L: 180 T: 204

For a while now I have been wondering about a rather cryptic sticker that came with my Bullitt Clockwork. It contains the following:

L: 180
T: 204

I was fairly sure that the “L: 180” was the payload in kg but was left guessing about the “T: 204”. Until I was sure I didn’t want to put the sticker on as people are very curious and I am often asked about my Bullitt. To have a sticker on and not know what it meant would be embarrassing.

So I emailed Hans to ask, as always he replied quickly:

The sticker is kind of a very local joke.All danish commercial vehicles (read:cars) needs a plate like this.The first number is the maximum load capacity (180 kilos) and the second is the maximum load + the weight of the vehicle (204 kilos).The fun is that when it´s a car it takes 2 tons to carry 500 kilos;a Bullitt of 24 kilos can carry 180 kilos.

Ah ha. Now I know.

At some point I’ll have to borrow a second pair of bathroom scales and try weighing some of the loads I typically carry. I am sure that I have not got very close to this total payload yet (contents of  full Asda shopping trolley is my heaviest load so far and that is no problem at all).

The sticker does highlight the huge difference between a bike and any other form of transport (apart from walking). It means my Bullitt can carry 7.5 times it’s own weight which is very impressive compared to a typical car. For example a Citroen Berlingo Multispace (which should be good for this comparison being based on a van) has a kerb weight of 1427kg and a gross weight of 2305kg. So it can only carry 0.6 times it’s own weight.

I was trying to find out some weights for big lorries but got confused by all the options. Still I don’t think any other of them can approach the ration of a Bullitt (that would mean that a 40 tonne HGV would have to weigh less than 5 tonnes).

I accept that a Bullitt is not the complete answer to replace vans. For that you need a wider range of capacities. Maybe we could persuade LarryVsHarry to produce a Cannonball version of a Bullitt (as in bigger with more capacity). Alternatively you could always go to Work Cycles for their long Bakfiets as on the right.

On the other hand I recently saw this pink Bullitt on the Bullitt Gallery. Looks like a new option for Child carrying kids on a Bullitt that would have more space for two dry children as it is a bit wider than my lightweight (space age honeycomb material) box.

Still you can carry still more with the right machine. That goes all the way up to something like a Cycles Maximus with a lockable box. They have a payload of 250kg and sensibly with that weight have the option of a powerful electric assist that will get you up a 20% gradient. At these capacity’s it is not just the weight that is important but also that the load space is lockable and sized for euro crates and pallets.

I have ridden an old pedicab version of the Cycles Maximus and it is a comfortable and easy ride. Just don’t expect to break any speed records 🙂 Even been with the crazy Jason Patient when he rode one on a day ride of about 20 miles (yes he did keep up with everyone else but he is a very strong rider).

When you consider all these options Kim Hardings idea of a Cargo Bike Club starts to make a lot of sense, at least for densely populated cities. There are times when we all need to move something bigger than normal. If we were to go ahead with properly removing motorised vehicles from our City Centres then it should make good business sense for the operators of the cargo bikes and trikes used for delivery to also provide them for hire or to cargo bike club members.

If we are looking at practical ways to move stuff in ways that are good for us and for the people around us, then we need a wide range of practical bikes/trikes that can cope with all the things we need to move.

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  1. Glad you like my idea for a Cargo Bike Club, I am just trying to figure out where to get the money from to get it off the ground…

    • Kim,

      I reckon the idea of a Cargo Bike Club makes most sense for the Cycles Maximus Cargo trike (or4 maybe the Christiana trike) rather than a Bullitt or Bakfiets.

      My logic is that Bullitts and Bakfiets are superb at the everyday loads (carrying your kids, moving the stuff you need for work, doing the shopping) and by definition you need frequent and easy access to a bike for everyday loads. A cargo bike club is not going to be very useful for the school run.

      But for the bigger loads (furniture, clearing the garage, big stuff for the garden) where you want bigger capacity and don’t need it all the time then the cargo bike club is superb.

      Of course it would be good to have access to Bullitts and Bakfiets on a hire basis so people could try them out and discover how useful they are. However, that is a bit different and probably needs to be coupled with being a dealership to make sense.

      The other thing that it would be great to have a cargo bike club for would be a really good solution to transport a wheelchair user. If we cycle to visit my Mother-in-law then we can’t take her out (shops are just a bit to far to push a wheelchair to). It would be excellent to cycle to her via Leicester City Centre and on the way collect a trike that could carry her in her wheelchair. I guess there are many people who don’t need a wheelchair carrying bike all the time but would find it useful occasionally.

    • Kim,

      Another part of your idea I liked was solutions for Cargo Bike storage. I am lucky as I have a secure undercover place to keep my Bullitt, but many people won’t.
      Until we have lots more cargobikes in the UK I don’t think many people will want to leave them out in the open as they stand out so much. So a secure storage solution that they will fit in would be great. I have not seen any Bike lockers that a Bullitt will fit in.

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  4. Looking at this again, it occurred to me that it is cheating a bit bit because the weight of the Bullitt at 24Kg doesn’t include the engine 😉

    As for secure storage solutions, this is proving to be a bit of a stumbling block with getting Cargo Bike Club started, that and funding…

    • Kim,

      The weight of the driver forms part of Car & van payloads – and that is just deadweight 🙂

      As for storage, I guess it needs one of the companies who make bike lockers to make a cargobike version.

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