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.
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.
I want to make one similar to this one above.
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.