In 2006 I was making Carry Freedom bicycle trailers for the Royal Mail, and noticed that their bicycles were in terrible condition. As a side project I studied why their bicycles suffered, and set about coming up with something better.
The Royal Mail are tough customers, their bikes have to fit everyone, young/old, large/small, male/female, be absolutely bomb proof, endure crazy mileage and be everyday practical. Also the obvious step of protecting the chain with a chain cover was impossible as these just get smashed.
“…so I looped the rear frame so it followed and protected the chain, while at the same time supporting the rear wheel, and thus the Paper Bicycle was born.”
Over the next few years I developed the design on paper in my spare time, before finally collaborating with a local frame builder to make the first prototype in March and April 2008. I trialed this over the summer of 2008 before I brazed a set of five 2nd generation prototypes, which are largely the Paper Bicycle you see today.
I approached a frame maker I had previously worked with in Taiwan, and worked with them over the winter to get the frame ready for serial production. The first production of Paper Bicycle frames were made in March 2009. The first finished bicycle was delivered to Ben in Leeds in January 2010.
My name is Nick Lobnitz, I am an Engineer, one time farmer and Silversmith. I live and work on a farm in southern Scotland, and trained as a mechanical engineer at Glasgow University. As a child cycling was the only way to get around independently, and from there it became how I got to University.
Over the years I awoke firstly to the fun to be had mountain biking, then to the convenience of the bicycle as cheap/fast transport, before finally seeing how bicycles often underpin places that are nice to live in. While staying in Copenhagen and Groningen I saw how cities where the bicycle is a normal way of getting from one place to another are not only nicer places to be, but simply more productive economies.
I abandoned my plans to design and build robots and instead settled down to applying my skills to furthering the bicycle as daily transport, hopefully reaching parts of the world that do not yet cycle. I had no idea how to get into the cycling industry, until in frustration I designed a replacement for my awful mono wheel bicycle trailer. I realised that this was actually good enough to sell, and so began what became the Carry Freedom City.
Carry Freedom launched around the idea that part of a cars appeal is its ability to carry stuff, and if a bicycle could carry the same stuff as a car could then it could replace a car. Trailers are a brilliant way for a bicycle to carrying huge amounts of stuff occasionally. So Carry Freedom becomes Car Free .
It turns out that trying to run a bicycle company, and a bicycle trailer company is simply too much work. So I sold Carry Freedom in 2013 to its first customer Used GmbH, and now continue as their designer. Its like watching your first child leave home and make their own way in the world, I am a very proud father.
Paper Bicycle is a brand of Simple City, which is the trading name of Nick Lobnitz. Our registered office is:Simple City High Clunch Farm Stewarton Ayrshire KA3 5JT VAt #: GB 829 138 511
If you would like to licence the frame, talk to us first. Your not the first, and it’s polite and easy. If you copy the frame without permission, we will seek damaged and take action to stop you.
© 2006-2013 Nick Lobnitz. The words ‘Paper Bicycle’ and the bicycle logo are trademarks. US Patent – US D612,300 S cover the bicycle design and aspects thereof, European Community registered design 001505512-1, 001505512-2, and 001505512-3 cover the bicycle design and aspects thereof. UK and European Community unregistered design right and copy right also covers the bicycle design and aspects thereof.