why aren’t all bikes like this ?

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On the streets of India and China these types of bike are common place. Cheap utility vehicle options are born more out of economic reason rather than an ethical or environmental one, thats understandable but why have we not adopted the same route?

I must admit I’m a bit bias because I love these things, but also I can’t see why more bikes arn’t built this way over the conventional bicycle style. I want to see a larger range of utility bikes on the market at affordable prices. It’s not just that there useful the environmental impact speaks for itself. Being a non car person I still often have to rely on car owners to move anything bigger than what will fit in a rucksack, which is very annoying but one of these would make life much easier as well as giving me back a sense of independence.

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What bothers me most is that it’s probably the western fear of looking odd. The last thing most people want to do is stand out. How many times have you heard people say “I’m not walking down the street carrying that!”

I know you can get trailers and panniers for conventional cycles, which from a permaculture point of view I have to say is better than having to scrap an old bike for a new one but I want custom built utility cycles to replace conventional cycles. I’m sure the environmental impact would be staggering. I know that I don’t go shopping on my bike for two reasons, one is that everything on my bike is quick release so it’s easy to pinch bit’s off it even when it’s chained up. Two I’ve nowhere to put my shopping! A trike with a box on the front would solve all my worries and it would’nt fall over!!

Here are the ones I like that are on the market at present. I’ve not posted links as this is not an advertisement.

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I want to make one similar to this one above.
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The main hurdle at present is that they are on offer but not at an affordable price, most start at the £1000 mark! The solution then is to customize existing bikes to what you need. Last month I was given a lift through the centre of london on a customized bike. It had a seat on the front which could also double as a box and a smaller seat at the back, so you could have two passengers. I’m in the process of doing this myself, any tips are welcome and I’ll post the results, even if they are a shambles!!. I see so many scrap cycles just dumped and they are always going on freecycle.

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8 thoughts on “why aren’t all bikes like this ?

  1. Stonehead says:

    I ride a Winther Kangaroo bike and blog about our experiences fairly frequently.

    In some ways, it was expensive (bike, lights, helmets, reflectors etc cost £2,000 all in) but we sold our Land Rover Discovery to pay for it. The Kangaroo needs regular servicing and we have insurance, but it costs about £20 a month to run compared with £250 a month for the Discovery.

    It’s also much more environmentally friendly, much more child friendly, and it’s powered by oatmeal!

  2. dibnah says:

    I can see that, and you have my upmost respect for using it up there in the wilds of scotland, especially with all those wild haggis about!!

    I wish I could have posted all the photo’s I’ve got saved of different styles but it would crash the system.

    here are some interesting ones

    http://www.kk.org/streetuse/archives/bikestrikes/
    http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=8721
    http://www.tricycleassociation.org.uk/CommercialTricycles.html

  3. I am surprised you did not include the very awesome Xtracycle. I won’t impose a link on your blog, because this is not an advertisement 😉

    Since I myself am not interested in contributing to the fancification ($$) of bicycles, I daydream about someday having just a completely old-fashioned tricycle with a big wire basket in the back. And red, because it will be faster that way. 😀

  4. dibnah says:

    Yes red is faster.

  5. honeywine says:

    I thought the same thing when I first saw a Segway. The old technology still works and with just a few tweaks could be very profitable and environmentally sound (even if you electrified it or made it a bio-fueled moped). Some of those American Chopper fans could turn this into their own and make a fortune. When my husband and I lived on an Army base in a city situation, he used nothing but a bicycle and the occasional carpool. Unfortunately, we’re 35 miles from civilization now, and a car is essential (though we share it with my family to reduce costs). 😦

  6. Angela says:

    You may have already looked into this and may have decided against it, but if you need to move larger things, why not use a child carrier? http://www.chariotcarriers.com/

    These can be a little expensive at first, but they come with a lifetime warranty. This way you can hook it up and unhook it whenever you need to. I believe they hold up to 100 pounds.

    🙂

  7. ianbolton says:

    I’ve been looking for a bike for a while now and they all seem a bit too fancy and branded. Why can’t you just get a good old fashion push iron? These three wheeled versions are brilliant though and far more convenient than the two wheeled variety.

  8. dottyspots says:

    I would absolutely love a trike that I could sit my younger children on. I’ve coveted one for quite some time!

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