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A classic reinventing of the wheel

  • By Vin Cox

I just got an email about a “new” bike designed to load up with all sorts of stuff so you can transport more than just yourself as you pedal.  That is a totally great concept, but it is NOT new, and it’s an odd design solution in my opinion.  In fact, I recon the only reason any designer noticed that some people might need such a thing is because the average Joe in the western world has for generations been sold completely inappropriate bikes.

Donky Bike

The new bike is the Donky Bike . It has front and rear racks either end of a sturdy hub geared bike with an integral lock – nice.  I wish them luck, but I think they could have saved themselves the design and manufacturing effort if they wanted to really solve this problem the most efficient way possible, and imported bikes from India.

Coal bikes in West Bengal by Vin Cox

Coal bikes in West Bengal by Vin Cox

Bikes in India carry poor people and haul bulky goods everywhere.  The rich and middle classes do NOT cycle, which means that a westerner on a cycle touring holiday in India is a confounding contradiction on wheels.  That presents challenges and interesting situations; I found myself struggling to talk my way into some Indian hotels and restaurants because security guards had literally been told to keep cyclists away!  Back to my point though – these hard working, practical, local manual workers need cheap, simple, strong, reliable, load-carrying bikes; and that’s what they have.  At the very least the Donky designer should have taken more inspiration from the designs refined over the last century for load hauling across the sub-continent…. Oh, and then they shouldn’t have spammed my email ;-)

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