How do you pronounce your name, URKAi?
Anyway you want to. Our name is multilingual, so it really depends what language you are speaking. In English, we pronounce ur as your and kai as kye.
What does URKAi mean?
Many things, but we prefer, Your Earth. UR, as most of you know is short for your, and in Latin, Kai is rooted in the word Gaius, which means earth.
Why are your bikes so expensive?
Great question but it all depends on your perspective. As a society, we have gotten very used to cheap and disposable items instead of buying something that costs a little more but will last a lifetime (and even pass it down to your kids). Another important distinction with our bikes is that they were designed as a “vehicle” for the Dutch. They are built for upright comfort, reliability, strength to carry cargo and children, and ultra low maintenance – everything from strong rims, automatic lights, and all weather. Also keep in mind that the average cost of owning and operating a car per year ranges from about $7700 to almost $14000 per year (see this report for more info). When you compare that to our beautifully crafted bikes starting at $995 and cargo bikes starting at $1995 they pay for themselves rather quickly. We have even had some astute customers calculating the pay back period of less than a year when substituting for their bus pass! And that does not even consider your happiness and the benefits of regular natural exercise without spending hundreds and even thousands on fancy spandex.
Our bikes, which are handmade by Azor in the Netherlands, has a design and manufacturing philosophy of building quality bikes that last a lifetime. Each bicycle is hand-crafted one at a time, and have hand-soldered, steel frames that are built to handle both heavy loads (riders/cargo) and constant use. In addition, each frame has been coated with an anti-rust primer and a tough and durable powder coat (you must see the paint job in person to fully appreciate the quality) but all you need to know is that you don’t need to worry about rust anymore. Azor actually tests its components and paint finishes in a salt and steam bath (accelerated corrosion) for three months to test for the ultimate durability because in Holland bikes are traditionally left outdoors year round for decades (well the ones that actually last that long). Add up all of this craftmanship, ultra low maintenance, with top quality components such as automatic lights (no batteries required), strong front and rear carriers (so you can easily carry everything you need), ultra strong rims with thick spokes, rear wheel locks (one turn of the key, and your bike cannot be ridden away), fenders and skirt guards (all-weather riding), enclosed brakes, chains and gears (so you can wear whatever clothes you want without the fear of the dreaded “grease stains”). Add in the elegance of the traditional Dutch upright riding with the ability to wear your most stylish outfit including shoes and you end up with one sweet ride.
One last point, whether you are buying a new outfit or a new bike, you should always ask yourself how does this make me feel? Your bike should make you smile.
Can your bikes be used as a commuter bike?
A big, yes! Our bikes are designed to be used daily as a “vehicle” – year round - and they have proven themselves with reliable service for decades. Let’s start at the beginning….
Enjoy the ride - Our bicycles have a fully upright position for ultimate comfort for both the young and the young at heart. We have had a number of clients with both back and hip issues who were finally able to ride in comfort – smiling ear-to-ear.
Clothes – here is a novel concept, wear your work clothes to work thanks to fully upright ride (no funny wrinkles in your clothes or exposed rear cracks for your boss to see or worse if you are the boss…) and enclosed chain, gears, brakes, fenders and of course skirt guards for the ladies and coat guards for the gents to keep your clothes clean and dry.
Cargo – Yes, your bike should be able to carry more than just you. With front (25 kg capacity) and rear carriers (50 kg capacity), purses and briefcases can easily be stored up front or on a set of panniers in the rear. Plus, what good is it commuting to work by bike if you can’t pick up some groceries on the way home?
Storage of your bike – Our bikes are designed to live outside in the rain (everything from the paint, components and enclosed/sealed chain, gears and brakes), so you don’t need to worry if covered storage is not available (very few people have this luxury). Just use a seat cover so your seat stays dry for the ride home.
