31 March 2010

Practical and Behavourial

Picking Up The Kid
I experienced a strange little behavourial shift in myself recently. I use my two bicycles rather equally - the Velorbis and the Bullitt cargo bike. When not transporting kids, the Bullitt cargo bay is a respository for my bag. I just chuck it in, instead of having it slung around my shoulder.

I discovered that I missed this ease-of-use when riding the upright Velorbis. I stuck the bag, Copenhagen-style, on the back rack under the rat trap. Which is what I've always done and, indeed, what most people without baskets do.

Then I got a front rack put onto the Velorbis. These front racks have been a main feature for over a century, especially on Short Johns or delivery bikes/chimney sweep bikes or whatever you want to call them.

Interestingly, they're experiencing a bit of a revival these day in Copenhagen. As soon as mine was on, I noticed that I was just slapping my bag onto the front rack and securing it with a bungee cord. Super quick and easy.

Then I realised that the damned thing was much more practical than I had imagined. The other day I had to go pick up my boy at a friend's house. I just put his bike on the front rack and off I went.
Felix At Speed
And here's Felix riding home on it, which he loves to do.

The Kids Heading For School and Daycare
We only have about 450 metres to the school and the daycare so we often just walk, but now the front rack is a perfect perch for Felix, while Queen Lulu gets to sit on the 'bulldog' seat on the crossbar. They both love it.

I was actually telling Felix about how I saw lots of kids sitting on front racks in Amsterdam and he said, "Maybe if someone sees us, they'll think we're from Holland!" Poor kid doesn't realise that it wouldn't get us any street cred/dates/free beers, but the thought was nice. :-) He enjoys seeing the pictures of people riding bicycles in other countries that I bring home. I think it's important to show him the global diversity of bicycle culture, whether established or emerging.

The Felix and his Bicycle
The bicycle he's on in the pervious picture, higher up, is getting a bit small for him, but he masters it like an Apache masters his horse. This bike, above, is waiting in the wings for him. A retro Raleigh chopper. He needs about three more centimetres before I unleash him on the bike lanes.


Giffen said...

OK, ok. You are the best dad in the world.

Anonymous said...

Nice! If he doesn't want that Chopper, I'll happily take it off your hands ;)

We used to ride those around as kids here in Australia in the 80s when cycling was popular and helmets weren't. Oh, the memories!

Sadly, 99% of the Raleigh Choppers that existed here are probably now in landfill somewhere, to be dug up in 5000 years by archeologists & anthropologists. :)

I really like the way bikes for children in Europe are actually 'bikes for children' rather toys as we seem to have access to here... sadly.

Paul Martin

Green Idea Factory said...

If you get a front rack make sure it attaches to the frame, not the fork.

The lovely Chopper also features here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfD6jAoJrJg

Regarding kids and bikes, Mikael, could you refresh us on Danish law, and also if it is enforced? (I know and am happy that helmets are not required).

In Germany, on streets without separate bike paths, kids up to age 8 have to cycle on the pavement (sidewalk), and up to age 10 they still have the option.

I would prefer that there was no minimum.

Edward said...

I also had a Raleigh Chopper in the 70s and 80s. Brilliant bike. I see though they have unfortunately taken away the brilliant 3 speed gear stick off the cross bar. It was like an aeroplane's throttle.

Anonymous said...

That looks like one of the reissue Choppers. They are great little bikes but beware of problems with the Chinese aluminum frame, I rode one hard for two years and the seat tube finally broke at the weak point - where it extends unreinforced above the top tube. (Of course, I'm not a child, I'm a 6'1" 180lb. adult). Maybe you can donate the old bike to the ZooBomb pyle when your son is done with it.

tensaimon said...

I want a front rack for my mundo, for that convenience of 'throw it on and go', even panniers are a little slower and more inconvenient than that.

Saw this recently:


and now I want one for my mundo (overkill???), I have a welder friend that can do it, tho' it'll make a mess of the paintwork....

William said...


Until Mikael replies, maybe I can help a bit. My information might even not be wrong. Who knows.

Basically, there aren't many special rules for bikes. The text between the two cursives in this text is the "Special rules for bicycles". It might not be understandable, but the volume gives you an idea, I hope.

In regards to age, kids under the age of 6, must be accompanied by another person of at least 15 years of age.

However, and this is not cycle-specific: Special care must be shown towards [..] kids [..] and those impeded in traffic.

You're allowed to cross the sidewalk without dismounting, but actual traffic on the sidewalk is only permitted where the Minister of Justice has declared a portion of the sidewalk to be usable by bikes. This is not really enforced. Plenty of places that are 'pedestrians only' are also used by cycles, and I've never seen anyone care enough to do anything. It is of course also a matter of mutual respect.

Peter said...

How is that front rack so strong that it can carry your boy? Is it partially supported by the frame somehow?

I think one reason you are seeing more things like front racks on upright bikes is that the stats seem to be indicating more trips by bike in Copenhagen. So I'm guessing people are doing more shopping trips, etc. by bike and need more luggage space.

"Practical jokes are like regular jokes, only with panniers."

jb said...


Not sure if you'll see this as it's on an old post, but I'll give it a try.

I just got my Scrap Deluxe from Velorbis. I ordered the front rack, but Kenneth forgot to move the light down to the fork. I was wondering if you have any close up pics of the lower mounting of the light on the fork, as well as a closeup of the mounting of the rack to the frame. I think I have all the parts, I just need to see how they attach! Kenneth and the shop are all on holiday.

I'm ready to spread some style around Boston with my swanky Danish Bike! I promise that no helmets will ever be worn on this bike!