01 June 2008

IKEA Idea With Velorbis Bikes

Velorbis bikes for IKEA's new home transport concept
Photo: Per Wadskjaer for IKEA
IKEA of Denmark is now starting a new concept at their Danish stores. They did a bit of market research and found that roughly 25% of their customers rode their bikes to the stores or took public transport - even though most of then are located outside the cities in large commerical centres - some call them Big Box Districts - which are located outside the city centre.

In Copenhagen we have two IKEAs. One is about 10 km from the city centre, the other is about 20 km. I, myself, have made the former trip several times on my 3-speed, carrying all manner of cumbersome goods home to the nest. It's great to learn that so many other IKEA customers ride their bikes out there, too.

Doesn't surprise me, really, that so many Danes ride to such lengths for such purposes. But it is cool that IKEA respects the fact by launching a concept that celebrates the fact.

And remember kids! Cyclists make better shoppers than motorists!
Velorbis bikes for IKEA's new home transport concept
Photo: Per Wadskjaer for IKEA
IKEA has invested in Velorbis bikes, at a couple of their stores, that will pull trailers so that customers can ride home with the new purchases. Inexpensive Swedish design pulled home on bespoke Danish design. I like that.
Velorbis bikes for IKEA's new home transport concept
Photo: Per Wadskjaer for IKEA
The sign reads "Loan a bicycle & trailer". Simple enough message, really. I assume there will be a deposit, but loan means just that. Not rent. They'll test drive the concept and, if all goes well, they'll implement across the nation and then to other cycle friendly countries.
Velorbis bikes for IKEA's new home transport concept
Photo: Per Wadskjaer for IKEA
Whenever Wifealiciousness and I buy something too big for normal bike transport, we hire a van - IKEA collaborates with a transport company located in their stores - or take a taxi. It's always irritating to us that we can't get home on the bikes or the bus with large items.

Even though we don't have that much IKEA in our home, there are certain things we buy.
This is a system we will use and we're looking forward to it.

37 comments:

Erik Sandblom said...

Fantastic! Whenever I tell people about bicycling and car restrictions they tell me "Well I need a car to go to Ikea". Of course it's a classic straw man argument but this will be a lovely comeback!

Zakkaliciousness said...

Absolutely, Erik. If all goes well, the IKEA will spread the concept.

Aaron said...

I've probably missed something here but what happens once you've ridden the bike and trailer home and unloaded your stuff? Do you then have to ride the bike back to the store?

Zakkaliciousness said...

No you get to keep the bike and trailer... :-)

yes. you ride your bike out to the store - or take the bus or train - use the bike and trailer and return it - whereafter you ride home again.

will take longer, sure, but it's free, it's convienent and it is, apparantly, something that people want, if IKEA are investing in it.

i'd do it like that, without a doubt. even with 20 km etc on two wheels.

Ana Pereira said...

I need to get a trailer like that, to expand my X. :-)

jennifer said...

That is the coolest thing I've ever heard!! Our IKEAs are also in 'big box districts' and the one closest to the city of Chicago is nearly 30 miles (48 km) away so I'm not having hope of this idea coming here. Though if I were a suburban resident it *may* be a possibility if IKEA weren't completely surrounded by highways.

Still! So jealous! We recently took a trip to IKEA to buy some fabric so I can make curtains (Looove their fabric) and it took us nearly two hours on public transport to get out there (bus, train, shuttle). We don't have a car so it was quite the drama.

Copenhaganize the planet indeed!

David Hembrow said...

It's a neat idea, but as others have pointed out you need to return the bike and trailer, which isn't entirely convenient. You really need to take your own bike and trailer.

I recently bought some stuff from our local Ikea. I say local, but it's actually 30 km away in Groningen. Still, this being the Netherlands that means riding about 150 metres at this end to get from our residential road onto the direct bike path to Groningen and then it's bike path (and a little bit of bike lane) the whole way - right into the cycle parking on the ground floor of Ikea itself. So, off I went with the BOB trailer and basket rolling along empty behind me.

While loading stuff into the trailer at Ikea, two other cyclists parking their bikes at the shop mentioned to me that they'd used their BOB trailers to do the same thing.

I came back by a longer scenic route through the countryside with a couple of mattress toppers and several other items rolling along behind me.

Apart from being fairly allergic to the idea of spending too much time in Ikea itself, it was a pleasant day out.

Zakkaliciousness said...

IKEA has loaned out car trailers for ages, too, here in Denmark.

You have to bring those back when you're done, so the concept is merely extended to bicycles.

ChrisMPLS said...

Check out this most recent post at a friends blog. He's leaving IKEA by bicycle. Notice the "Hell on Earth" monstrosity behind him that is the Mall of America. That 5 story structure on the left is for parking cars. I don't think they have bicycle parking there at all.
http://shockspital.com/blogspital/

Michael said...
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Michael said...
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Michael said...

OK - Erik, it turns out that IKEA in Brooklyn actually agrees that you can't get to IKEA by bicycle.

New York City's first IKEA is opening here in Brooklyn in about 15 days -

They list all the ways to get to the store and have interactive maps, but they don't list bicycle, even though there is a bike path that goes right to IKEA.

If only IKEA usa would learn from IKEA Denmark...

I'll be surprised if they even have bike racks at this location... I emailed to ask, and I'll update when I find out. If any of you know someone at IKEA, perhaps you can get the inside scoop...

Details are here:
http://drunkandincharge.blogspot.com/

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks for the photo, chrismpls. great to see some bike transport 'over there'.
for all the talk of Minnepolis being a bike friendly place, this is the first photo i've seen from the city!

michael: are you now branching into lobby work? :-)

I always get a kick out of landing in New York at Newark and, when taxing to the terminal there is a massive IKEA.