Security – All of our bikes come standard with a rear wheel lock – did you know that these types of locks are actually required by Dutch and other insurers in Europe for adequate theft prevention? In addition to the rear wheel lock, we recommend a good chain lock from the frame to a fixed object.
Reliability - Our bikes are designed as “vehicles”, so we equip our bikes with strong rims and spokes so your wheels don’t go out of true when you hit a pothole (our 28″ tires actually smooth your ride by rolling over potholes instead of into them) and we also equip our bikes with anti-puncture tires to keep you rolling past all of those “sport bikes” with flat tires.
Lights - No need to worry about a late meeting or the shorter days in the fall and winter – our bikes come equipped with hub dynamo powered lights (or battery powered lights), so you can see where you are going and others can see you as well. Our tires also have reflective strips around the circumference on both sides of the tire.
Hills - Easily roll up the hills in our “granny gear” (ultra low gear on the Shimano 8 nexus) so you don’t break a sweat and we can even outfit any bike or cargo bike with a NuVinci 360 hub for even easier hill climbing.
Check out our commuter bike page for more info.
Can I find your bikes at a bike store?
…Why you won’t find our bikes in a bike store…
No, we have exclusive distribution in Canada for all of our bikes. Although we keep getting requests from bike stores, we keep saying NO! Our bikes belong outdoors, where they can be ridden because that’s where they shine and make people smile. We think it is ridiculous that some stores don’t let you try before you buy (hmm…I wonder why…). We also think its ridiculous that the industry is so sports oriented they have made bikes so complicated that if you don’t have 4% body fat, wear full spandex, be an expert bike mechanic, that you don’t really belong in their store. Worse still, they take some of the same frames (which are especially horrible for women) throw on some cheap components and call them “city bikes”. Oh but wait, it gets better…they offer city bikes without fenders, cargo carriers, chain guards, skirt guards, lights, stand, lock and bell – so if you want to actually use it as a city bike you have buy the parts and pay to have them installed. Can you imagine buying a car and paying extra for lights, horn, trunk and door locks? Or how about having to buy special clothes to drive your car and then change in to your work clothes when you get to work?
But wait, it get’s better…they offer exposed chains, gears, brakes and other components that rust so that you can’t store your bike outdoors and here is the kicker, because all of the dirt, rain, salt are allowed to get into all of your components, your bike will require frequent servicing and parts replacement… so who were these bikes designed for?
We make it easy for you to try our bikes
We like to see people smile, not only do we offer regular meetups to try our bikes, we also offer private viewings/test rides - just call or email to book your appointment.
Do you deliver?
Yes, similar to your handcrafted bike, we hand deliver, your bike ready to ride – just hop on and go - in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Waterloo, Hamilton…
We ship across Canada. For the most part, it is standard shipping outside of our service area in Ontario and Quebec with some minor assembly required – easily performed at any bike shop.
What size of bikes do you carry? Bikes for the petite and the big & Tall…
We have bicycles for all sizes and shapes – from the very petite (under 5 feet tall) to those up to 7 feet tall! So yes, finally, there is a bike that is right for you - handmade – for you - in Holland.
How do I pick the right size for me?
With all of the sport industry hype for “fitting a bike” you may believe you need a full team of engineers and a racing crew to get the right bike. Our bikes can easily be adjusted using both the seat height and the handlebars for comfort.
Here is our easy fitting guide:
Less than 4’9″ – 45 cm
4’9” – 5’4′ – 49 cm
5’5″ - 5’7″ – 53 cm
5’8″ – 6’0″ – 57 cm
6’1″ - 6’4″ - 61 cm
6’4″- 6’9″ – 65 cm
More than 6’10″+ 70 cm
Our bakfiets.nl and Milano cargo bikes are universal size with a very low step through – making them great for sharing.
Where can you service these bikes?
Because the bicycles are designed for durability, maintenance will be minimal, but we can always service them for you (if you are in our mobile service area) or you can take them to any professional bike shop.
How long is the warranty?
