boatbuilding meets cargobikes.

Observing how heavy the plywood boxes on many cargobikes are, the inner boatbuilder got rebellious and wondered, if the box could not carry the bike? Or – technically spoken – if a cargobike could be a plywood monocoque. The Velowerft concept uses wood for the box and tail up to the saddle combined with an upcycled suspension rear-end. We could also build the rear-end in wood, but consider this l´art pour l´art and prefer to use materials to their best advantage. The result: a full suspension cargobike with a weight of no more than 25 kg – probably even less, work in progress…

Efficiency in material and production.

The bike is pre produced on a flatbed CNC mill like a giant jigsaw puzzle (e.g. Cargoli), equipped with latches and wedges and holds together without the use of clamps until the glue is cured. The carbon footprint of a velowerft bike (estimated at 103 kg of which only 7 kg are plywood and glue) is approx. 50% less than of a cargobike with an aluminium frame and 15% less than a steel cargobike. Materialwise the big challenges are plywood and epoxy-glue. While the latter is now available based on plant oils, boatbuilding-quality ply from certified sources is non-existent – believe it or not. We are currently using simple building ply from spruce, but have to make it thicker to compensate the lower quality.

A few days before my birth my parents visited a bike show. This caused some sort of prenatal imprinting, for I always liked bikes and in 1990 started building a cargobike by hacking apart some old diamond frames and a folding bike. My father joined the project – I still don´t know if for eagerness or concern – and soon our  „Long John“ ran, and it still runs today. (Did anyone say anything against 1970´s bike junk?)

Many years and two professions later we were expecting - to need another cargobike soon. As I suffer from designers disease (inability to simply buy something) the new cargobike had to be homemade, or at least of own design. I was looking for a simple straightforward design and - to my eye – forks on cargo bikes of the Long John type always looked wrong. A fork takes up precious cargo room and transfers (brake) energy to a peculiar point of the frame with the fork acting as a lever. So, the first sketches showed a center-hub steering. As this seemed impossible to build, I quickly forgot the idea until I saw an old Italjet scooter. I ordered a 2nd hand front swing arm with wheel and brake from ebay for little money and found it heavy but usable. It was joined to an old Trek MTB by a single tube by a framebuilder-friend and THE SUB was born.

I was completely surprised by the reactions that followed: people on the street were cargobike enthusiastic! 25 years ago I had been practically invisible riding a cargobike and now I was asked eager questions on every red traffic light. About that time the Bullitt came on the market, followed by many others. The first SUB was followed by a second one, this time with a face-to-face childrens seat, which received appraisal particularly from mothers. „Where can I buy that?“ or „You should sell those!“ was heard so often, that I started re-designing the steering to eliminate all the heavy scooter parts, which also had become more expensive at ebay, since I had published the building instructions on

The project lingered on my computer for three years pushed aside by life´s more import matters and other cargobike projects like the D30 and THE BOX until in 2014 the SUB placed 2nd in a cargobike design competition hosted by IHK Dortmund – by chance the very city where I had build my first cargobike 25 years earlier. So, I finally had the tooling for my front wheel and the first wheels made and ordered a prototype frame.

2017 saw the first series of ten Bastiaen Cargo, followed by another 14 in 2018. Bastiaen Cargo is joined by a growing crowd of customers, fans, friends, suppliers, dealers and helping hands and as I am writing this we are preparing Series3. If you like, please follow us in our blog or on instagram.



Sven Bastiaen Schulz

Maarweg 29
D-53123 Bonn
+49 (0)228 96100479


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