Fly all that way and the first thing you see is a cheap Swedish store. :-)

Erik Sandblom said...

You should link from this post to the post about how cyclists are better shoppers than motorists!

So anyway if you want to the the bike-Ikea thing, which is better: take a folding bike and take it home in the Ikea trailer, or take an ordinary bike and leave it at Ikea till you return the trailer? The left bike might feel lonely...

Zakkaliciousness said...

the bike won't be lonely... there'll be heaps of other bikes to keep it company. :-)

Michael said...

zakka - perhaps I'm taking out some pent up IKEA frustration..... darn cheap swedish couches.... grumble....mumble... grrrrr

Zakkaliciousness said...

hey... nobody is claiming IKEA products are actually GOOD. :-)

Christian From Hermansen said...

Cool blog og fantastisk indlæg. Tak for lån af indlæg;) og fortsat godt arbejde!

alcyone said...

So for those of us in CPH, which IKEA should we be heading to?

By the way, in English (unlike Danish) loan only works in one direction, and it's the other way from how you're using it. IKEA is doing the loaning, so you can't translate the sign as "loan a trailer" (as a suggestion to me, the customer). I'd be borrowing a trailer from IKEA while IKEA is loaning it to me.

Michael said...

alcyone - while you're technically correct - the phrase "loan out" has become common. As in:
"I prefer not to loan out my books."

Also, another option is lend:

"I asked for a loan."
"Will you lend me the money."

alcyone said...

michael - I don't see the relevance of your comment, since I was correcting the following statement in the blog. The sign reads "Loan a bicycle & trailer". Other ways of saying "loan" such as "loan out" or "lend" don't make the translation any more correct.

IKEA is the one doing the loaning, loaning out, or lending. I, as the customer, am doing the borrowing regardless of how you word what IKEA is doing. The translation should be "borrow a bicycle & trailer."

Michael said...

Yes yes yes... I was responding to the claim: "in English (unlike Danish) loan only works in one direction".

But yes, you're correct. If you were going to translate that into the English, it would not say "loan" - but I still prefer the phonetic-literal translation - it's more poetic - and it lends a sense of how it sounds when you hear it in Danish.

I'm a native English speaker - and don't have anywhere near as much Danish fluency as you may or as Zakkaliciousness does - so I'll defer to the author of the post to choose his translation style. I like the one he chose. : )

But, I'll admit that I have some lingering Danish in my brain. For example, when I'm thinking "Of course!" the word that actually pops into my head first is "Selvfølig!"

So, it's quite possible that when I think of the concept "borrow" - that "lån" is what comes to mind...

alcyone said...

Isn't loan out in the same direction (from owner to borrower) as loan? I guess I still don't get what you're saying. I didn't intend to get into such discussion about it, though! lol

By the way, it's selvfølgelig, though as a native English-speaker myself, I completely understand forgetting some letters in that! ;)

Also as a former Minnesota resident, I can attest to the fact that some native English-speakers do use the same verb to go in both directions, but I always heard borrow used the "wrong" way rather than loan. e.g. I'll borrow you my trailer. It always drove me nuts, though. :P

Michael said...

Having grown up in the Backwaters of Oregon - they use every verb both ways... And they even use nouns (loan) as verbs, though that one has become more common.

Wow, yes, I'm a terrible speller in both Danish and English.

But, I'm in good company. Do a quick google search for "Selvfølig" and you'll see what I mean!

Zakkaliciousness said...

In response to the which IKEA to go to in Copenhagen...

Gentofte.

kate said...

This would work well in Melbourne, Australia - our Ikea is located pretty centrally and in nice flat bike riding territory.

We went to ikea recently - and managed to fit the family & all our purchases into the Christiania bike

photo here: http://makemegreenplease.blogspot.com/2008/07/to-hell-and-back-again.html

Copenhagen said...

This is a great idea. I hope other shops are going to follow such example.

Zakkaliciousness said...

super, kate! thanks for the link

shannon said...

just stumbled on this blog (and am quite enjoying it!), but yes indeed...the IKEA in Minneapolis doesn't have bike racks/parking whatsoever (and their eyes glaze over a bit if you stop at the service counter to ask them why not...but, they have plenty of small trees to tether bikes to, so all is not lost, I guess...)

Big G said...

I wouldn't worry about coming back with the bike even if I rode there in the first place...

In Detroit you see everyone trying to cram their purchase into cars - they need to come back later with rented trucks ( or rent one from Ikea) so the return trips are not limited to Bikes!!

Craig said...

I ride my bike to Ikea here in the suburbs of Tokyo and am able to enjoy furniture shoping without owning a car. Japan has a great system of courier companies called 'Takyubin', they deliver almost anything to your home from almost any shop of size within a couple of days at most. Although this costs (not that much), it's a hell of a lot cheaper than owning a car. Another idea is to send camping supplies, tent etc from one convenience store (near your home), to another convenience store (near your destination) when on a cycling trip. The courier services have pick up and drop off at millions of locations.

amoeba said...

IIRC, it's a shame that Velorbis have chosen not to implement full chain cases on any of their bikes. At least, I failed to find a single bike model with more than a half chainguard. (the outer half)

They keep the rider's clothes clean, but the chain still gets dirty and suffers accelerated wear.

Not very sustainable.

clipping path said...

Is it- cycle/Bikes are very popular in Denmark????? :-/

safdar ali said...

Cycle bike is very popular and also so helpful.

Car Trailers For Sale

Atiqur Sumon said...

Good job Erik.

Velonavia said...

It took some time but now IKEA Västerås, Sweden gets it: http://velonavia.outsideonline.se/2012/08/23/nu-ar-ikea-ute-och-cyklar/

Jan said...

Funny, I am looking up pics of Velorbis Classic bike that I just purchased, only to find this. Awesome!