Christiania Bikes

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Cargo bike. Box Cycle. Bakfiet. Whatever you want to call it, Christiania has over 30 years of making the best. From its humble beginnings as a gift from a blacksmith to his wife, they have become a worldwide brand, its name synonymous with quality craftsmanship.


Cargo bikes were a staple of European society in the first half of the 20th century. Cheaper and more reliable than automobiles, and easier to maneuver through narrow European roads, these bicycles were a common site in almost every city. They were especially useful during World War II, when rubble clogged streets and rubber and metal were near impossible to come by in large quantities.


Post World War 2, Europe saw a rebuild of its cities and economies, and with it ushered in the age of the auto. By the time the 1960s rolled around, the box cycle was almost extinct. Cars became the defacto mode of transportation, and it seemed as if cargo bikes were on their way to becoming another foot note in history.  And they would have been, had it not been for a decommissioned military base in Denmark.


With the threat of Nazi occupation starting to fade into a memory, the Danish government closed down a military base in the Christiania neighborhood of Copenhagen, and it wasn’t long until a group of free spirits settled in, with an eye to reshape a symbol of destruction into a modern utopia.  By the mid 1970s the Danish government had begrudgingly allowed the society to thrive, and they had succeeded in building a stable and growing commune.  However, one of the tenets of their utopia was a ban on automobiles. This mean that cargo bikes would have to make a return to everyday living.  However, at this point most left over were old, and made out of poor quality materials. Their society was thriving, but even something as simple as transporting fresh produce across town become an ordeal. 


This all changed in 1984.  Lars Engstrom, the resident blacksmith for Chrisitiania, secretly made a custom built cargo bike as a gift for his wife Annie.  Annie was not impressed.  She had originally requested a ten speed bike for getting around the commune. The tight spaces and long distances in Christiania made a bike like this a necessity.  But after putting their children into the cargo box up front and seeing the smiles on their faces, she quickly changed her mind.  Their neighbors noticed as well, and soon orders for these “Christianites” were pouring in from all over the settlement. Lars had single handedly changed how life was in Christiania.


Each passing year saw Lars improve on his original design. His cargo bikes became lighter, studier, and came in different models and sizes. His hard work eventually culminated in the prestigious “Classic Design Award” from the Danish Design Center in 2010.  Over 30 years after their humble beginnings as a blacksmith’s gift to his wife, Christiania bikes have become synonymous with quality cargo bike construction.  From a single model that was available in 1984, Christiania’s line has grown to 8 different bikes and dozens of accessories. There is a Christiania bike for any use and any occasion, and an accessory for any need you may have.


The aluminum alloy frames are made to withstand the harsh winters of Denmark, and are hardy enough for almost all inclement weather. Use this bike in the boiling heat of summer or even in the coldest, rainiest parts of winter.  These also work in some of the harshest city terrain as well. Christiania bikes come with Shimano 7 speed gears, more than enough for city hills, and the aluminum rims and raceguard tires can handle all the bumps and cracks in urban concrete.

The reinforced, 8mm thick marine grade plywood on each box is not only strong enough to carry for favorite produce home from the farmers market, but also strong enough to carry your little ones after a long morning helping at the market. The benches inside also lift up for even more storage space.  Despite the box in front, these cargo cycles have an extremely tuned turning radius. These are made specifically for narrow European streets, so bicycling around bike paths and sharrows in the U.S. is a breeze.
Each bike is built upon order, with the customer in mind. Lars Engstrom would hate to see his bicycles mass produced, sitting in a warehouse for weeks or months waiting to be purchased.  It’s not hard to see why Christiania bikes have been the choice for European families for over 40 years.  Now,  Agency is proud to bring this tradition to the United States.