Local Heart, Global Soul

July 8, 2009

Peddle Power People Carriers, the Bakfiets…

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Elsewhere they are known as “cargo bikes”, “work bikes”, “transport bikes” … but in The Netherlands we call them “Bakfiets”. These wonderful three wheeled bicycles started out approximately a hundred years ago as essential, economical and practical daily transport for tradesmen, grocers and merchants who had heavy loads to shift ,down narrow, often cobbled city streets. Two early versions were the most common, one called the “ Long John” and the other called the “ Short John”.

In Denmark they call them ‘ladcyklen’ or “Christiania Bikes”. These bikes come in many different varieties and these are a perfect alternative to a SUV or a second car, to cater to the school or daycare run if you have young children who need transporting and/or groceries that need carting home from the supermarket.

Here in The Netherlands, although they are considerably more expensive outlay compared to the usual single seater bike with a child seat attached, they are proving far more versatile than a single bike when more than one child needs transporting, are steadily gaining in popularity, are remarkably maneuverable and easy to ride and in my eyes at least: are little gems of beautiful and functional design and engineering that are delightful to look at.

In fact, I have started a small collection of bakfiets photos….

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

Bakfiets (photo © kiwidutch)

I hope to add more photos to my collection of these quirky but graceful little vehicles…. watch this space.

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