Freight bikes started out, unsurprisingly, as a way for tradesmen to easily transport their goods around without the need for a horse, or to pull the carts themselves. Originally, they would simply be ordinary bikes with large carriers attached at either the front or the back. It wasn’t long, though, before bicycle manufacturers began to manufacture specially designed freight bikes that were just the thing that businesses needed.
Freight bikes were particularly popular in Copenhagen during World War II, when King Christian X would ride through the streets without a guard of soldiers, to provide some much-needed morale to citizens. However, he did have an unofficial guard, in the form of freight bike messengers from the Achilleus company. (Source: Copenhagenize)
As the twentieth century rolled on, and motorised transport became more accessible to the average consumer, freight bikes fell out of fashion in Europe and America. However, elsewhere in the world, and particularly in Asian countries, they remained a popular choice for people who needed to get goods from A to B cheaply. In recent years, though, they have started to make a comeback, as people in the West start to adopt more eco-friendly lifestyles. They are a fantastic way of getting the job done in a more environmentally friendly way, and you’ll now find that plenty of people have adopted this greener method of transport.
Our take on the cargo bike is of course the Sidecar Bike. And we are happy to tell you that the first one-off project has reached our friend Jeremy in the UK:
Leather saddles have a ton of advantages over synthetic materials – they form to your anatomy, they get more comfortable with time, and if maintained well, they last forever and only look better as time passes. At the same time, if not looked after at all they might start cracking and loose their colour and character. Looking around Copenhagen shows you both ends of this line, the beauties and the beasts. No-one does leather better than Brooks, so we will share 4 easy ways of making your saddlle last a lifetime.
Give it some grease – Even if you keep your bike indoors, never ride in the rain and only wear velvet pants, leather will have its natural wear. The saddle on the picture is a year old B17 that I’ve ridden in all sorts of weather almost daily. As you see, it is starting to look like someone rubbed sandpaper over the edges, this is to be expected. Easy medication against it is to take a piece of (clean) cloth and some leather fat. Brooks tells you to only use their saddle polish, but anything will do as long as it is natural and doesn’t have chemicals in it. Personally I would suggest bee’s wax, you can use it for saddle, grips, shoes, handbags etc.
Cover from rain – Leather is not a huge fan of water. Just have a plastic bag in your backbag or under the seat for when it rains, pull it over the seat and keep your saddle in order and your rear end dry.
Keep your bike indoors – This one is not a must, but a rule of thumb is that your bike will last longer the less sun and rain it seems. If you don’t want to keep it indoors then cover the seat with a plastic bag during the night so it won’t soak in the rain.
Tighten your seat every once in a while – In most cases, it will be needed only once a year, but still, it is a good idea to do it. All Brooks saddles come with a special key to tighten them as leather stretches. If you’re not sure when to do it then jump into the closest bike shop and they should give you a good idea and probably do it for you. NB! Don’t tighten a wet saddle!
And that’s as easy as it is. It is probably less than an hour of work a year that will keep your Brooks leather saddle looking good for ages, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll sell it on eBay for a nice dime.
*We’re happy to do the above steps for you for free in our Copenhagen shop 😉
It’s been a while since we last had a moment to properly sit down and write something. And no – we have not been lazy, quite on the contrary – there’s just been so much happening. So we will try to cover the 5 biggest leaps that we’ve taken since May.
The beautiful ladies’ bike – The question ‘Do you have a bike for women?’ has been asked countless time. It took us time, but it’s here. A beautiful women’s bike in what we like calling Rivera Yellow. It boasts a gorgeous lugged mixte-style frame, a nice front rack and mudguards as standard. If you like it, act fast, we currently only have one left!
The Perfect Urban Bike – We curated the best bits of some of the most popular configurations to create The Perfect Urban bike, which we launched through Kickstarter. The project was a large success, we hit our goal fast, after which it slowed down a bit, but we’re very thankful for everyone’s support. Along the way we learned a few new lessons which we will discuss in another blog post to help others with crowdfunding.
Sidecars – We started building sidecars for different bicycles. We are in the process of testing a universal way of mounting the sidecar on almost any bike, and we’ve created a completely one-off for a client in the UK. Unlike other sidecar we’re making, this one does not allow the bike to lean in corners. This was a request by client as it will be installed on a chopper bike, and the goal was to make the ride more stable at low speeds.
