Forget the TDU - 'Real Bike' Content!

Those interested in Adelaide’s bicycling history may like to check out a flikr site I have set up illustrating Adelaide’s ‘cargo bike’ culture of the late 1970s and 1980s. See: Adelaide Long Bike flikr There’s also a web page at the Port Adelaide Bicycle User Group’s site at PortBUG. These photos offer a unique glimpse into Adelaide's rather ‘gentle’ utility bike culture in the days before our compulsory helmet laws and risk management, when self reliance meant just that. The Adelaide Long Bikes (or ALBs) were designed and built by Bruce Steer and Ian Grayson. Bruce built the prototype ('old #1') and Ian was responsible for most of those that followed. There were at least 2 or 3 design variations plus various electric assist experiments.

The ALB's then unique giant rear rack + lateral cargo-carrying welded 'dropdowns' are reminiscent of much more recent long bike designs!

Ian’s even longer 'rear basket bike', known locally as the Ho Chi Minh preceded the ALB and was (and remains) rather unique too. Very beautiful and graceful machines and well ahead of their time.

The images come from various collections. I've relied on the builders memories for most of the captions so please let me know of any inaccuracies. If you are (or have been) an Adelaide Long Bike owner and would like to contribute to this photo and text record please contact me here or via the Port BUG’s web site (contact details there).

The Adelaide Long Bike appeared some 20 years before the modern crop of 'long tail' bikes. Given that the ALB featured in the UK's Bike Culture Quarterly in 1996, its even possible that the design inspired some of those new bikes people are riding today! I'm happy to host any pictures that contribute to this early Adelaide contribution to the world of cargo cycling.

As well as photos or reminiscences we’re interested in any information about the contribution that the Adelaide Long Bike (and the Ho Chi Minh) may have made to owners lives. We’re also very interested in the current fate of many of these bicycles, some of which seem to have disappeared altogether. If you only have prints please still contact me - I'm happy to scan them and return to you. Eventually we may have a proper ALB web site. We’re also planning to contribute to a US cargo-bike film currently in preparation - Less Car More Go

I hope you enjoy these pictures. Adelaide Long Bike owners obviously enjoyed their bikes and the car-free mobility they afforded. Many still enjoy that mobility today, more than 3 decades later. It's interesting to look back at the enterprising, vigorous and home-grown spirit of the ALB 'movement' and culture as we now embark on a brand new era of cargo-bike use.

Sam Powrie, Secretary, Port Adelaide Bicycle User Group. http.//portadbug.org

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