Bicycle Sidecars

    Old Skool is Nu

    black sidecar attached to a black men's Victoria roadster bicycle
    Old Europe: a period sidecar attached to a German-made Victoria roadster bicycle (Photo: frankentourismus.de)

    While technically not a bicycle trailer but nonetheless still attached to and pulled by a bicycle using human power or electric assist, bicycle sidecars provide more of a novelty or attention-getting (read: poser) effect than a practical means of transporting a passenger or cargo by bike.

    As bicycle trailers in general gain in popularity, sidecars appear to be making a minor comeback, especially in the 'kustom' bike scene attached to beach cruisers, chopper bikes and low-riders.

    custom made black sidecar with chopper beach cruiser
    New World: an American hand-built sidecar attached to a low rider beach cruiser (Photo: bikerodkustom4.homestead.com)

    In North America, Charriot markets the SideCarrier. In Europe, Velotrade in Germany and Smike in Switzerland also sell sidecars for bicycles. The Smike is is made by Pacific Cycles in Taiwan and is a lightweight but sturdy sidecar that can transport an adult attached to a proprietary bicycle frame design. The Kidspacer and Dogspacer from Velotrade can be attached to most bicycles with 26" or 28" wheels.

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    Woman on a bicycle transporting a pet in the Dogspace sidecar
    Precious Cargo: riding alongside in peripheral view (Photo: velotrade.de)

    Note that a bicycle sidecar is far less safe, especially for a new or unskilled cyclist, compared to a towed one- or two-wheeled bicycle trailer for transporting a child or pet given the sidecar's tendency to tip on the driver's side. Perhaps the only advantage of a sidecar compared to a trailer is the ability to better monitor and communicate with the passenger versus a trailer.

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    a bicycle side loaded with long pieces of wood
    Long Load: timber and planks can be safely and easily transported using a bicycle sidecar (Photo: velotrade.de)

    Bicycle sidecars can serve as the basis for a bike-based business such as a food service or as an information kiosk.

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    a DIY sidecar used as a mobile food kiosk, San Francisco, CA
    Get It Here: a sidecar can provide the mobile platform for a product or service (Photo: meligrosa on flickr)

    When building a custom sidecar, the combined width of the bicycle and sidecar must not exceed 1 m in the European Union. In the United States and Canada, there are no known width restrictions for bicycles and human powered vehicles.

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    Keywords

    mobility, personal transport, human power, bicycles, bikes, side car, sidecar, sidecars, side cars, passengers, cargo, Chariot SideCarrier, Velotrade, Kidspacer, Dogspacer, Brauser,

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