Dutch Bike Chicago is out of business.
I recently noticed that the website for Dutch Bike Co has eliminated new Bakfiets.nl cargo bikes, the only ones they carried, from the online catalog, both in Seattle and Chicago. They have a 2009 left online. When I dropped by the store, they had their orange and red advertising Bakfiets but that was it. Had they sold out of all their stock? Were they going to get more? What about all the people who ask me about the Bakfiets - do I have to send them on a trip to Amsterdam or recommend a Madsen? Even after chatting with them, much remains a mystery.
Long story short, I guess the Bakfiets cargobike didn't have a big margin and didn't sell well enough to get reimported by Dutch Bike so they don't really sell it anymore. Maybe there will be one there to try out and special order in the future. You could possibly get a Bakfiets.nl trike the same way. But for now, if you want it cheaper and sooner, you will have to go through another dealer who still imports them. (possibly several in US -- Try google.) Same with the Onderwater tandem like the one that we bought from Dutch Bike just a couple of years ago and completely recommend to anyone with kids. Or the Onderwater with two kids pedaling and one just sitting that we really should have bought but they didn't make it yet. It's sad that something as terrific as a Bakfiets is losing its brick and mortar dealer in Chicago while other brands that I don't like as much are gaining ground, especially online.
Try JC Lind and Copenhagen in Chicago for the non-Bakfiets/Workcycles brand options - maybe they can get something similar to what you want. Have a look at American manufacturers of two wheeled cargo bikes like CETMA and Organic Engines (among others), too, linked along with other dealers on our About Cargobikes page. Look at the trike options. There are lots of cargo cycles out there these days.
Dutch Bike continues to sell some very nice Linus, Workcycles and Gazelle city bicycles, from medium low to high priced and at various levels of quality. They can give you good advice, and they repair all kinds of bikes. They have a nifty new location near the El and the expensive taco place in Wicker Park. They continue to sell lots of neat accessories. It's a nicer store every time I return. Less and less a boutique, more and more a bike shop. The Workcycles are getting more expensive, but word has it they're being made increasingly in Holland and not in China as was the case a few years ago. With the others it varies by model, too, so ask Vince or Chris and they'll steer you the right way.
But what eliminated the Cargobikes for this main Chicago and Seattle importer? Did customers not understand the usefulness of the product? Not enough sales staff experience carrying children? Carrying dogs? Carrying stuff at all? Maybe it's hard to sell an expensive bike that's also useful in daily life for dull things like errands and lugging kids, unlike an expensive racing bike which comes with a bigger aspirational lifestyle component. Maybe Chicago doesn't have enough sensible bicycling infrastructure yet to attract the families and grocery-carriers who make up the major market for these practical bikes. Perhaps the US market for 'Dutchness' is too oriented to singles-and-DINKs-who-want-simple-his'n'hers-FR8's or something to keep a cargobike dealer going. Could it be they are thinking too hard about coffee out in Washington? Maybe the main store's location in Seattle is on too steep a hill to lug things around by bike and they gave up -- I'm not sure, but eliminating the coolest and most useful product you carry can't improve business.
Incidentally, I notice that the kid-carrying families who run Clever Cycles in Oregon just got a shipment of Bakfiets in with improved NuVinci hubs on them, so they must still have a market.
I'm glad Dutch Bike is still here in Chicago and I hope they sell a lot of durable, sensible city bicycles for many years to come. But, let's face it -- what good are they if they don't sell cargobikes? Isn't it the cargobike that gets you to go there in the first place instead of off to just some other bike store with the same old regular bikes?
Maybe you should drop by or call them up and grumble like I did. Buy a city bike if that's all you need in a bicycle. And come to the cargo bike event we mentioned in the previous post to see the various competitors' options first hand. Cargo bikes make bicycles practical for everyday living. Maybe if enough people show interest they'll reconsider and continue to carry these bikes in Chicago.