The Bike Hanger 2.0 – Based on feedback and our own ambitions, we’ve continued to develop our most popular product. Tests of our innovations have been very pleasing, and we are nearly ready to start full production of the 2nd generation Bike Hanger. As to do so will require a little boost – we will be preparing an Indiegogo campaign very soon.
New name and currency – And the biggest news will be last. Our image will get a little overhaul as our client base is growing rapidly outside of Denmark. We will be slowly transforming from KP Cykler to KP Cyclery to have a more sticking name and brand outside of our beautiful Denmark. With those news, we have updated our online store and changed the currency from Danish Kroner to Euros.
Thank you for reading. Hopefully the next post won’t have to wait this long. I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer and it is as warm where you’re reading as it is here.
It’s been quite busy over the last month to say the least. There was a huge order of our Bike Hangers by Monoqi from Germany of just under 100 units, production version of The Sidecar Bike finished and a new version of our bikes is rolling out.
Thus far we have been selling the Hangers to resellers like Steel Vintage Bikes from Berlin, Jooks from Tallinn, Westside24 from Düsseldorf, Omniia.dk, Monoqi and others for just a few pennies staying in our pocket after production. As there is more and more interest from resellers, then we will be pushing the price up next week from approx 100€ to about 120€ per Hanger (coupled with the launch of The Bike Hanger 2.0 – more on that soon). That means it is a good idea to order one from our webshop now 😉 Above mentioned shops will still have it for about 100€ until the current stock sells out.
At the same time we’ve had great news from here in Denmark. Having just finished the first production-ready Sidecar Bike, we’ve taken it to the Danish Cycling Federation’s shop (Cyklistforbundet) close to Torvehallerne in the middle of Copenhagen. You can go and test it there + they will be stocking our Bike Hangers from June. There was more Sidecar news from Bike Rumor, as to our surprise we were featured on their website – http://www.bikerumor.com/2016/05/19/hang-bike-wall-like-trophy-kp-cykler/
Lastly, perhaps the biggest news of the 3. We are just about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for our latest creation – The Perfect Urban Bike. We’ve noticed people getting slightly confused on all the different options we offer for building a bicycle. So we’ve created the ultimate package – puncture protection tape as a standard to save you from annoying flats; steel frame for a lovely ride; Brooks leather as standard; our Porteur bars for a good speed/comfort balance; Kickshift for no maintenance gears and of course smoking looks. All this comes in at modest 6995 dkk (approx 935€). Here’s a preview link for you (yes it’s not live yet, but we love you, and should get the first look).
That will be it for now, stop by our new bike studio at Ingerslevsgade 103 when in Cph 🙂
It’s been a little while since the last post – we’re looking to get back into it now as we’ve successfully moved the shop to Copenhagen (Ingerslevsgade 103, Kbh 1705 if you’re curious to stop by ;) ). Here’s a piece on something that’s been cooking for a while – leaning sidecar history.
Leaning sidecars were first invented by Freddie Dixon, an English motorbike racer, way back in the 1920’s. Dixon was the first to figure out that by having the sidecar passenger control the tilt of the car with a lever, instead of the sidecar being rigidly fixed to the bike, it was possible to take turns a lot faster, and he used this idea to great success in his motorbike racing career. Leaning sidecars were further popularized in the same decade in American motorcycle racing, although now the focus was on having the sidecar wheel tilt by itself, giving the bike rider control. The technology used in these tilting sidecars has come a long way, and we have now been able to come up with our very own leaning sidecar for a bicycle, allowing you to easily carry goods around without knocking the bike itself off balance.
Leaning sidecars have many advantages which they can bring to your bike-riding, that make them an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be able to carry things on their bike with ease. With a leaning sidecar, riding the bike feels normal, and you aren’t constrained by having to compensate for the added weight of the sidecar. You’re able to take corners as you normally would, leaning in and taking them faster, as the sidecar is able to tilt freely to match the curve of the corner. Furthermore, since the sidecar is able to move independently, you don’t have to worry about holes in the road knocking you off balance- the sidecar can move over these without affecting the stability of the bike itself. On a three wheeled bike, you might notice that the bike rocks around when moving over holes, but this is not a problem with a leaning sidecar.
