Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cleverchimp -- Good Stuff.

This is one of many super cool bikes on the Cleverchimp Flikr site from a trip to Holland. I am such a sucker for curvy cantilevered frames.

As I click through these wonderful load-hauling bikes I am inspired to think there is a society in the world today that spends so much money and thought on designing and manufacturing bikes that are optimized for load hauling and people carrying.

Aside from the obvious load-carrying capacity, there are lots of reasons these bikes rule. These bikes really can replace a car. They have integrated lights, fenders, simple lock. Many have covered passenger areas where kids can sit, strapped into the front where the view is the best.

Aside from well-baked-into-the-culture bike infrastructure of Holland, the flatness makes riding these big ass bikes accessible to most who live there.

However, even with a low-geared internal 8 speed hub or a super-fly Rohloff, pushing such a bike loaded with a couple kids and groceries up the south hill of Spokane would be a chore.
The folks at Cleverchimp, have developed a rechargeable pedal-assist motor specifically for load-hauling bikes. It's called the Stokemonkey and could be the answer to getting rid of at least one of your cars. In addition, Cleverchimp has started importing these wonderful load haulers, called bakfiets.

There's no doubt that these will be expensive packages. They are well-designed products from a country where likely all of the folks involved in the production of the bike are making a living wage and full benefits provided in large part by the payroll taxes they generate. So, you're paying much closer to the true cost, which is rare in the bike world. My guess, with a Stokemonkey and a decked-out Holland load-carrying beauty, you'll be in the $4-5k range.

But that's money well-spent in my book.

Here's a great photo and ride if you're in Seattle tomorrow and happen to have your cargo bike.

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