Hi there UtilityCycling.org readers! I apologize for the hiatus, but my MA thesis has now been submitted, and I can now turn my attention to more important matters, such as Interbike. I realize that the blogosphere has been inundated with Interbike related posts for the lasts few weeks, but here is just one more in case you were feeling a little post-Interbike withdrawal or depression.
Welcome to the 2009 Utility Cycling Interbike Awards. We are going to showcase some of our favorite utility cycling products from Interbike. This list is by no means comprehensive, but the following are a few of our favorites. Please enjoy.
Note: The header image is the Project Rwanda bike. Project Rwanda is helping to further economic development in Rwanda through use of the bicycle. They win the social justice award for Interbike 2009.
2009 Utility Cycling Interbike Awards
Best of Interbike
Why not start with the best? What constitutes the Best-Of Interbike from a utility cycling perspective? It should be an item that is innovative, functional, simple, easy to use, durable, versatile, just-plain awesome, and of course, utilitarian.
The Burley Travoy Bike Commuter Trailer is all of those things wrapped up into one pretty sweet commuting/cargo trailer. The Burley Travoy folds and bends and adjusts like any good contortionist. It goes from bike trailer to hand cart to storage mode in seconds. Check out this video of the trailer in action. The good folks at Burley have put it through the ringer, and it handles like a pro. I look forward to testing one out as soon as they are available. For now, the photos below will have to suffice.
This product came in at a very close second place to the Burley Commuter Trailer. It is a self-securing, heavy duty, easily adjustable rack for the front or rear of your bicycle. The Freeload Rack is simply amazing. If you don’t believe me, check out this photo of the company’s director sitting on the rack. Yes, it’s that strong.
Technically it’s rated for 25 kg or about 55 lbs for heavy-duty off-road use, but I would imagine it can carry more than that under less demanding conditions. This looks like a great product for commuting or touring. Due to the dynamic, versatile nature of the rack, it is easy to switch it between bikes, and it can be removed when you don’t need a rack, so you are not left with any rack “paraphernalia” on your bike.
The Green Award
Cyclus is a company out of Colombia that makes some really fun, funky backpacks, saddlebags, and other accessories out of recycled airplane tires. and other materials They win the green award for Interbike 09, as they are an environmentally-friendly company, and well, they make some green bags…literally. But in all seriousness, Cyclus is a great concept and our green award winner.
The Hey-There-Good-Lookin’ Award
I was so busy gawking, that I only took one sloppy photo, but the bags and panniers from Basil get the best looking award hands down. Basil wasn’t actually at Interbike, but they were there via a distributor called Fourth Floor Distribution, which sells a variety of brands from Batavus to Bobike to Pashley. In other words, designer cycling goods from Europe. Check out their blog for a very interesting discussion on the concept of “city bike.”
Most Durable Award
What constitutes the most durable product at Interbike? Well, nothing less than a product you can beat repeatedly with a baseball bat. This narrows the category quite significantly, but there is one product that fits the description – Boblebee Backpacks.
Despite the fact that these hardshell backpacks are super heavy duty, they are quite lightweight and very comfortable. The part that rests on your back is ergonomically designed, and the lumbar design distributes weight throughout your back and reduces stress. And if you hit the deck with your laptop in the bag, you can be assured that it will be safe. No guarantees as to your body, but you computer will be golden. The packs come in a wide variety of great designs and can be used for anything from motorsports to skiing to cycling.
Best Booth Award
The best booth award goes to Madsen Cycles for their beautiful European style square complete with a benches, light posts, cobblestones, and even sand! Oh, and they make some pretty cool cargo bikes too.
The Flashiest Award
This award goes to the flashiest, craziest, funkiest utility cycling item at Interbike. This was a dead tie between the Puma bikes and Spoggy Trailer. Both are very colorful and eye-catching. I would definitely love to try out the Spoggy trailer, as it has some really nice features such as the locking lid.