31 March 2010

Briefcase Hooks on Back Racks - Design Details

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A while ago... I'm guessing over a year and a half... I recall a reader emailing me with a request for a post about a bicycle culture tiny detail in Copenhagen. The little hook thingy found on most back racks. It's a practical solution to a question that arose about a century ago. How to transport your briefcase on your bicycle?

While I'm quite sure this isn't a uniquely Danish thing, it does however seem to live on more in Denmark than elsewhere. The Dutch evolved a culture for using pannier bags while the Danes preferred the basket. Not many men used a basket and for the better part of a century, briefcases were what men carted around. In the style of the one in the above photo. Soft leather.

Widespread use of these briefcases - I'm making a qualified guess here - faded away in the late 1960's. When the grassroots movement to reinstate the bicycle on the urban landscape started in the mid-70's it was borne, by and large, by the flower power culture of the 1960's and the briefcase was something for 'businessmen'.

Anyway, these briefcase hooks are still widespread. I had a look at the bicycles in the four bike sheds the people in our buildings use and there were many back racks with hooks. I've been seen to use them when transporting diapers home from the supermarket.

Back Rack With Hook
Here's my bicycle, the Velorbis, with the back rack hook thing. A little metal pin, which rises up when you lift the rat trap, holds the strap of the briefcase, or whatever you're carrying, in place.

A simple little design addition from Bicycle Culture 1.0 carried on well into Bicycle Culture 2.0.

14 comments:

blighty rider said...

That is the first time I've seen those type of hooks on a rack. I assumed, until now, that the briefcases were just tied on with a bungee.

Ed said...

Been looking high and low for these things. Would love a tip if anyone knows where to buy one

Kim said...

These wee details are great :-)

Anonymous said...

those would be great for handbags or laptop bags.

SC said...

Where do you get them?

SUS said...

So that's what the thing is for?! I've been wondering for ages!

// Line Love

Mikael said...

I found online here, in Danish, for €23.49. Says it's for Raleigh bikes, but hey.
http://www.cykelbutikken.eu/product.asp?product=2676

Anonymous said...

Here is another stylish solution :)

http://cyclechic.blog.hu/2010/03/01/korunk_rocksztarja_az_oltonyos_biciklis

Frits B said...

One reason for which this hook might not have been adopted in Holland might be that it is rather uncomfortable for passengers. We used to have some kind of giant safety pin instead, or hooked the briefcase over the top tube. Both methods made things less easy for thieves, too. And then of course the soft leather briefcases were replaced by rigid plastic ones which fitted nicely in panniers.

Anonymous said...

Ed - big metal curtain hooks (like the ones you get in Ikea for about the price of a cuppa) are the one-minute solution: they'll make any size or type of bag into an instant on-off pannier.

Open up the small end slightly with pliers, drop it over the side of your rack and pinch it shut.

(Looks fierce, yet it's harmless to passers-by; passengers can always fold them up-and-over into the rack, where they sit flat with hooky-biy happily hidden.)

A couple or three spaced along the rack takes anything from a small handbag or a briefcase to a sports bag, airline carry-on bag or massive shoppers.

Most bags have little mtal hoops that fasten the handles onto the bag; just hook on there. (You can tidy long handles under the spring snap if you need to.)

For big grocery shoppers, beach-bags etc, punch some eyelets/grommets around the edge of the bag.

Big curtain hooks = no mess, no fuss, no expense, no weight, nothing nickable left on the bike.

Anonymous said...

The Ikea black "kroken" hook is what I used: its diameter / gauge is about the same as the other bits of the rack shown in Mikael's close-up photo - it's basically made of the same stuff.

Anneke said...

In the Netherlands I often see a similar thing, in that it has the same function. It looks different, people attach a metal rack fitted for their suitcase in stead of a pannier on the side of their bikes. It's angled so that the suitcase stays in perfectly. Often people attach a bungee cord as well, but just as often I see just the rack. I tried to find a picture of it, but I couldn't find one, sorry.

oem hook said...

For big grocery shoppers, beach-bags etc, punch some eyelets/grommets around the edge of the bag.

Medyum said...

That is the first time I've seen those type of hooks on a rack. I assumed, until now, that the briefcases were just tied on with a bungee.