From what I know, there are about six, seven bakfietsen (cargo bikes) in Ottawa. It is not much, but that’s changing. The first one that comes to mind is Lana’s, who blogs extensively about her bakfiets adventures.
Ottawa cargo bikes
Another one is Joel Mulligan’s bakfiets. Joel now works in Denmark, but left his white Bullitt behind at Tall Tree Cycles. Then there is courier Gary Watson on his orange Bullitt, who you often see down town.
And then there is an Old Ottawa South architect John Donkin, who owns a bakfiets (which I borrowed for a show, see further below) and the Kichissippi Beer bike, which showed up in Ottawa’s First Plaid Parade.
The Nihola has three wheels, which makes it much more stable, which should be great for people with balance problems.
I once borrowed a cargo bike for the Go Green Trade show at the Lansdowne Pavillion. My employer had a booth, promoting the Netherlands as a cycling destination. We attracted so many people and the cargo bike was a big hit. An older Austrian engineer was so intrigued that he crawled all the way underneath the bike to figure out the steering system. At the end of the show, I packed everything in the cargo bike and simply cycled away, right out of the Pavilion into the parking lot.
But DHL already took it a step further.
The Parcycle, used by DHL in several Dutch towns such as Breda, Amsterdam and Enschede [Enn-ske-day] for a while now, works well. The number of places where the parcycle is being used is growing.
Meanwhile a number of delivery vans were removed and replaced by the bakfiets. The parcycle, a combination of parcel and cycle, is a a common sight in above mentioned towns and since a few months also in the picture in the city and business centres of Delft, Amersfoort, Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen, Apeldoorn, Arnhem and Nijmegen. Around this time, Haarlem and Groningen will be added. Especially on compact urban routes of around 5 km (3 miles, give or take a few yards) the bakfiets is is more efficient. There are a total of 20 DHL parcycles now.
DHL is also using bicycle couriers with bag packs to deliver the smaller packages. Obviously, larger parcels are still delivered by van.
The bakfiets should be an ideal vehicle in places like Kanata, with calm streets and relatively short distances to the grocery store for example.
Isn’t it time for an Ottawa cargo bike skills race this spring?
John Donkin’s website: Architecture