.jpg

    And I forgot to ask Chris about the honeycomb panels you recommended above. Do you have a good source for that material? I would love to test this, but every honeycomb product I’ve found seems to be super expensive; often marketed to aerospace manufacturers.

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    • Chris I May 8, 2012 at 11:50 am

      It is very expensive, and I am not familiar with the supply chain, as I work for a very large aircraft company, and that is not my department.

      I think the aluminum design is a good compromise between weight and cost. Composites would be great, but they are expensive.

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  • Jenn May 8, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Thanks for the debrief Ken.

    Jim. We are offering introductory pricing in Portland. You can contact me directly jenn@portlandpedalpower.com if you are interested in purchasing. We are in works with a PSU Master’s in Finance student team to finalize our product pricing for the national launch.

    Paul. Yes we want to sell our product everywhere. :)

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  • middle of the road guy May 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

    or you could just put all of that cargo in a car.

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    • dan May 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Because the most efficient way to move 50 pounds of cargo is to put it in a 2-ton automobile…

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    • Chris I May 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Most asinine comment of the year award.

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  • Paul Smith May 8, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Awesome Jenn, I’ve got an idea. Best way to reach you?

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  • Jenn May 8, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Paul. I am available via email Jenn@portlandpedalpower.com or 503.764.1415 ext 2. ~Jenn

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  • Jake May 13, 2012 at 8:43 am

    love it! where would i get to see one inperson, test ride?

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  • Jenn May 14, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Jake,

    I would love to show you a PPP bike. We are located in inner SE. Lets set up a time to meet.

    Jenn (jenn@portlandpedalpower.com)

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