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Copenhagen Cargo Bikes

When you first visit Copenhagen, the first thing you'll notice after being mesmerized by the sheer number of cyclists on the roads is the eclectic kinds of bikes, especially ones that carry groceries, baggage, furniture or other people & children.  As Copenhagenize's Mikael Colville-Andersen happily points out: for many in his city, the cargo bike is equivalent to the SUV.

Thus, for this final chapter in Streetfilms' 2010 Copenhagen Triology (check here: for previous vids on bicycling & pedestrian space) we present this quirky look at some of the types of wonderful bikes that are used by the public.  We randomly spoke to folks gallavanting about town on their vehicles, attended the 2010 Danish Cargo Bike Championships, and got to speak with Hans Fogh, owner of Larry vs.Harry, a cargo bike-making specialty shop.  The result here is really just a melody of vignettes, which only ever so slightly touches on the vast cargo bike phenomenon.

But most impressive comes just over one minute in, where you will witness one of the more amazing bike feats we've ever seen on film: a father transporting four children, a bike, a half dozen bags, on what can only be described as a cargo bike plus.  It still makes us tired just watching it.


[intro music]

Claudia: [00:22] These are important as to have a car. Like I don’t have a car because I have this. If you have children, so you put your children in here or the chiller off my daughter, I put it there, or the groceries.


Mikael Colville-Andersen: [00:33] It’s a city with 40% of the population who own cars, only 40%, so it’s the way to get around. That’s why we have so many cargo bikes. This is our SUV and, you know, I have two kids, I use my cargo bike to get them around, it’s practical, I have to.


Hans Fogh: [00:47] Families with two kids in Copenhagen 25% of these families have or have been owning a cargo bike, so it’s a lot of people. It’s serious in Copenhagen, it’s not just for fun nor for the nerdy people. This is transportation.


Speaker: [01:03] That’s amazing.


Speaker: [01:08] You have one in the back as well?


Speaker: [01:11] Way back here. Oh my goodness. Good luck.


Thorbjorn: [01:27] Hello, welcome to Copenhagen. This is my cargo bike. I use it to drive my girlfriend around, she’s crazy about it, it’s absolutely wonderful. I use it to, to taxi around people in Copenhagen at night.


April Greene: [01:41] It’s extremely comfortable. I feel very safe, it’s very sturdy, lots of legroom and it’s also very comfortable because he’s got this great cushion. He said it’s an old mattress, but it feels very luxurious to me. I love it.


Hans Fogh: [01:59] We’re producing this… the cargo bike, the Bullitt. We started two and a half years ago selling the bikes and so far I guess we’ve been selling, yeah, 500 bikes. This white bike is my wife’s bike and she’s really looking good riding this bike, and that’s a major part of riding the bike.


Speaker: [02:28] That is impressive.


Claudia: [02:30] Before I came to Denmark to live, I sold my car in Mexico, and for the same money I got this bike and it has changed the way I move. I use it everyday.


[music]

Mikael Colville-Andersen: [02:48] With kids out in the summer here today, you know, they’ll buy a whole bunch of cheap bottles of water and fill up their mum’s cargo bike with ice and stand out there selling it for ten krone. We have the cocktail bike, you can send a text message to this guy and he’ll come out with mojitos and strawberry daiquiris in thermoses for you. We… there’s a newspaper bike selling tourist, you know, for a newspaper. The crepes bike where people, you know, make their pancakes for you, whatever you want, everything. And it’s just exploded. This is one of the things I love about Copenhagen is that we’re thinking new about bikes, what else, how else can we implement bikes into the city.


Speaker: [03:24] Wow.


Hans Fogh: [03:27] I was a carpenter before we started to produce bikes. For 15 years I only used cargo bikes for transportation. Logistically it was perfect. I was the first guy out there, I was the first guy home, and I was the guy with the longest vacation for the summertime cos I didn’t have to pay for the van.


Claudia: [03:43] It’s faster. It gives you a lot of independence, and I also think it’s because you also do exercise. So at the same time instead of going to a fitness, you ride your bike and you can stay in shape.


Speaker: [03:54] All set?


Speaker: [03:55] Now we’re going to race.


[music]

Ida Auken: [04:07] I’m so proud of Copenhagen and things going on like today’s cargo bike relay race.


[music]

Speaker: [04:10] What was it like to [unintelligible 04:18]?


Ida Auken: [04:19] I think it was extremely fun, but a bit tough, you know, I actually had that taste of blood in my mouth.


Hans Fogh: [04:27] I always had this vision about I sold a cargo bike to a zoo and I just had this vision about all this elephant shit that they have to carry in the cargo bike.

Transcript Divas Transcription Canada

Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Aaron

    Oh man.
    Daquaris by bike, newspapers by bike, crepes by bike, bands carried in cargo bikes. Just amazing. I love it
    you ROCK Clarence

  • http://flyinginpigeon-la.com ubrayj02

    This is one part of the bike market that is perfect for cottage-industry level local production to start up in the U.S.

