Christiania cargo trike ridden and reviewed
By Linus Rees
The Christiania cargo trike has space big enough to carry a washing machine and tough enough to negotiate London’s pothole- and SUV-invested roads. It weighs in at around 35 kilos and can carry up to 100 kilos plus the rider.
Pedalling in first gear up Kentish Town Road with a full load of electronic cast-offs on my way to Camden’s Regis Road recycling depot I managed to traffic calm a whole stretch of road. Cyclists and pedestrians smiled and remarked on what a great way to carry stuff.
The Christiania model I tried had a three-speed hub gear and this was plenty enough to get me up and over Primrose Hill Bridge. There’s plenty of braking power, too. A disk brake on both front wheels and a coaster brake on the rear operated by back-pedalling. The single-lever front brake also acts as a parking brake. Its chunky tyres and wheels are built to last. For security there is a rear wheel lock similar to those found on Dutch cycles.
It comes with two seats to carry children. One seat is wooden and doubles as a toolbox or storage and the other is a fold up fabric seat. There is even a canopy. I folded the seat and removed the canopy when I took it out on a test ride to get maximum cargo space and for ease of loading.
It was tempting at times to take the corners too fast and send the bike onto two wheels. It takes a bit of time to get used to steering a three-wheeled cycle but when you get the hang of it you realise there are a lot of advantages to having three wheels. You can happily sit with the bike stationary and not worry about balance and its extra stability is handy for loading.
The only downside of the Christiania are the handlebars. I found these to be uncomfortable after more than half an hour of riding. I’m more used to drop handlebars and flat bars I’ve never liked. Some Christiania owners have had curved handlebars fitted to give a more comfortable hand position.
I particularly liked the way drivers gave me a wide berth and never once did any of the metal-caged prisoners beep their horn at me. Probably because the Christiania is big and heavy enough to inflict a lot of damage to a Range Rover. Just don’t tempt me. You’re not a vulnerable road user pedalling a Christiania, you’re waging asymmetrical warfare. The Christiania trike is the black bloc of road transport.
So much was the pleasure of riding it back and fore between Fitzrovia and Kentish Town that I was loath to part with it. I’ll be taking it out for another ride soon.