Category: utility

Popularizing utility cycling in Rio

Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize has a plan to mainstream the use of cargo bikes in Rio de Janeiro. He envisions a high profile event that thrills, inspires, and captures the imagination of the entire city that will raise awareness of the cargo bike delivery riders of Rio and elevate them to a position of respect.

His event? Rio de Janeiro’s first cargo bike championship, scheduled for May 2014.

Learn more about this project and how you can help at Rockethub: Rio’s First Cargo Bike Championship: History, Social Inclusion & Adrenaline.

The Strida as an example of "problem-solving" design

“More cool bicycles like the Strida folding one that could help make giving up the car that much easier?”

In a recent N.Y. Times article, writer Allison Arieff laments that industrial designers have created too many precious, useless objects and calls for a return to “problem-solving” design. The article’s spirit is right in keeping with the cycling business trend towards commuter, cruiser and cargo bikes.

Maybe one way the recession as good for design is to see it not as a form of punishment for frivolous designers but rather as an opportunity to allow for a rethinking of design itself — and the role of the designer within it.

This rethinking needs to come not just from designers but from the manufacturers, companies and other clients who decide what products and projects will be produced. There’s no excuse not to examine and re-examine what’s made, how it’s manufactured, what materials are used (and which are recyclable), what benefit it’s giving the consumer (or lack thereof) and what contribution, if any, it’s making to anything other than landfill.

A beauty from Bilenky

Arieff’s article places the bicycle industry’s reconsideration of its product lines in the context of a larger societal shift towards more sensible, practical products. Anyone who has seen the latest crop of utility bikes can agree that “The work that springs from this sort of questioning does not have to sacrifice beauty for utility, vision for practicality.”

Sour economy hits utility bicycle manufacturer

From N.Y. Times on Sunday 12/28:

Wayne Sosin is the president of Worksman Cycles in Ozone Park, Queens, a 110-year-old shop that produces heavy-duty bicycles and tricycles used in warehouses and factories. In October, a manager at the company was worried about rising costs, but confident that sales would remain strong. But orders from automakers and their suppliers have “basically dried up to nothing.”