    We sell Danish and Dutch cargo bikes out of our shop, but they are pricey and it's crazy to think that the good ol' US of A can't make anything that nice for just a little bit less.

    The Nihola's (and soon we'll have Christiana bikes too) we sell have been moving pretty fast this last month.

    Nobody's making a living doing only cargo bikes, but thank God that european manufacturers are leading the way with quality bikes.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/jqr Jonathan

    These are great, but I still prefer my Ahearne cycle truck because it fits in my elevator.

  • http://urbanaggression.com fyx’d

    I want a hot Parliament member!

  • Doug G.

    Required viewing for anyone who thinks increased safety and use of bikes has to come at the 100% expense of cars or that there needs to be an "us v. them" mentality as we improve things here in NYC. There are cars in the background of almost every shot of this film, it's just that in Copenhagen they are striking a nice balance between the two modes of transportation, resulting in a happier, healthier city.

  • Jen Petersen

    what was that about 'the taste of blood in my mouth'?? maybe that line could be edited out...

  • J. Mork

    Amazing fun piece!

    I was on Governor's Island yesterday, and people were having a blast riding "bike cars" all over with their families (http://www.achildgrows.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/surrey2.jpg)

    All I could think when I saw them was "I wish I could buy one of these and park it in the street in Brooklyn."

  • Shemp

    Americans have been making some of this stuff for quite a while:

    http://hpm.catoregon.org/?page_id=7

  • http://www.exhibition-service-sommer.de Alex

    What a good idea! A lot of countries could learn a lesson from Copenhagen. Many people could save a lot of money because they would not waste money for gazoline, electricity, taxes and so on.

  • Charger

    See also Haley Tricycles http://www.haleytrikes.com for US made cargo bikes.

  • Michael P Gaughan

    Great Work!!!!

  • George airday

    Great! No helmets?! No seat belts....our nanny statists clearly have taken the wrong approach to encourage biking. Time to review and learn. Let's bike!

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/thornley Andy Thornley

    Clearly one does not need a car, let alone a military-grade personnel carrier, to move one's children and groceries and family stuff around a city, these Copenhagen moms & dads are giving their kids a quality life and saving big dough. And yes, @fyx'd, I think we'd all like a hot Parliament member with a cargo bike, who wouldn't?

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/thornley Andy Thornley

    Clarence's laugh with the kids at the start is priceless . . .

  • Erik G.

    Hey, why aren't those Commie Socialst kids wearing foam hats?

  • Steve Nordquist

    There isn't a suspension beyond the tires; it is nice knowing the kids are happy wearing flight suits, but the fruit and other things.... Is Hot Parliament really carrying her own stuff this way?

  • Patrick

    I love my Bullitt! I've had it for over a year now and it totally rocks. I got Hans (depicted in the film) to ship it over and it ran about $3K -- sounds pricey I guess but I sold my second car to buy it. My other car is lucky to even get driven once a week at this point.

  • http://www.viralavatar.com viralavatar

    lived in CPH for 1 year!
    love CPH , love DK, love bikes!

  • Mary Arneson

    We rented a Winther trike (big front compartment that will hold an adult and a folding bike -- or two kids) from Baisikeli in October 2009 and rode all over Copenhagen. In the US, you can get the Bullitt cargo bike, the fastest and lightest cargo bike in the world, from Calhoun Cycle in Minneapolis. I've ridden that one, too. It's remarkably easy and maneuverable. But what I use at home in Minnesota is a Burley flatbed trailer with a big Igloo cooler on it. We go weeks at a time without driving a car. The trailer holds all the groceries we need, and I can leave it home when I bike to work. We took the trailer on a 1000-mile bike tour all the way across Wisconsin and back (with a couple loops) and had everything we needed.

  • http://simplycommuting.wordpress.com Humberto

    Cargos are nice but since one can't get these up the stairs what's the best way to lock it on the street?

  • B C

    Check out this ice cream cargo bike from Los Angeles, during lunch time at Lockheed (photographed by Ansel Adams!) It's all about the uniform.

    http://jpg1.lapl.org/00085/00085756.jpg

  • Eba Cruz

    Hi, I love your video. It's great. I running a project on cargo bikes in London

    http://cargobikeculture.blogspot.com/

  • Ismatbadal

    hello thank you

  • Grainne Watts

    Great video !! wish Dublin had something similar...

  • Prala

    Not likely, considering the taste of blood in my mouth comment. But I am sure that she is biking and carrying her own stuff by bike. And by the way, she is now our minister for the environment, and I'm sure she will do a great job.

  • http://www.filmstreaming.biz film streaming

    Be sure to visit http://www.filmstreaming.biz
    There is a lot info about Copenhagen Cargo Bikes 

  • Skygod

    Exhibition en Germany.........http://www.exhibition-service-sommer.de