Doing Business by Bike

This article was published in 1999, in Newsletter 23.

Image as described adjacent
The support for the ladder is attached via a conventional car tow-hitch

Rene and Ali Shortland started their window cleaning business when they lived in Cambridge, and found that towing their 6 m ladder around by bike was surprisingly easy. They cover the area between Trumpington Road, Glisson Road, Mill Road and Devonshire Road. With the bikes, they don’t have to worry about daytime residents’ parking restrictions, which simplifies life.

Since establishing the business, and building a regular customer base, they’ve now moved out of Cambridge. But they still store their equipment in Cambridge. In the summer months, they cycle into town, hitch the ladder up to Rene’s bike, and set off to do their rounds.

The first hitch that Rene designed was made of wood. This proved to be rather flexible, but the bike was stolen before he had a chance to think about replacing the hitch. I photographed the second version, which is attached by a standard car tow-hitch. This works better, but is still rather heavy, as are the wooden supports. They plan to design a third version eventually, made entirely of aluminium.

Rene and Ali now have an established set of customers, but always welcome more. They can be contacted on (01223) 872715.

Clare Macrae

We’re always keen to hear about unusual bikes around Cambridge, and of businesses run by bike. If you know of any, do tell us.