Is a Cargo Bike In My Future

I was reading the following article earlier today and wondered if just like families I might find a cargo bike in my future.  Head over to read the article on the NYTimes, see some of it below.

Dave Hoverman and his wife, Abby Smith, in Berkeley, Calif., with their cargo bike, which can hold all four children.CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

When Dave Hoverman, 38, a business strategy consultant in Berkeley, Calif., goes to Costco on the weekends, he ditches his Audi Q7 and instead loads his four children into a Cetma cargo bike with a trailer hitched to the rear.

“We do all sorts of errands on the bike,” Mr. Hoverman said. “We try not to get in the car all weekend.”

Mr. Hoverman is among a growing contingent of eco-minded and health-conscious urban parents who are leaving their car keys at home and relying on high-capacity cargo bikes for family transportation.

Cargo bikes initially catered to the “hard-core D.I.Y. crowd — people who wanted to carry around really large objects like surfboards or big speakers or kayaks,” said Evan Lovett-Harris, the marketing director for Xtracycle, a company in Oakland, Calif., that introduced its first family-oriented cargo model, the EdgeRunner, in 2012. Cargo bikes, he said, now account for the largest proportion of the company’s sales.

“When we first started selling these bikes 15 years ago, we were the total freako weirdos,” said Ross Evans, the company’s founder. “Back then, a basket on your handlebars was considered fringe.”

These days, cargo bikes are no longer a novelty: They are cropping up not just in the expected West Coast enclaves like Seattle, Portland and the Bay Area, but in cities like New Haven, Tucson and Dallas. “It used to be that if I saw somebody in Boston on a cargo bike, I probably knew them and probably helped them buy their bicycle,” said Nathan Vierling-Claassen, who has ridden a cargo bike since 2008. “Now that’s no longer the case.”

Cargo bikes are also popular in Washington. Jon Renaut, 37, a software engineer at the Department of Homeland Security, said that he is one of more than a dozen parents at his children’s elementary school who commute to school and work by cargo bike. “There have been only two days this whole school year — when it was really, really snowy out — that we left the bike at home,” Mr. Renaut said. What helps keep his 4- and 6-year-old daughters warm, he said, is to have them face backward while riding.

The popularity of cargo bikes has given rise to more variety. Cargo bikes come in two main types: longtails, which look like a regular bike with a large rack extended over the rear wheel, and the Dutch-style bakfiets, which has a cargo box mounted in front of the handlebars. While longtails are considerably cheaper (a Yuba Mundo starts at $1,300), bakfiets (which start at about $3,000) can generally hold more.

“The thing I love about cargo bikes these days is that there is such an amazing selection,” said Shane MacRhodes, 43, who manages a school transportation program in Eugene, Ore. “People are finding bikes that really fit their lifestyle. Some people like the sturdiness of a Yuba Mundo, and some people like the sporty zippy ones. It’s almost like the S.U.V. versus the sports wagon.”

$20 Recyclable Cardboard Bicycle Is Now A Reality

A version of this story originally appeared on NoCamels – Israeli Environment News

By NoCamels Teamcardbike05-460x250

What started as the vision of a self-proclaimed bike freak — the mass-production of bicycles made entirely from recycled materials — is rapidly becoming a reality. And one amazing success story. After we reported on 50-year-old Izhar Gafni’s cardboardbikes, media outlets around the world followed suit.

After four years of perfecting the bicycle, it is about to be mass-produced and sold for $20 apiece.

“I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard’s weak structural points,” Gafni told Reuters.

Gafni’s bike is not only durable, but it is water and fire proof, thanks to a secret blend of organic materials he coats the bike with. The bike’s entire frame is made of recycled cardboard, folded in a specific way that makes it durable. The tires are made from rubber, produced from used car tires.

Although some of the prototype’s parts are made of metal, Gafni assures that the mass-produced model will be made entirely of recycled materials: “I’m repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is, it is amazing. Once we are ready to go into production, the bike will have no metal parts at all,” he said.

According to Gafni and his business partner, Nimrod Elmish, a veteran player in the Israeli startup and investment scene, the bicycle is not just a good replacement for contemporary bicycles, but in many ways – it is actually better. The rubber used for the tires is condensed, rather than inflated, so it cannot puncture and should last up to 10 years. Moreover, the bike doesn’t use a standard chain: “These bikes need no maintenance and no adjustment, a car timing belt is used instead of a chain,” Elmish told to Reuters.

Production expected to begin within six months

After receiving worldwide exposure, Gafni is confident in the success of his eco-friendly bike: “When we started, a year and a half or two years ago, people laughed at us, but now we are getting at least a dozen e-mails every day asking where they can buy such a bicycle, so this really makes me hopeful that we will succeed,” he said.

Within months, Gafni and Elmish say, mass-production of three different models for the bike – and even a cardboard wheelchair – will begin. “In six months, we will have completed planning the first production lines for an urban bike which will be assisted by an electric motor, a youth bike which will be a 2/3 size model for children in Africa, a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride, and a wheelchair that a non-profit organization wants to build with our technology for Africa,” Elmish told Reuters.

Flywheel Bicycle

Maxwell von Stein, a 22-year-old graduate of The Cooper Union, built bicycle that uses a flywheel to store energy. Instead of braking, Max can transfer energy from the wheel to the flywheel, which spins between the crossbars. The flywheel stores the kinetic energy until Max wants a boost, then he can transfer the energy back to the wheel using a shifter on the handlebars. En Español. (Credits: production, filming: ian chant, aleszu bajak, flora lichtman. music: prelinger archives. additional images: Maxwell von Stein. ) Viewed 59748 times. See More Videos

Maxwell von Stein’s bicycle invention uses a flywheel to store energy. Instead of braking, he can slow the bicycle by transferring the kinetic energy from back wheel into the flywheel–which spins between the bars of the frame. Then Max can send the flywheel energy back to the wheel when he wants a boost.