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Bakfiets shipment arrives, sightings begin

Posted by on January 30th, 2007 at 8:17 am

[Bakfietsen. They’re here.]
Photo: Clever Cycles

Todd and Dean of Clever Cycles must be giddy with excitement. Their much-anticipated first shipment of Bakfietsen (Dutch for “box bikes”) have arrived!

Soon, Portland will be crawling with these cool bikes and people will embrace the function, fashion and utility that many families in Amsterdam have already discovered.

It was last August when I reported my first sighting and now I’ve already heard of at least two more.

[Pizza delivery, Portland style.]
Photo: Tom Rolf

Tom Rolf was walking his dog a few days ago when he noticed that Old Town Pizza is using one to deliver pies in downtown Portland.

[You’d be smiling too.]

And “bikey mama” Carie Folz of North Portland was seen at Breakfast on the Bridges last Friday pedaling her new, gorgeous red bakfiets full of pastries, coffee, and her three year-old son Cody. Here’s a photo of Alan Folz and Cody during their test ride back in November.

Portland will never be the same.

For the latest and greatest in bakfiets news, stay tuned to the Clever Cycles website, Todd Fahrner’s blog and Richard Wilson’s Bakfiets Blog.

[I recently spent a week with a bakfiets outfitted with Todd’s Stokemonkey kit. Stay tuned for photos and a review. For now, check out my archive of bakfiets coverage.]

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  • Dan January 30, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Glad to see a growing interest in cargo/utility bikes in PDX, but it’s curious that there seems to be little awareness of HPM in Eugene, and their ‘Long Haul’ cargo bike (and other products). Check out

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  • "the other" steph January 30, 2007 at 8:43 am

    one of the most luminous, whimsical posts to date! looking forward to fleeting sights and, given a little time, sights of fleets.

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  • IP January 30, 2007 at 9:23 am

    How much? How much? How much?

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  • bikey Mama carie January 30, 2007 at 9:34 am

    How much IP, well there’s a new price option-
    get your ticket to BTA Alice awards and get in on the auction action!!! A bakfiet will be auctioned off then!
    Good Luck and get out to support the BTA.
    I’ve had great times at the Alice awards banquets.

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  • Jonathon Severdia January 30, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Saw my first bakfiets parked outside the Goodwill on Broadway a few days ago, same Goodwill where oddly enough, I ran into Mr. Maus himself this weekend. That store is chock full of all manner of good bike energy; I got my sister an excellent condition Trek 850 there for $29.95, then it turned out the cranks were recalled, then Citybikes sent them to Shimano and I got a new crank, bottom bracket, front derailleur, and chain, all free!

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  • James Starmer January 30, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Maybe I’m overly concerned with safety but why is it that dad is the only one with a helmet in the picture? I don’t think that ill rickshaw bubble provides much protection in a collision.

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  • enginerd January 30, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    There’s a fellow out in Tigard with one. I think he brought it with him from Holland. He uses it to do his groceries and tours with his kids.

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  • Mark Johnson January 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Don’t forget that our friends up north (jorg&olif – Vancouver BC) also sell Dutch bikes (including bakfiets) into the Portland market:

    In fact sources tell me that the Portland Ace Hotel will soon have a fleet of jorg&olif’s finest.

    Amsterdam here we come!

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  • griffin January 30, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    For those who dont manage to buy one at the auction, how much, and when can we start shopping at Clever Cycles??

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  • Bill January 30, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    How do you pronounce Bakfiets ?

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  • Dee January 31, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Not to beat a dead horse here but Stumpy Bob has had one (actually three) of these things for years. Granted they are the more industrial “long hauls” from Eugene. He has been hitting the bike moves and paying his rent moving crap around for a long time on one of these things.

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  • Todd from vancouver January 31, 2007 at 1:23 am

    It is “baak-feets”.

    As for the earlier post on why bakfiets and not CAT bike…a good question.

    I have access to both types of bikes at work and home … they focus on their specialized roles very well but are still different enough to be less successful at other roles. The CAT bike is nice and fast with better gearing options – good for light cargo deliveries. The bakfeits is a good stable human cargo bike. Solid enough for kids to climb on and to leave out in the rain in the winter (common in Amsterdam) if there is no garage. I would not do this to our CAT bike. And could you place 3 kids in a CAT bike…doubtful.

