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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.)

Portland Farmer's Market debuts 'Produce Pedaler' cargo bike mini-mart

Friday, May 3rd, 2013
A cargo bike mini-mart debuted at Buckman
Farmer's Market yesterday.
(Photos: Portland Farmer's Market)

Portland's love of cargo bikes just took another big step. And I mean big. The folks who run Portland Farmer's Market debuted their new "Produce Pedaler" cargo bike at the Buckman market yesterday. The bike is an old-fashioned style, extra-large, classic Dutch bakfiets. It has a load capacity of 660 lbs and it's nearly 12 feet long.

The bike will travel to the eight different Portland Farmer's Markets around town throughout the season. It's set up as a mini-market and will offer vegetables and produce, flowers, and assorted goodies from market vendors. PFM Operations Director Jaret Foster says, "Having a mobile market bike has been a longtime dream. The Produce Pedaler not only creates another sales opportunity for our vendors, it’s also the perfect way to bring together Portland’s celebrated bike culture and regional bounty in a fun and memorable way. We hope this beautiful three-wheeled vehicle becomes a Portland icon..." (more...)

Popular Yuba Mundo cargo bike recalled for possible foot injuries

Friday, March 22nd, 2013
Sunday Parkways 09 -50
The Mundo longtail cargo bike, sold by Yuba Bicycles, is popular for carrying all types of cargo; especially small children.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

(more...)

Local business finds niche with cargo bike canopies

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
Cargo bike canopy from Blaq Design-11
Jeremy Neal (L) and Paul Johnson of Blaq Design
at their shop on SE 11th and Division.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

You know the local bike industry is healthy when niches are created within niches. That seems to be what's happening now in Portland's thriving cargo bike scene. Made up of advocates, builders, retailers, and buyers, our local cargo bike industry is alive and well.

Blaq Design is just one local business riding the wave.

Paul Johnson and Jeremy Neal are the men behind Blaq. They moved to Portland from Ohio back in 2010 and have been gaining a strong foothold ever since by making both stock and custom messenger bags, backpacks and other products. By 2010, Portland's cargo bike industry was already several years old and Johnson and Neal wasted no time getting involved with it. At the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show that year, they debuted an innovative fabric cargo bin created through a collaboration with Joe Bike owner Joe Doebele. (more...)

Portland's cargo bike love and expertise spreads to Texas

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
Participants in a cargo bike building
workshop in Texas led by Portland resident Tom LaBonty.
(Photos: Tom LaBonty)

There are few things I love more than to see bike culture spread. It happens so frequently, I think, because people are passionate about bicycling and they can't help but share it with others.

For southeast Portland resident Tom LaBonty, his passion is cargo bikes, and he just got back from Texas where he gave two-day workshop on how to build them. LaBonty was invited to Texas by Bike Friendly Oak Cliff (BFOC), a group of advocates based in Dallas (as part of their Cyclesomatic event). They learned about LaBonty after viewing "One Less Truck," a documentary by Portland-based filmmaker Joe Biel. (more...)

E-assist cargo bike helps farmer ditch the truck

Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Josh Volk on a delivery, riding across the St. Johns Bridge.
(Image from a video by Ryan Creason)

Josh Volk runs Slow Hand Farm, a small community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm on Sauvie Island. The soil is great out there and it's a nice place to grow veggies, but there's just one problem: It's about 15 miles from the nearest neighborhoods where his drop sites are. Josh could use a truck to make the deliveries; but instead, he uses a cargo bike.

Josh pedals the 15-18 mile from his farm plot on Sauvie Island into Portland's neighborhoods. His pedal-powered deliveries recently landed him on the cover of Oregon Small Farm News.

Volk says he's been doing all his CSA deliveries by bike since June thanks to a collaboration with Splendid Cycles in southeast Portland. Splendid is a cargo bike specialty shop and owners Joel and Barb Grover have established something of a niche in outfitting business owners. (more...)

KGW TV: "Bikes can be a lifeline" after disaster strikes

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
Screen grab of Woodlawn's cargo bike disaster response unit.
- Watch video below -

KGW TV (Portland's NBC affiliate station) ran a feature segment last night about how cargo bikes will play a role in our disaster response plans. It's a story we shared back in March, and after superstorm Sandy proved once again that bikes are the most reliable and resilient form of transportation after a major natural disaster, the story is even more timely.

"When roads are wiped out, and supplies scarce," noted KGW reporter Abbey Gibb, "bikes can be a lifeline... Cargo bikes, and bikes in general, are the simplest answer." (more...)

Introducing the 'Hydrofiets'

Friday, September 28th, 2012
The Hydrofiets-7
The Hydrofiets is an artistic and functional cargo bike.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

(more...)

Check out Sparky's Pizza's new delivery vehicle

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Another Portland business has realized the awesome role cargo bikes can play in their bottom line (and their brand/reputation). Sparky's Pizza on Belmont (they have seven other locations) now has a fully decked-out Madsen cargo bike as one of it's delivery vehicles...

And of course Sparky's is far from the only pizza joint in town that uses bikes. Old Town Pizza (a fantastic BikePortland advertiser!) uses bakfiets-style bikes to deliver pizza and beer. Pizza Schmizza has a cycle-truck at their downtown location...And I'm sure there are others.

Hat tip to our friend and cargo bike lover/promoter/advocate Ethan Jewett for finding this.

Catching up with Portland's 'Builder by Bike'

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Chris Sanderson, a general contractor who
works by bike, has had a successful first
year in business.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Back in February, I introduced you to Chris Sanderson, a licensed general contractor who runs his entire business from a cargo bike with a trailer attached. In an industry where big trucks are the norm, Chris's story stands out among Portland's growing crop of bike-based businesses. I ran into him the other day and learned he's celebrating a very successful first year in business.

Hoping to learn more about Chris's experiences, I asked him a few questions via email...

How was your first year in business?

My first year in business has been a learning experience. I never planned to be in business for myself and I have learned valuable lessons, sometimes the hard way. One thing that I did not anticipate going into this was the amount of administrative/overhead time that it takes to run a business. I am starting to learn that I need to account for the hours running the business, and adjust my rates appropriately to cover those costs. Needless to say, I am beginning to understand why contractors charge what they charge. When I first started doing this business, I was charging $20/hour, which is super cheap compared to many contractors, and now I am starting to see that I need to charge about $45-55/hour to cover my overhead costs. Some people tell me that is still super cheap, but I have the advantage of not having automobile expenses.
(more...)

A tiny house with big aspirations: Introducing the 'BikeRV'

Monday, August 13th, 2012
The BikeRV is now rolling the
streets of Portland.
(Photos: Alexander Main)

26-year-old Portland resident Alexander Main wants to change the world by building tiny houses that can be pulled behind a bicycle. And he just finished his first prototype — which is a good thing because it's also his home. Main moved here from Germany just over a month ago and set out to build what he refers to as "the first of its kind self-sustainable solar powered Bike RV Trailer!" (and yes, he's very excited about it).

The BikeRV was built to be simple and inexpensive and Main plans to publish the plans and materials list free on his BikeRV Project website. "I want people to copy it, to improve it and to use it as an inspiration to create better models," he says.

Main came to Portland with just a suitcase filled with a sleeping bag and some clothes ("I got rid of everything," he says in a video blog posted last week). Currently, he's "yardsurfing" and testing out his prototype BikeRV for the next month. (more...)

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