Short Haul? Forget U-Haul - Leave the Hauling to This
Photo credit Mary Ann Archambault via Sub Rosa.
This is my dining room table. This is my dining room table on a bike. This is my dining room table upside down on a special cargo trike available for rental at my neighoborhood bicycle store, Clever Cycles. While I didn't believe that my 8-foot-long dining room table could be successfully hauled 14 blocks from a local restaurant, Sub Rosa, to my house (I was prepared to schedule a large car sharing vehicle to deal with the moving chore), my partner was absolutely convinced that this cargo bike was up to the task.Perhaps if I had known more about this special Nijland trike I wouldn't have been quite so worried. The Nijland has a load capacity of 300-500 kilograms and the hardwood platform is 185 centimeters by 85 centimeters by 20 centimeters (that's 660 to 1,100 pounds of hauling capacity, and 72 inches by 33 inches by 8 inches deep, for those of us that don't think in metric.)
Hauling in the Nijland was a breeze. The trike is a fixie, in other words, move the pedals forward and you move forward, back peddle and you'll slow down and eventually go backwards. The trike's brakes are hub rear wheel brakes operated by a lever that sits under the saddle, so you reach downward to employ the brake.
Even though Portland is about as bike-friendly as you get in the U.S., you still get plenty of stares riding this baby in the streets of the city. Because of the long handlebar fixed above the cargo frame, it feels very stable when the trike is in motion.
While our family uses Zipcar and car sharing is especially desireable for those in the family that think anything over a mile is a really long way, this trike fills a need for city people that love to get into and drive cars as little as they can.
It also seemed similarly affordable to the car share rental - $20 for 4 hours for the bike rental, versus $9 approximately per hour for Zipcar).
After the success of the table, I immediately tried to push the envelope and get the Nijland for a little bit of a longer haul for the dining room chairs. However, in a place like Portland, the "comfort zone" for hauling seems to end as soon as you are around 2 miles away from your home, mostly due to the fact that as move further from home, you feel less secure in the streets. Still the Nijland was a wonderful alternative to truck hauling.
Read more on TreeHugger about cargo bikes:
Five Cool Cargo Bikes and the Return of the Long John
Electric-Assist and Cargo Bikes for the Everyday Commuter: Cycle9
Functional Elegance: The Small Haul by Frances Cycles