Ottawa’s Cargo Bike Scene


From what I know, there are about six, seven bakfietsen (cargo bikes) in Ottawa. It is not much, but that’s changing. The first one that comes to mind is Lana’s, who blogs extensively about her bakfiets adventures.

Lana uses her Cargo Bike nearly the whole year, except in very snowy conditions. At Christmas time, she decorates the bike with a red bow and Christmas lights.
Lana uses her Dutch Babboe cargo bike nearly the whole year, except in very snowy conditions. At Christmas time, she decorates the bike with a red bow and Christmas lights.

Ottawa cargo bikes

Another one is Joel Mulligan’s bakfiets. Joel now works in Denmark, but left his white Bullitt behind at Tall Tree Cycles. Then there is courier Gary Watson on his orange Bullitt, who you often see down town.

One of Ottawa's Bullitts in use by a courier.
One of Ottawa’s Bullitts in use by a courier.

And then there is an Old Ottawa South architect John Donkin, who owns a bakfiets (which I borrowed for a show, see further below) and the Kichissippi Beer bike, which showed up in Ottawa’s First Plaid Parade.

The Ottawa local Kichissippi beer bike must be pretty heavy when cycling uphill with a full keg on board.
The Ottawa local Kichissippi beer bike must be pretty heavy when cycling up hill with a full keg on board.
Nihola was unknown to me until I saw this one.
Nihola was unknown to me until I saw this one.

The Nihola has three wheels, which makes it much more stable, which should be great for people with balance problems.

Having fun inside the 'cargo' bike.
Having fun inside the Dutch Babboe ‘cargo’ bike at Velofest in Ottawa.

Moving stuff

I once borrowed a cargo bike for the Go Green Trade show at the Lansdowne Pavillion. My employer had a booth, promoting the Netherlands as a cycling destination. We attracted so many people and the cargo bike was a big hit. An older Austrian engineer was so intrigued that he crawled all the way underneath the bike to figure out the steering system. At the end of the show, I packed everything in the cargo bike and simply cycled away, right out of the Pavilion into the parking lot.

What a great way to move your stuff out of a trade show. I brought the vehicle in as an exhibit item.
What a great way to move your stuff out of a trade show. I brought the vehicle in as an exhibit item.

But DHL already took it a step further.

DHL bought 20 Danish Bulitt bakfietsen for city deliveries in Dutch cities.
DHL bought 20 Danish Bullitt bakfietsen for city deliveries in Dutch cities.

The Parcycle, used by DHL in several Dutch towns such as Breda, Amsterdam and Enschede [Enn-ske-day] for a while now, works well. The number of places where the parcycle is being used is growing.

Meanwhile a number of delivery vans were removed and replaced by the bakfiets. The parcycle, a combination of parcel and cycle, is a a common sight in above mentioned towns and since a few months also in the picture in the city and business centres of Delft, Amersfoort, Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen, Apeldoorn, Arnhem and Nijmegen. Around this time, Haarlem and Groningen will be added. Especially on compact urban routes of around 5 km (3 miles, give or take a few yards) the bakfiets is is more efficient. There are a total of 20 DHL parcycles now.

DHL is also using bicycle couriers with bag packs to deliver the smaller packages. Obviously, larger parcels are still delivered by van.

(source: fietsberaad)

The bakfiets should be an ideal vehicle in places like Kanata, with calm streets and relatively short distances to the grocery store for example.

Isn’t it time for an Ottawa cargo bike skills race this spring?

Sources:

DHL picture from Vogelvrije fietser, Lana’s picture from Modalmom blog, other pictures by me.

John Donkin’s website: Architecture

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Ottawa’s Cargo Bike Scene

  1. Hi!!! Do you know who owns a Nihola trike here in Ottawa????????????
    I’ve been looking for one!! Please send me an email if you have any info! Thanks!
    Ana

  2. Hans,

    May I have your permission to use some of your blog photos in future presentations? They are good examples of the active cycling community in Ottawa. I see from your citations that some are not your photos, I would not use those ones.

    Thanks in advance.

    Robert Grimwood, P.Eng.
    Senior Project Manager, Sustainable Transportation
    City of Ottawa
    (613) 580-2424 x28757
    robert.grimwood@ottawa.ca

So what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s