Wild Wednesday: There’s a bike for that!
August 16th 2017
A lot of people commute to work, but how many professions outside of professional cyclists have custom bikes to do their jobs?
If you follow the news much, you may have noticed a resurgence in police bikes. They are fast, silent, versatile, and in extreme situations, they can even be used together to make an anti-riot wall.
Everyone has heard of bike messengers too. But did you know that UPS started as a bike messenger company…and that it’s returning to those roots with a UPS Cargo Cruiser experiment in Portland after a successful debut in Germany?
In fact, nearly anything that requires a small truck can be done with a truck bike. Which is why ice cream vendors are increasingly on bike.
When everyone biked…
But some of the most interesting professional bikes are from a time before cars, when biking and horses were the easiest ways get around. For example, around the world from Russia to Italy to New England, fire bikes with built-in fire hoses often followed the water cart. Sometimes they even were the water cart.
And that’s just the beginning. Any profession that required a person to move around a lot tended to have a bike for that purpose.
Eventually, you could do that with a photograph too, so photographer’s bikes became common.
When people were outstanding in their fields…
On thing was certain in rural America in the early 20th century. Your fields obviously weren’t coming to you, so you needed to bring your skills to the fields…by bike.
The dairyman could even churn and mold butter from a bike, making this the ideal vehicle for production or market sales.
When people had jobs doing what???
Even in a time of economic turmoil, it’s easy to forget that jobs come and go. Who’s heard of these jobs?
And finally, my all-time favorite…
Yes, in the time before disposable mattresses, someone was actually a professional mattress refluffilator. Just one more job that the bicycle handled with style.
What do you need a bike to do?
Bob Forgrave is president of Flatbike, an
ecommerce company offering full-size folding bikes
and kits to make any bike take up half the space.