A Long John cargo bike is an impressive piece of kit. I purchased this one in 2007 (photo above). The previous owner got it fifteen years before from a Copenhagen dockyard that had closed down; he told me there were 100 of them there for sale. I believe the sign translates as ‘machine workshop.’
The weak point on a Long John is, as you might expect, the bottom of the steering column. This one needs some welding there. I’ve not done anything with it apart from replacing the saddle. I took it out of storage in January 2012 when my Royal Enfield lawnmower was delivered, and I took a few photos of the two together. I’m now moving to a new warehouse, so it has seen the light of day again.
1972 Urania Long John Cargo Bike
ex Copenhagen Dockyard Workshops
Long Johns have been made in Denmark for over 70 years. SCO (Smith & Co), of Odense, Denmark, were one of the original manufacturers. In the mid-fifties, they also made Sachs-powered SCO autocycles.
Urania was one of various companies that manufactured Long Johns. After Smith & Co took over Urania in the 1960′s, SCO Long Johns used a Urania badge. Urania Cykler is still a major bicycle company in Denmark. Below you can see one of their prewar motorcycles, a 1937 model with 98cc Fichtel & Sachs engine. (The US98 was the Gents frame, while UD98 was the Ladies model)
VIDEO OF BEN RIDING THE LONG JOHN ROUND THE YARD
LONG JOHN MANUFACTURER CODE AND DATE
On my Long John, the frame number S29050J is stamped on the cross bar at the seat end.
According to the Long John website, the S prefix denotes the manufacturer SCO (Smith & Co) of Odense. The J suffix makes it a 1972 model.
In 1942 Denmark introduced a nationwide sytem of serial numbers for bicycles and mopeds which encodes both the manufacturer and the year of manufacture. I listed the details in 2007 on my first Online Bicycle Museum website –
1972 Urania Long John Cargo Bike + 1930s Royal Enfield Lawnmower