Many parents in Scandinavia use cargo bikes or trailers to transport their kids. In Copenhagen, the bike lanes are full of them at school rush hour. But cargo bikes are really heavy, and can’t be used as regular bikes. The usual alternative is a trailer, and that’s cool, but also makes for a long, tricky-to-maneuver vehicle. The Scandinavian Side Bike is an awesome solution to this problem. Not only does it let you convert any bicycle into a kid-carrying trike, it has a clever coupling that avoids the instability of most other sidecar designs.
The Side Bike clamps onto the bike’s chain-stay–the tube that reaches out from the pedals to the rear wheel–and sits next to the bike. You can squeeze two kids in there, and they sit in line, instead of side-by-side, to keep the whole package bike lane-friendly.
If you ever rode a bike or motorbike with a sidecar, you’ll know that cornering is no fun, because the bike can’t lean. Or, when turning, the outside wheel lifts off the ground. The Side Bike avoids this by making the sidecar stable itself, with two wheels, and by joining to the bike with a pivoting bracket, so the bike rides as normal.
The pod is made in Denmark, and is so far only on sale in the EU. There are fiberglass and carbon fiber versions, priced at $1,500 and $2,070 respectively. The carbon version only saves a few pounds over the glass fiber model–22 pounds versus 26 pounds–thanks to the wheels being mounted onto a steel frame that makes up a good part of the overall weight. That frame is removable, and then the Side Bike becomes even more awesome, turning into a sled, or what is called a pulk in Denmark. Pulk is “the Nordic word for a pod-like sled used to transport children or goods.” The pulk comes with its skate-like runners already attached, so all you have to do is disconnect the wheel frame and hop into the snow.
This combination means that the Side Bike might be just the most Scandinavian thing ever made, but it’s also a pretty great solution to cargo-carrying in a city. If you don’t have space to park a cargo bike, or don’t fancy taking such a huge vehicle out when you just want to nip across town to meet friends, then this clamp-on kiddie-carrier may be ideal.