At KP Cykler, we’ve specifically designed our leaning sidecar bike to match the demand springing up for more efficient, effective bikes. With more and more households choosing not to have a car, it makes sense to enable your bike to carry goods such as groceries home easily. You’re sure to be impressed with how much weight it can cope with- in testing, we even managed to fit an armchair onto it! Stylish and functional, this bike makes a great choice for those who want to cut through urban congestion with ease, and carry goods around safe in the knowledge that they are still doing their bit for the environment. The only constraint on what you can ferry around is your imagination, so you’re sure to find that it adapts to your particular needs perfectly. If you have good balance, and hang on tight, you can even fit a person on it, so it really is suitable for everyone. We look forward to seeing what you can do with yours!
**Rasmus K, if you’re reading this and haven’t checked you inbox, then do so, you just won a set of magnetic lights.
As we talked about Lucas Brunelle last time, this time we are going to take a look into the life of someone slightly closer to us.
Often referred to as one of the founding fathers of the bicycle culture movement in Estonia, man who has gotten thousands of people to gather up on their bikes, and a man who brought together people across different continents for Simple Session – Risto Kalmre.
Risto is definitely best known for organising one of the world’s biggest extreme sport competitions Simpel Session with his brother Mario. Hosted annually since as far as 2001, the event brings together BMX riders and skateboarders around the world, currently with the audience-base of over 1 million people, both at the spot and behind the screen.
This event has inspired the brothers so much that by the end of 2015 they opened the biggest extreme sport centre in the Baltics – Spot of Tallinn. Right beside Tallinn, with a great mission to offer better and more opportunities for the young & talented riders across the country.
The urban bicycle movement started in 2011 during Tallinn Bicycle Week, when Risto Kalmre, with a few other bicycle enthusiasts, organised a night ride (called Tour d’ÖÖ). Starting off as an event of organisers and their closest friends it has now turned into mass rides with over 2000 participants. This amount of people cycling on the streets directly shows the growth of the urban cycling culture in Tallinn. Events like these are a good way to show the growing existence of cyclists and through that have a louder voice in the future of city planning.
Seeing the growth of the urban cycling movement, Risto, back in 2014, made the next obvious step – opening a bicycle studio (called JOOKS) in one of the fastest developing parts of Tallinn. A studio, which serves purpose as a store for dapper urban bikes, serving coffee and is also known as the headquarters of Tallinn bicycle movement. Furthermore, it is used to host variety of events, for example few smaller concerts from Tallinn Music Week.
At the end of the day, Risto is a graphic designer by profession. After all of this organising he still has time for running an agency.
Risto is truly a person, who “takes the bull by its horns” – if something isn’t right, he makes it right. He truly wants to make this place better and more liveable for all of us.
Where to next, who knows, but with the Simple Session coming right up, lets wish them all the best.
Having finished putting together the last bike a few minutes after the show officially started, we were ready. From the moment door opened at 18:00 until they closed at 23:00, it was on. And not just a people wondering around, but ON. We managed to take a moment to have a quick look around and we understood why it was so busy for us. It is best put by a set of maritime designers who visited us on the 3rd day – ‘you guys have the best ideas here.’ I’m sure not everyone thought that, but there must have been at least a few more.
Day 2 was largely the same, a lot of people, cool ideas bounced around, The Bike Hangers continued to sell good, and we continued to enjoy attention. After Station Berlin, the venue, closed its doors at 19:00 it was time for beers, and time to witness a mad race on a go-kart track. It was a criterium type race with fixed gear riders blasting around in heats, leading to a superfinalé. Event boasted a great atmos and we really started to go from liking Berlin to loving Berlin. Check out a short summary here:
The last day – day 3 – could be summed up as the most productive one for us. We nearly sold out our hangers and got some exciting interest from other companies. Having personally followed the growth of Berlin based Steel Vintage Bikes team, with their truly rare restorations, having them as a reseller in Berlin feels very heartwarming. And there is more news to follow on reseller front soon.
As the show was slightly slowing down during lunch hours, it also gave us a nice moment to reconnect with friends. Having met Pelago folks during last year’s Tallinn Bicycle Week’s alleycat race, it was god to see their new lineup for 2016, and hearing that they have now reached as far as opening a shop in Japan. Over the weekend we also enjoyed our personal tour guides , and ex-berliners from Czech – SegraSegra. They are the ones who can also be blamed for our participation, after talking us into it during 2014’s SPIN London show. If you’re not only into nice bikes, but also want to look good when cycling, then give them a look – they have off-shelf and made to fit clothing for cyclists.
Over and out. Berlin, thank you for treating us well, we’ll surely be back next year.
