07 October 2010

Crêpe Bicycles et al

Bike Vendors
I was in the city centre the other day and was quite amazed at the number of cargo bikes selling things. In this row there were two cargo bikes selling crêpes - I prefer Nutella - a bike selling bottled water and a bike preparing caramelized chestnuts. Behind me was a coffee bike and another bottled water vendor.

The rules regarding on-street vending were changed a few years back in Copenhagen, as well as the rules governing outdoor serving. The Mayor at the time, Klaus Bondam, was instrumental in this move. The idea was to bring more life to the sidewalks, squares and pedestrian streets.

The result was instant and brilliant. Cafés found it cheaper and less bureaucratic to apply for outdoor licences and you'll find tables and chairs outside cafés and bars all over town.

Street vending boomed, too. What was surprising that most of it was bicycle-based. Cargo bikes are flogging all manner of food, drinks and goods. We've blogged about the many bikes here on Copenhagenize. The cocktail bike, the newspaper bike, the coffee bikes, you name it.

The streets are alive with bicycles in more ways than one.


Will said...

This is great! It's lovely to see folks using cycles for their businesses.

Another great example of vendors using bikes is Trailhead Coffee Roasters who recently took their coffee bike on a roughly 450 mile, week-long ride through Oregon.

I'm not associated with Trailhead at all, but it was incredible to see this huge cargo bike being peddled through the country side.

portlandize.com said...

There are an increasing number of vendors starting to do this kind of thing at our farmers' markets here in Portland.

Also, we have a lot of street carts popping up around town, some of which are getting their own permanent locations (for instance, one group of carts has a whole corner lot with a fence, and the carts, mostly in old trailers, just stay there permanently). Some of the carts around town are bike-based, but even the ones that aren't are typically much easier to access on foot or by bike than they are by car, so you see a lot of bikes around them one way or another.

It's nice to see bits of street culture popping up that clearly are there because there are people riding bikes and walking (because not nearly enough people would go by car to support them).

April said...

My 4yo and I bought crèpes from a cycle vendor in Copenhagen on our last trip. We were both thrilled (Nutella and banana, please). Boston is finally getting some vendor trikes...or one, at least. Equal Exchange has a coffee trike, specially made by Metro Pedal Power, I believe.

PlebisPower said...

I ventured to China a few years ago, and in Shanghai (like New York, the creative capital if not the political power center) I too glimpsed the future of the commercial cargo bike. Two enterprising gentlemen in particular come to mind: a two-wheeled kebab vendor with a rear rack adapted as a charcoal grill; and a newspaper vendor who adapted a pannier-type rack to display papers. Genius! See here: