Originating from a time when cargo bikes formed the backbone of Copenhagen’s transportation system, the Cargo Bike Championship – or Svajerløb (named after the swaying motion of the bikes when fully loaded) – has a long and storied history. The first was held in 1942, when a priest named Kristian Skjerring decided to shine a spotlight on the (otherwise invisible) underclass of men and boys who broke their backs pedalling these machines day in and day out. They grew in size and statue, with thousands coming out to witness the spectacle, and see the new “King of Copenhagen” crowned for another year. And then – in 1960 – motor vehicles began dominating the city’s freight system, and the Svajerløb went on hiatus. It was revived again in 2009, having been held in Copenhagen every year since, and similar events popping up in Portland, Rio de Janeiro, Dublin, and Victoria.
It’s no secret that we at Modacity are smitten with cargo bikes, and their ability to transform cities for the better: improving air and sound quality, road safety, and public health. Our own acquisition of a TrioBike last year reinforced that belief, allowing us to haul not only our two kids, but groceries, appliances, and even our annual Christmas tree. We have documented Vancouver’s own growing cargo bike culture with our writing, and met many local families for whom the cargo bike has become an essential part of how they get from A to B. As we’ve discovered with the amazing reception we get every time we take ours out on the bikeways, seeing is truly believing, which is why we decided to organize Vancouver’s very first Svajerløb!
So, in partnership with our friends at HUB and Urban Systems, we are excited to reveal plans for Vancouver’s very first Cargo Bike Championship. It will take place at Creekside Park (1455 Quebec Street) from 4-7pm, during the ‘Bike to Work Week’ Wrap-Up BBQ on Friday, May 29th. We hope to have cargo bikes of all shapes, sizes, and budgets on-hand, along with their owners to answer questions to the public and media, and that’s where *you* come in! We want to stress that this is not an athletic competition, but rather an exercise in demonstrating the endless possibilities of a cargo bike, and most importantly – having fun! People of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds are welcome to apply. If you are interested in participating, please send the following information to our attention before a deadline of Monday, May 18th, 2015:
1. Name, age, occupation. Any other relevant biographical information?
2. Make and model of cargo bike? Where did you purchase it? Retail price?
3. Can you please provide us with a photograph of you and your cargo bike?
4. What is one unique item you haul that we could include in the competition?
And if you are a business owner interested in donating a small prize to one of our winners, please contact us as well!
While we’re on the subject, don’t forget to sign up for HUB’s biannual Bike to Work Week, which runs from May 25th until the 31st. Registration is completely free, and there are all kinds of exciting prizes to be won, including a bicycle each day, and a trip for two to Prague from Exodus Travels! You can either register as a Team Leader (creating a team) or a Rider (joining a team or riding solo). Encourage your colleagues to join your team using the resources HUB has provided, and then log your trips on their website during Bike to Work Week! As an added bonus, there will be over 50 celebration stations spread throughout the city over the course of the week, offering free coffee, snacks, and bike repairs. The entire affair will be wrapped up with the aforementioned *free* BBQ on Friday afternoon. We hope to see you there!
Chris and Melissa Bruntlett are the co-founders of Modacity, a multi-service consultancy focused on inspiring healthier, happier, simpler forms of urban mobility through words, photography and film. You can find them on Twitter: @modacitylife.