Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fieldwork DAY 1: School Marathon

To take the most of the school strikes today, Alix and I did some site visits to risk assess the pavement space and traffic conditions around the selected schools for the project. We have been taking pictures and deciding which will be the most suitable locations for me to interview parents and show the cargo bike.
Most of the schools gates are away from most motor traffic, so it hasn't been difficult to assess which will be the best sites for me to stand there to do the interviews. For those schools where the gates are placed on a very narrow footway, and could become a bit dangerous for the kids, we have decided that I will use more secure secondary gates, or wider footways around the school. I guess the cargo bike is big enough to get people's attention even if I won't be right next to the gates.
Whilst on our way to the schools I have been checking out the roads conditions for using a cargo bike. The school's surrondings are full of cycle paths and roads are quite quiet, so it's wonderful for using cargo bikes. However, some of the schools are located in hilly areas which can be an inconvenience for parents who wish to have one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Last Friday I went for a little bike trip around Hackney. I decided to visit the area before starting the fieldwork and get to know a bit better how Hackney and cycling come along. Above, you can see the route I did, but also you can see all the details of the route here: Actually, it is very noticeable how different is Hackney, in terms of cycling facilitaties, to other areas in London. Hackney is well served by the London strategic cycle network and it makes Hackney suitable for cycling. Moreover, transport projects like the "Home Zone and Streets for People" in Hackney during 2003-2004 have been very successful in traffic calming which gave a significant boost to the area.
In relation to cargo bikes, if there is an area where cargo bikes can be seen is Hackney. They are not as popular as bikes, however the concept of carrying kids and goods is out there. To carry kids people use a lot baby sits and trailers on the back and for goods baskets on the front, pannier bags as well as trailers. Although, some typical danish cargo bikes can be seen around.

Fieldwork begins tomorrow and will end on July 22nd. I will be around some of the primary schools in Hackney interviewing parents about cargo bikes's advantages and disadvantages.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How aware are we regarding CaRgO bIkES?

Let me tell you an example, IKEA in Denmark provides free trailers and Velorbis bike for their carless customers. You just need to leave a deposit and return the bike afterwards.

Photo: Per Wadskjaer for IKEA

The amount of cyclists in Denmark and their cargo bike culture has pushed IKEA to think "cargo". Such an incredible idea!! Of course, I doubt something like that can be implemented here, at least now bearing in mind, among other reasons, what happened to a mother carrying her kids with a cargo bike, definetely, there is still a lot to do. Mum X, as the online newspaper called her, was stopped by a police officer for "breaking" the law carrying two kids in a bike, although, there is no such offence unless, the bicycle is not built for carrying kids or cargo. Fortunately she was not given a ticket but can you imagine the mum's mood after that? I can! :-O (More on What happened made me think that cargo bikes are not very usual in our daily landscapes, neither for police officers. I am sure they are not so popular yet because not so many people know them, once you have seen some, it is very difficult to do not fall in love with their cute style.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Trying out the cargo bike with Alix in Hackney, what a day!!!!

A couple of days ago I tried cycling a cargo bike for the first time. It was raining a lot but fortunately, when we decided to try out the cargo bike the sun came out, it did not last much though!. The cargo bike I tried was the Yuba Mundo one and it was definitely a great experience!!! It is very easy to ride; of course you need to get use to them because turns are a bit more complicated than with normal bikes.

I tried to carry Alix around, just to understand how comfortable they are and actually I was surprised by its comfort. They are very well designed, so, when you carry someone you don't feel the weight as much as you expect. Moreover, I have to say that I was carrying an adult, so carrying kids to school on the Yuba would be very comfortable and cool!!!

I will be riding the Yuba Mundo when doing the questionnaires and interviews around the schools in Hackney. I bet you, people will want a try out!!!