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Swift Industries moved out of Martina and Jason’s home and into an amazing wharehouse space in the neighborhood of Ballard. The days of sewing in pajamas are over, but the move has made way for a dedicated production and design space, a simply beautiful commute, and a spot in what we think is an emegering creative hub unlike anything we’ve been a part of.

The move does come with a few challenges, however. It is worth mentioning that the two of us here at Swift have a certain disdain for driving. We’re not trying to mislead anyone: we own a car and it comes in handy when we’re hauling lumber, heading to a week of backpacking, and skipping town with bikes to explore Portland. What gets me every time though is when I jump in the car to drive within a ten mile range in order to transport heavy and cumbersome goods.

Enter Bilenky Cargo Bike. Ben over at 20/20 Cycle suggested we test the cargo bike while we move our studio. Ten days later here’s what I have to share:

I will not give it back.

What I find most brilliant about the Cargo Bike is that, at the risk of sounding underwhelming, it is exactly like riding a bike. 110 lbs of cargo going up and down Seattle’s hills and one would think that the cyclist would feel the difference. Of course the heaviness of the load was felt, but the important qualities of the bicycle such as the steering and handling were in no way compromised. I even pulled right out of the saddle to get up Union without a second thought. As I loaded 40 lbs of chicken feed, 50 lbs of pine chips, and five gallons of compost on to the platform a well intentioned fellow desperately tried to get me to put my purchases in the back of his new pick-up. The lady working at the garden store scoffed at him and told him out-right that she knew I could do it. I ruffled my feathers, and felt like a million bucks as the cargo bike and I chugged slowly up Capitol Hill.

Over ten days, and in only a handful of trips we have carried:

1 sewing machine

1 roll of fabric

1 chair

11 packages

40 lbs  dog food

40 lbs chicken feed

50 lbs pine chips

55 lbs of pannier backboards

groceries galore

1 tree

1 rubbermaid tub full of panniers

1 box of fasteners

1 friend

Having travelled throughout Latin America, we’ve been inspired by the use of cargo bicycles for innovative and simple business use. Martina lived in La Paz, Bolivia for some time and front-load cargo bicycles were used by food vendors, shoe-makers, produce distributors, and for luggage transport.

Swift Industries is ready to put the Bilenky to use in all sorts of ways: inspired by the recent ‘food cart fever’ in Seattle we’re building a transportable Swift Store. As a sponsor of this year’s Polo World Championships, you’ll find us set-up on the sidelines pedalling our small goodies and some bicycle accessories!

Transportable store, chicken feed, sewing machines, soil, fabric….bring it. If it fits, it’s going by bicycle!