8 September 2008

Back Rack Culture

Bikebrella *
We've posted about how the bike basket is an integral part of our bike culture and now the time has come for a tribute to the oft-overlooked back rack. Pannier bags are a rare sight in Copenhagen. Grocery-wise, you see far more people dangling two or three shopping bags from the handlebars is easier and quicker.
Morning Ride
But the back rack is important as well. It was one of the first things to get dumped when the sports industry in America started branding cycling as a sport, along with kickstands, chain guards and even fenders.

Some people have a little wire basket on the back rack but most just stick their bags under the springloaded thingy.
Hold On
The back rack has created an arm movement that is second-nature. You'll see it at least once almost every day. Either while riding or at a red light the cyclist's hand will sweep back and check if the bag is still in place. Nobody ever looks, you just know if the bag has slid to the left or right.
Whatever you need to transport, the back rack is there for you. Shopping, your bag, umbrella, groceries, you name it.
No School Like the Old School
For decades the back rack featured a little hook on which you could hang a briefcase, like this gentleman. They are returning now and I use mine when carrying a laptop somewhere.
Lulu-Sophia's Birthday Present
My daughter turned one last Saturday and I transported one of her presents home on my back rack, with the help of strap and some string.
Raleigh Ride

Yellow * Danish Bicycle Culture * Style n Ride * Umbrella Just in Case

RedGreen Flowery


Lyle Jantzi III said...

Actually, rear bike racks are really popular in America. With the increase in bike commuters, you can find rear racks as an add-on to just about any bike and you can find them in any bike store. Unfortunately, kick stands are rare and the fenders here are crap. Chainguards are nowhere to be seen too... which boggles my mind. *shrug*

Steve Wallen said...

I love the post and pics.

I thought you might want to see (if you haven't already) that you have yet another tribute:


Anonymous said...

These are much more stylish than the typical bag.

The other day I was riding around and someone had a hand painted sign that said, "Free Lilies". I had to carry the Lily pot home and it became very difficult. If I had a rack on the back with a stylish bag I would have picked up two Lily pots.

Unfortunately most of the styles here in the US are more utilitarian, less stylish.

Is there a market in Europe for vintage mountain bikes?

Tom said...

The hook for a briefcase is a great idea. I think I will look into that

Andrew J. Besold said...

Woah! I want one of those briefcase hangers! Do you have any better pics??

I have a rack on my old American made Ross (we used to know how to produce regular bikes here too) and I always use it to take stuff to work, school, etc.

Again this bike is so practical that my expensive bikes see little use most days.

Anonymous said...

I love back racks! I have some metal baskets on the back of my bicycle, but I wish that I had that little springloaded thingy in the middle between panniers....so handy, so handy.

Thank you for encouraging and inspiring me every day to continue riding in (slow) style.

Anonymous said...

We used to call these things 'rat traps' back in the 70s when I was a kid in Vancouver. Anyone else heard that term? I guess that's not the technical name though... so wtf are they actually called?


Anonymous said...

I have a back rack and panniers and a front fender on my commuter bike here in central Illinois... but no kick stand.
Thanks for all the pics!

Colville-Andersen said...

thanks for the comments and the links!

vintage mountain bikes? mountain bikes were 'hot' for about a month and a half in 1995 over here. I would think there would be more of a market in the states.

i'll get some better photos of the hooky thingy on my velorbis.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting and subtle difference in everyday cycling culture between Denmark and the Netherlands, where panniers of a fashion - ones on sale at street markets and mass-market chains like HEMA, not the fancy ones for touring bikes - are in use everywhere, on people's back-racks.

My old Raleigh definitely has both fenders (mudguards) and a kickstand, though alas she has lost her chainguard! I'd like to find another for her.

Happy birthday to your daughter!

Anonymous said...

This is how I take my melone home on my bike: click!

I love this blog! Greetings from Budapest! (We would like to be like Copenhagen!)

Anonymous said...

We used Rat Traps too! (I'm from Victoria, so that may be why).

Bike racks, kick stands, and the brief case hooks are easy to come by in California, now. Chain guards you still have to get on the bike you buy, which is also pretty easy these days. Maybe we're making some progress!

Anonymous said...

We called them rat traps too! I'm from the Fraser Valley -- maybe it's a B.C. thing?

Anonymous said...

The racks are cool. What about the footwear. Seems like everyone just wears what they are walking in at the moment. Love it!