11 December 2008

Worksman Industrial Bicycles

Thanks to Alex in NYC for letting us know about Worksman Cycles. He was doing a bit of research about NYC's pizza delivery bikes - the ones with a box on the front - and stumbled upon this company.

Founded in 1898, Worksman Cycles call themselves the oldest bicycle manufacturer in the USA. They produce human-powered transport for industrial and recreational use and it is wonderful to see all the cargo bikes and trikes they build.

The photo above is from their Photo Gallery, featuring an IBM repairman ca. 1957 on his cargo bike.

Here's an interesting variation on the kid carrying theme. I love the cosy canopy. Worksman Cycles state on their website that "Worksman Cycles has long been known as the world-leader in Industrial Cycles (Bicycles and Tricycles)".

A bit farfetched perhaps... what is the yardstick? Most bicycles sold? The most recognisable cargo bike brand in marketing surveys? Who knows. Maybe they could follow Carlsberg's lead. Their 'Probably the Best Beer in the World...' slogan is an advertising legend.

But let's not let a bit of exageration get in the way of what it a fine fleet of industrial bikes. Ice cream tricycles with umbrella and bell options, pizza bikes, 'hot rod' trikes and even cruisers.

About the cruisers they write; "These incredibly durable Worksman Cruisers are used by all major Downhill companies in Maui with over 40,000,000 miles (that's right...40 million miles) of tough use over the past 20 years". I don't know what a Downhill company is, but that's a lot of miles.
The bike above is equipped with coaster brakes. None of those high-maintenence, cumbersome cable thingys.

This is one of their 'hot rods'. Interestingly, you'll see versions of these in Denmark but they are usually used by elderly and handicapped citizens:

It's impressive that an American bicycle company has been around since 1898 and that it survived the car boom. Perhaps their ice cream trikes - a staple feature in neighbourhoods in North America for decades - were the key to survival. The prices of their bikes and trikes seem quite affordable, too. The website has an old school charm that signals these people are more content with making their bikes than worrying about navigation and graphic design. No nonsense. Just elbow grease. Which is quite lovely.

Check out their accessories page, too. Flashing pedals, bike racks, ice cream bells, baskets and stuff.

Cargo bikes are booming all over the place. New brands are popping up and that's great. It's also great that Worksman Cycles have been around the whole time and are still making their bikes.