    The other issue used to be delivery time. CAT used to take forever…but perhaps this is not the issue it was. Either way…it should be as easy to buy a cargo bike as a pick up a truck…just walk into a dealership and ride home with one. (Where is the PDC or other local economic investment to ramp up local production of freight bikes here in Portland…Freightliner Trucks are so 20th Century…how about reinvesting the Federal retraining funds for the laid off Freightliner staff to build bakfietsen and the tram (streetcar or sky tram).)

    Now only if we could get bike insurance (like in the NL) and ‘your job as credit’ on a good bakfiets…then the tide would be turning.

    So who in Portland is going to step up and start stocking CAT freight bikes up here…why does one have to drive a car to Eugene to buy such a bike. It is such the pain in the butt to go down there.

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  • Dean Mullin
    Dean Mullin January 31, 2007 at 6:43 am

    Regarding the CAT freight bikes in Portland. We have asked HPM in Eugene if we could stock some of their freight bikes at Clever Cycles. We are still awaiting a response.

    As for when can you start shopping at Clever Cycles… although our retail location will be open in the spring, we do have some bakfietsen in our warehouse that are available now. Test rides are taking place daily on an appointment basis. Just call or email to let us know when you can stop by to take a bakfiets for a spin.

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  • beth January 31, 2007 at 8:56 am

    Right on, Dee: “Stumpy Bob” (!?) was my roomie back when the earth cooled and he was still pondering the move to a career as a bike messenger. When he got his first cargo bike he was like a little kid on Christmas morning. Odd, cool, funky bikes can do that for you.
    I want a cargo bike in the worst way. But first I need a garage…

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  • todd January 31, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Concerning the need for a garage, these bikes are designed to live outdoors year-round, as they do in the rainy Netherlands. The marine plywood box might not make it decades outside, nor will a B-66, but drum brakes and a full chaincase with hub gearing gets you something. The wheel lock, weight and bulk makes it hard to steal even if you cut an auxiliary chain, and of course they’re rather conspicuous. I can think of a better use for those horse tie-up rings on the curbs than tying up toy horses.

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  • Todd from vancouver February 6, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    As for storing a bakfiets outside over the winter…you should also use a seat cover (saddle condom) for a Brooks, use a bed cover, keep the bike away from trees/ dirt, use the front bench seat to keep rain from pooling on the bed cover, and tilt the bike a bit so an moisture runs out of the bed’s drain holes – if it gets inside (it should not).

    At worst it will get ‘dirty’, oxidize the rubber, minor rust on non stainless bolts, and may be ice might form in the brake cable.

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  • Scott Mizee February 6, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    The question of price has come up several times. Is this a negotiable item? …or is there a price list available? I know what Dan (Sorger) was selling them for but I haven’t heard the Clever Cycles price…

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  • todd February 8, 2007 at 11:06 am

    $2.5K, Scott. The price is easier to understand from in the saddle, so to speak, and in the context of a shop dedicated to supporting their use. Spring, 1516 SE 9th @Hawthorne, across from the Lucky Lab.

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  • Dabby February 8, 2007 at 11:30 am

    If the horse is dead, why do you feel the need to beat it? (just kidding)

    I will once again call for american mad
    cargos to be represented right along side dutch ones.
    This is a challenge.
    I want to go into a shop and see american made cargo’s.
    Think of the money you could save on shipping.
    Could just ride them up from Eugene…

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  • todd February 8, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    And I challenge Dabby to buy an American-made cargo bike, as I have, before knocking our commitment to local industry by failing to procure these bikes for his viewing pleasure. Further I challenge HPM in Eugene to respond to our inquiries about displaying their bikes in our shop, about possible design collaboration, etc.

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  • Todd B April 30, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    How about organizing a Pedal Palooza event for bakfiets owners riders and future owners?

    Join the parade or visit to the new bakfiets shop?

    Remember that 1 May is the deadline for the print calendar.

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  • […] we’ve seen in bicycling. For instance, when the folks who now run the shop Clever Cycles imported their first container of Dutch bakfiets cargo bikes to Portland in 2007, that set off the family bike revolution here. A lot of people were ready to […]

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  • Josh G September 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    This reminds me of the old days of Portland or any other harbor city where a shipment could be big news!

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