Preparing for this year’s Berliner Fahrradschau was a full on obstacle course. With the argon tank for TIG-welder and the lasercut sidecar mounts not arriving, it really pushed us to be creative to get everything ready in time. Luckily we are surrounded by excellent people, namely Jan and Arne, who borrowed us gear, so it was possible to start welding on Tuesday, to be ready by Thursday evening. And so, after working 12-13 hours every day, the sidecar and materials for the stand we’re ready, just minutes before our production area alarm is armed on Thursday evening. Unfortunately with no time to paint the sidecar.
So we loaded everything on the car by 21:30, and after a quick sleep, we were ready to hit the road at 4:30 in the morning with my friend Birk. Roll your clocks some 6,5h forward and we’re unpacking at Station Berlin, the venue for 2016 Berliner Fahrradschau, only to discover that we had forgotten the smallest, yet one of the most important components of the Sidecar Bike – the bearings that connect the sidecar to the bike.
With 1 hour to go before opening, I grab one of the show bikes and make my way to a tech shop. With no lock on me, I take the bike inside the shop and set it standing next to the counters. A very grumpy older lady-worker appears and takes the bike outside, I’m nervous about thieves, but I hope to be out of the store in 2 minutes, and take my chances. So I’m directed to the right department and waiting as the man over the counter speaks to a client about RC helicopter blades in a deeply disturbing pervert tone – oh well, at least I’ll get my stuff soon. Some anxious 5 minutes pass, I ask about the bearings and he tells me to look at a shelf, if it’s not there then they don’t have it. OK, Thanks for not checking your stock on the screen, they are not there. Out and gone I am, luckily the bike is there.
Googling for help, the only option is to hit up the store from the same chain, some 20 minutes by bike. I’m quite pissed off by the manners of the service person, but as I cycle and absorb more of Berlin, I start to feel more and more relaxed. Berlin has a really nice vibe and I decide to give it one more chance. On my way, I come up with a plan to ask a person on the street to mind my bike as I run to the store.
I arrive by the shop, a man is just walking out the shop – ‘Can I ask your help, I’m here for a bike show and need something from this store. Do you have just 5 minutes to look after my bike? I don’t have a lock‘. After taking a moment to process English, the man says ‘Yes‘ with a nice smile. Faith in Berlin restored. Running in, I show a picture of what I need. I’m immediately directed to right department. I ask the person there, this time to be greeted in perfect English, he checks the computer, they 2 bearings in the back room. I’m out in about 7 minutes and after thanking the person outside, I make my way back to the show, 6 minutes after the doors opened..
I guess everyone is quite tired of reading by now, so we’ll post the part 2 about the actual show next week.
For all the new subscribers from Berlin: The lucky winner of Magnetic Lights is Katharina. Congratulations, we’ve send an email to you with details 🙂
As the sun is rising higher and higher above the horizon, Olaf has become more and more busy. Between preparations for Berliner Fahrradschau in the land of bier, wurst and no-speedlimit horseways; taking moving-pictures for a new villagefunding campaign and production of goods, there has been very little time for sleep. But mythical as it may sound, under the label of labour of love, it has been a very enjoyable week indeed.
So what is Olaf making for the villagefunding campaign?
Villagefunding platform by the name of Kickstarter has been a huge help to Olaf’s business thusfar. After the first campaign, Olaf has been on a quest to design the perfect urban bicycle. He has been looking for the perfect balance between comfort, practicality, speed and personalization. After testing of different components since the end of the summer, Olaf is now happy with the setup. He won’t go into details just yet, but took a selfie to give a first glimpse:
What will be new for Berliner Fahrradschau?
After thorough tests of the bicycle-whale-carrier, Olaf has been perfecting production methods and equipment. He has prepared the tubing for a new version of the bicycle-whale-carrier with lovely laser cut frame attachments. The TIG type blacksmith machine still needs a barrel of Argon, and the new version will be ready next week. In addition Olaf has prepared a bunch of prototype elk-horn-antler-bike-rests that will be sold for quite a few gold coins fewer than the normal models.
There was also a day when Olaf managed to curb his enthusiasm for selfies and took pictures of the upgraded new elk-horn-antler-bike-rests. Upgrades include a chromed pipe vs previously painted pipe and a laser cut logo. Head over to our shop and treat yourself to a lovely storage solution for the new season: http://kpcyclery.com/
Lastly a pro tip from South Africa – get a fast bike or you’ll get run over by an ostrich.