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On February 27th, 2008, our dear friend Isobel Kiborn died. Isobel was a passionate environmentalist and community builder. She worked in many ways to have a light touch upon the earth, for many years not owning a car and using her bike for travel. Shortly after her death her friends wanted to keep her memory and spirit alive in a manner that honoured her unique being.
We formed a cargo bike coop. The idea was to create a scheme where people could borrow some kind of self-propelled vehicle or trailer to haul cargo and cut-down on the need to use fuelled vehicles. Friends and acquaintances of Isobel’s donated money, about $4,000, and we began our ambitious plan. Our initial vision was to have self-sustaining hubs with little central administration. We would supply the trailer, cargo, bike or trike, set-up an on-line borrowing schedule and some kind of membership plan for minimal funding and accountability. We ran into two obstacles. We couldn’t resolve insurance issues (what did we need? what could we afford?) and we couldn’t find depots, places where people had the space to store a bike and/or the time to help administer a lending program.
We have, therefore, scaled down our vision. We are now in the process of finding suitable homes for a fleet of trailers, cargo bikes and trikes, which we will buy until we have spent all the donated money. Suitable homes are housing coops and non-profit organizations who could make use of a bike or trailer. We would also consider groups or individuals who are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint. So far we have purchased four trailers and one cargo bike. One of our members scours the internet and so all our purchases to date have been good-quality but second-hand although we may buy, preferably locally-made, new models. We will try to match a suitable bike or trailer with the needs of the group who would like one.
Each trailer or bike will have a memorial number plate with Isobel’s name on it. At the very least we envision seeing at least 15 cargo-hauling bikes, dotted around metro Vancouver. Each one will be a model and an inspiration for a better way of living, just as Isobel was.
We have photographs of some of our existing fleet and some models that are also available. Even custom-made is an option. You are invited to be the lucky and privileged recipient of part of Isobel’s cargo fleet. You can contact us at email@example.com for more information.