Monday, 25 June 2012


When Johan Swanljung decided to get rid of the family car he bought one of these cargo bikes for the unavoidable trips to the shops and dropping the kids off at parties and the like. 
But the day I met him he'd just cycled 120Kms from his home in Stockholm to the coast near Norrtälje with his 18 month old toddler in the front. He set off at 0830 and arrived at 1530 with a stop for lunch. His boy loved the journey and had several naps along the way. 

The bike has an 8 speed Nexus hub and weighs about 40Kgs. Johan enjoys riding it but says going round tight corners can be a bit of a nightmare. He commutes to work every day (not on this!) and since buying the cargo bike has sold his Cannondale road bike, as it wasn't getting enough use since starting a family. 
Schwalbe's Marathon Plus tyres take the worry out of long rides when a puncture could seriously spoil your day.

In Stockholm and other Swedish towns cyclists are well looked after with an abundance of well marked and protected cycle lanes. 
It seems everyone uses town bike and very few people wear helmets.

Everything about this classic Crescent in orange says 'town bike',  but what's with the world champion stripes? Along with the Peugeot checks they do give the bike a more racy feel.

Steel frame, mudguards, rack, hub gears, dynamo lights, back pedal brakes, comfy saddle, bike stand, chain protector? Yes, it's a northern European town bike.
The pink bike is an 'army' bike. Apparently the military used these for many years and they continue to be made (despite the shrinking of the Swedish military capacity) because they're so popular with the general population.

A Crescent ladies bike with basket and well sprung saddle. Great handlebars and unusually, single speed.

This Monark has the ubiquitous bike rack with a spring loaded holder on the back. And I'm fairly sure I didn't see a bike without a bike stand.

A Monark 'Original'. Monark are one of the best known Swedish bike brands.
I wasn't sure about these town bikes until a had a few spins on this Albert Samuelsson & Co bike made in Skeppsmuly back in the seventies. They're designed for getting from A to B in comfort rather than at speed and do the job very well. So there's another type of bike I've found I need. What excuse I can use for buying one I'm less sure.

A DBS bike. DBS apparently stands for 'Death Behind the Steerer'. I love the Swedes' sense of humour.