Sunday, March 15, 2009

WUK bike rack project

The WUK (Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus) is a hot club in Vienna. Especially nice for us cyclists is that they run a non-profit DIY workshop too. They provide tools, assistance (if necessary), and (used) spare parts at moderate costs of 3,00€ per afternoon. Opening times are Monday to Wednesday, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Beside that, the WUK people run several projects and the latest is a really nice one.

As WUK member Jasper Kühn tells us, over the past years an increasing number of newspaper deliverers has been using the repair service. It is to say that it's common in Austrian cities that bicycles are used for this purpose. Most common failures are broken racks and problems with the rear wheel. Newspaper are a heavy loading, so carrier bikes would be a fine choice. Well, carrier bikes are quite expensive and hard to find.

The WUK people developed a prototype for cheap but stable bike racks instead. They are planning to give the racks away for free (being a newspaper deliverer is a job one hardly can live from here). Donations and manpower are welcome, so maybe I'll join them to install those heavy duty racks.


anna said...

These guys (I mean the newspaper deliverers) are truly the secret heroes of the Viennese bicycle culture. You never see them cause they work at night, but you can see their bikes with the green plastic boxes standing around. I'd say most of them are foreigners from poor countries that don't even get paid well for her tough job here.

I think outside of the cities the newspapers are mostly carried out by lazy Austrians in their cars who probably also get paid better.

spiderleggreen said...

I've never seen newspaper bikes over here, but they did have these yellow carts when I was kid. A friend had a route and I would help him out... at 4am! But that was in the city. Most places around here too spread out.

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