Cargo bikes

Welcome to our coverage of cargo bikes. From the first shipment of bakfiets to arrive on U.S. soil, to the latest trends in business and designs, we’ve covered cargo bikes since the beginning. Scroll down to browse our stories. (If you have a cargo bike story idea, please get in touch.)

First look at locally made ‘Truck Trike’ headed for NYC

by on April 25th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Truck Trike by Stites Design-3
This custom ‘Truck Trike’, made in southeast Portland by Stites Design, will soon be on the streets of Manhattan hauling Citi Bike bikes between rental stations.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

When a local bike company toils on cool projects for many years, then finally breaks through to something big, we get really excited. Such is the case with Stites Design, the southeast Portland company that has sold a custom version of their electric-assist Truck Trike to Alta Bicycle Share for use in the Citi Bike bike share system in New York City. (more…)

Domino’s Pizza now delivers by cargo trike in downtown Portland

by on April 16th, 2014 at 2:04 am

Scott Kealer of Domino’s Pizza on SW 4th Avenue
with his shop’s new vehicle.
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland’s pedal-cargo delivery scene has hit a new milestone: even Domino’s has bought a trike.

Cheap, fast and classy, cargo bikes and trikes have been in use for years from Old Town Pizza to Good Neighbor Pizzeria. Last fall, Scott Kealer did the math and decided his downtown Portland Domino’s Pizza franchise should join their ranks.

“I’ve got a corporate name on the front of the door that says ‘Domino’s,’ but it’s really my pizza shop,” said Kealer, owner of the local store on 4th Avenue near Portland State University.


The Friday Profile: Brandon Rhodes, Lents’ new bike-powered grocer

by on February 7th, 2014 at 11:33 am

Brandon Rhodes’ new business will deliver $20 in organic produce to Lents homes once a week.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

By 2020, Brandon Rhodes predicts and hopes, Lents will finally have a grocery store.

For now, it’s got him and his bike trailer.

Thirty years old, with six of them spent in the Lents intentional community he helped organize in 2008, this cussing Christian with a Ph.D in ministry is launching his first business: Rolling Oasis, a weekly produce delivery service that’s “ending the Lents food desert one bike ride at a time.”


As cargo bike business booms, Splendid Cycles will move to larger space

by on December 9th, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Splendid Cycles opening party-13
Splendid Cycles needs more room.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cargo bike-focused shop Splendid Cycles has just announced they will move locations later this month in order to double in size and keep up with growing demand.

Splendid opened in May 2010 after co-owners Joel and Barb Grover (both former employees of Bike Gallery) were bitten by the cargo bike bug. The small (1,100 square foot) shop at SE 14th and Belmont differentiated itself by focusing solely on the bikes that can carry stuff. Since then, Splendid has become the destination for the popular “Bullitt” cargo bike (imported from Danish company Larry vs Harry). Much of their business comes from assembling and shipping complete bikes throughout the country.

Barb tells us they are now the largest Bullitt dealer in the United States (they handle both wholesale and retail sales of the brand) and one of the largest Xtracycle dealers as well. “California, Florida, Connecticut, and even Alaska are a few of the cities where we have customers,“ says Barb. (more…)

From trucks to trikes: Portland Mercury now delivered with pedal power

by on October 31st, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Michael Hanchin, left, drove a Portland Mercury delivery truck for 5 years before successfully pitching the company on a plan to switch to cargo trikes in the inner west side.
(Photo © M. Andersen/BikePortland)

Michael Hanchin couldn’t take any more hours behind the wheel.

“You would never know where there’s a loading zone,” the veteran Portland Mercury delivery contractor, 42, recalled Wednesday. “I think that’s what did me in.”

Hanchin’s back ached from crawling into the bed of his truck to haul out 18-pound newspaper bundles on hands and knees. His fuel and repair costs were eating up his contract income. Sometimes, when he couldn’t find anywhere to park downtown, he’d sit behind his wheel and glare at other contractors while they ate lunch in their rigs, hogging the available space.

Then, after five years of delivering the Mercury to inner Southwest Portland every Wednesday, Hanchin had a revelation.


First look: The new NTS Works ‘2×4’ e-bike brings cargo up a notch

by on September 11th, 2013 at 8:45 am

Neal Saiki sits on the waist-high cargo bed of the new 2×4 cargo bike.
(Photos © M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Some cargo bikes, built for personal freight and boxes, are low and light. Others, built for kids and errands, are deep and sturdy.

The cargo bike Neal Saiki is about to bring to market has a new formula. It’s built to operate at the height that most of the world’s work actually gets done: approximately three feet in the air.

But for the 2×4 cargo e-bike, which Saiki showed off in Portland this week, a waist-high cargo bed is just the beginning.


Bikes help power non-profit’s fruit tree harvest

by on August 19th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Bike-powered urban fruit tree harvesters.
(Photos by Betsy Reese)

Back in May, we shared how the connection between bikes and urban trees here in Portland is so strong it’s garnered national recognition. Now there’s another tree-related non-profit that has tapped into the power of bicycles to help further their mission.

The Portland Fruit Tree Project had a “Bike-Powered Harvesting Party” on Saturday in southeast Portland. The non-profit organizes volunteers to harvest and take care of fruit trees that would otherwise be neglected. Half of the fruit goes to a local food bank (via their distribution partner Urban Gleaners) and the rest is taken home by everyone who participates in the harvest. (more…)

What to expect at the Disaster Relief Trials

by on July 12th, 2013 at 11:40 am

It’s here! The biggest event of its kind in the world.

One of the most interesting and influential bike events in Portland starts with a kickoff party tonight. The Disaster Relief Trials was first held last year at Velo Cult Bike Shop in Hollywood and since then the event has ridden a wave of interest, gotten attention from local, regional, and even national agencies, and has spawned imitators in Vancouver (BC), Seattle, Eugene, and other cities.

This year’s event features two big parties, the Trials themselves, and the “Cargo Bike Fair” — a huge gathering of cargo bikes and the people who love them. I’ll share more about what’s on tap, and highlight a few of the bikes and riders below…

Portland’s cargo bike businesses attract national media spotlight

by on July 9th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Portland’s flourishing cargo bike scene has once again made major national headlines. Over the holiday weekend, the owners of Joe Bike, B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery, and Portland Pedal Power — all local businesses that use or sell cargo bikes — were featured in articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (the top two U.S. newspapers by circulation).

On Friday (July 5th), writer Tom Vanderbilt wrote a comprehensive story about how cargo bikes have become, “the new station wagon” in America. The story prominently mentions Joe Bike owner Joe Doebele and refers to him as the country’s largest seller of the Yuba Mundo cargo bike: (more…)

From e-bikes to recumbents, Portland’s niche bike shops find success

by on July 1st, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Coventry Cycle Works-1
Coventry Cycles has found a comfortable
niche with recumbents.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

With (at least) 69 bike shops in Portland — that’s one for every two square miles, in case you’re keeping track — we’re often asked how they can all survive. The bike shop business isn’t easy; but one way to stand out in the crowd and be successful is to find a niche (or create a new one) and then develop it into a healthy market. Several Portland bike shop owners have done precisely that. And they’ve done it well.

Powered by high-touch marketing and nurtured by Portland’s seemingly bottomless love of interesting bikes, a handful of small-scale entrepreneurs have taken big risks on bike shops that fit both their personal passions and market niches that bigger companies either couldn’t serve or didn’t even know existed.

Here’s a quick take on each of three specialized Portland bike shops whose bets are paying off.