The Life-Sized City Blog: Crowdfunding Cargo Bikes, History, Social Inclusion and a Bike Race

The crowdfunding film we've made for our project over at Rockethub.

Here at Copenhagenize Design Company, we've been looking forward to this moment for a very long time. Just over a year ago I got the idea to take the traditional, historical Svajerløb cargo bike race that started in 1942 in Copenhagen and stage it in Rio de Janeiro.

Finally, together with Brazilian friends and colleagues, we are today launching a passionate crowdfunded project to stage the first Rio de Janeiro Cargo Bike Championships in 2014. We're absolutely buzzing today.

Let me stop you right there, just to make sure we're on the same page. What we are planning for Rio de Janeiro will be a version of the original svajerløb cargo bike races held from 1942-1960 in Copenhagen. In 1942 a priest, Kristian Skjerring, decided to do something for the social inclusion of the men and boys from the poor neighbourhoods who were the backbone of transporting goods in the city on their armada of cargo bikes. They were invisible in the social hierarchy of the city and he thought they needed some respect. He organised the races on Grønttorvet - now Israel's Square - and the event became incredibly popular for the citizens of the city. The funds raised were used to send the boys to a summer camp on the coast. Social inclusion at its best.

The races were revised in 2009 in Copenhagen - and Copenhagenize has been involved in organising them since - but the race in Rio will mirror the traditional race, with the same goal of social inclusion.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the great cargo bike capitals of the world, as this article of ours will attest. The army of cargo bike messengers - cargueiras in Portuguese - make the city work. In the Copacabana neighbourhood alone, there are over 11,000 cargo bike deliveries a day.

Nevertheless, the cargueiras do not enjoy the respect of the citizens as much as they should in they role as some of the hardest working people in the city. Enter the Rio cargo bike championships - Campeonato Carioca de Cargueiras.

We would be most pleased if you had a look at the film and our crowdfunding site. It's all about history, social inclusion and adrenaline. A kick-ass bike race, a pedestal on which the riders can stand proud before their city and a win-win for everyone involved. Including those who donate.


- More on the history of the Svajere - Danish cargo bike messengers - and the history here and here.

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