Azor bikes and bakfiets.nl cargo bikes come with a 10 year warranty on the frame and one year on the components (excluding tires).
How do I get one of your bikes?
Give us call at 514-225-1809 or email us and we will deliver one right to your front door. We will even spend the time to make sure your bike is adjusted for your ideal comfort and answer any questions you may have.
Can I rent one of your bakfiets?
Yes, we do rent our bakfiets and bikes but mainly for promotional uses. All you need to do is ask – email@example.com.
Do you have a retail store?
Yes, it is true, we are trying to find a space! We have been looking, and it is more time consuming than we thought. We want our office and a show room all in one. This process will take a while, and we are positive the perfect space is out there, somewhere.
We have a consulting office (for our business clients) and a warehouse – it was the only way to be family friendly (we host “learn to ride a bakfiets” sessions in Ottawa, Kingston, Montreal and Toronto – you can check out the photos on our facebook page) in addition, as you can imagine, we need a lot of floor space for storing industrial bakfietsen (4 feet by 11 feet) as well as the regular bakfiets/ bakfiets trikes which no retail location can fit!
Do you have a payment plan?
Yes, we have partnered with a leasing firm to provide payment options for our business customers. This payment option is available for both bike fleets or even just one bicycle or bakfiets, which makes it a great option for small businesses. We also have payment options for customers in Ontario and Quebec.
How much is shipping?
It depends where you live, but usually between $65 – $90. We try to minimize our impact on the environment by bulking orders together especially for our valet delivery service to Ottawa, Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, Waterloo.
Are these the original bakfiets?
Yes, the one and only, Bakfiets.nl bakfiets, also referred to as cargo bikes, which was invented and patented by Martin van Andel in Holland. Shortly after becoming a father, Martin got the idea for a two-wheel cargobike. He tested various models before he settled on what is now the bakfiets cargo bike. By placing the box between the two wheels combined with the low geometry, he created a cargobike that remained easy to ride and balanced beautifully. Most importantly, the children are placed in full view in front of the rider making it easy to communicate and share those precious moments.
Martin thought through every detail including adding a patented “stabilo” stand which keeps the bakfiets rock solid while loading cargo. He even added ridges on both sides of the marine grade wooden box to ensure kids can easily climb in and out by themselves as they get older.
What are they used for?
They are used for both recreation as well as a substitute or a replacement for your car because they can carry both kids and cargo (groceries, tools, toys, beach gear…). With a bakfiets, in addition to being an environmentally friendly option, it is also a great way to get some exercise in a natural way – like walking (without spandex or thinking about it) and you do not need to worry about parking fees, fuel expenses. The best part for parents is that a bakfiets may be one of the only vehicles in the world where your kids sit in front of you – allowing you to easily communicate and enjoy the ride together.
Are the cargobikes hard to ride?
No. They feel a little different from a traditional bicycle, but you will quickly get used to it. It is best to start without your kids (Tip: Don’t let your kids see the cargobike until after you have had your test ride) or cargo to get used to it first. Not long after your initial ride, it will feel as natural as a regular bicycle.
Check out this video we made complete with cheesy music to see how fast people learn to ride (yes we hosted learn to ride sessions in the winter:
Do I have to hold the bike while my kids climb in?
No, thanks to Bakfiets.nl, and their typical attention to detail, they have invented and patented a “stabilio” parking stand, which allows your kids to safely climb in and out themselves.
Can I try one?
Yes, we have hosted and will continue hosting “learn to ride a bakfiets” meetups in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. We also usually have an Oma and Opa with us to try. Please follow us on facebook or twitter for locations, times and photos or check out our home page. We also offer private appointments in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal – just call or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve.
It is just as important to know who your are buying from as it is what you are buying and that’s why you will always find both Kendra & Andrew, owners of Urkai, parents, and proud “bakfieters”, at every meetup. We only sell what we love and use ourselves and trust to carry our most important passenger – our three year-old son.