It’s been a busy last week. Only six days ago I bought two donor bikes, both old and crusty, a mountain bike and a kids bike. The goal was to combine the two into a cargo bike with a show chopper or lowrider bike aesthetic. After a lot of grinding, welding, polishing, paint, and more polishing, the Cargorider lives.
The inspiration for the Cargorider came from a few directions. The ‘cargo’ portion came from studying in Denmark last semester, most Copenhageners bike everywhere, and in a city cargo bikes are extremely useful. I saw my fair share of these and was even riding in the basket of one when my friend crashed it. One brand in particular stood out, Omnium, they’re based in Denmark and make really clean bikes, using designs with a lot of history in cycling. Their ‘Mini’ model has the most simple construction and fit my needs best. A small grocery getter that can be carried up stairs and tucked in an apartment.
This basic design has been proven since the 1930’s and I was excited to make my own version. Now my version would have to be a little more distinct than Omnium’s. So I drew from one of my favorite aesthetics, choppers, this means semi sketchy construction, home built works of art with sparkly paint and shiny chrome. Pictured is one of my favorite bikes from last year’s Biltwell People’s Champ competition; this builder spent a lot of his time carefully painting his frame with only spray paint, a far more economical option than powdercoat or airbrush.
The Cargorider needed to bring Southern California and Northern Europe together into one badass two-wheeler. I did this by following the rules of a classic cycletruck, the small front wheel and frame mounted rack, while adding chopper elements. Chrome BMX style bars and polished forks and wheels, a bright candy paint job. And even a rack brace that looks like an old school windowed Harley neck casting.
I made a ton of sketches to try different stances for the Cargorider, some were larger ‘long-john’ style cargo bikes, some were cycletrucks, some were recumbents, all of them are bad and none of them quite match the final product. As I run into challenges in the physical world the design changes in real time. Theres no accounting for the things you find out as you build and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you read this far here’s a preview of the paint.
It came out looking really cool! I’m curious what other elements you thought of adding to fit the chopper aesthetic. Perhaps felt seats or tassels? They might not have been the most practical additions, but what if?