Can I have a closer look?
Sure! Here's a bunch of photos. I'm happy to arrange to meet in Boston with anyone interested.
Did you make it yourself?
I'm afraid not. It was built by hand in Denmark by a small company called Christiania, after the commune settlement in Copenhagen where the company was founded (and based for a long time - but they've now moved, and the settlement is under threat from the government). See the Christiania Bikes website for more information (and some photos of us!) or this page for all the specs.
Is it safe?
I feel very safe riding it, and I have no reservations about riding with my two small daughters. The construction of the trike is very, very solid. The box is thick plywood, and the rest of the bike is steel, with very good quality components throughout. It has a coaster brake on the rear wheel and discs on the front wheels. There's a lap belt for older kids (like my 3 1/2 year old), and a three-point harness for younger kids (like my 14-month old) - these mechanisms probably aren't compliant with US safety standards, but I don't have any problem with them.
How much can you carry?
The other day, I popped into The Bike Stop on the bike path in Arlington and created a bit of sensation - and one one of the staff asked me to take his sister and her friend for a ride. Why not? When they emerged from the shop, it turned out that they were 7 and 9, and a little chubby... but we still had a nice ride and the bike handled perfectly well. The maximum weight recommended by Christiania is 100kg, or about 220lbs. I've carried all sorts of stuff, including children, dogs, groceries, rubbish, and a big portable PA system.
Is it hard to ride?
Not at all - once you get the hang of it. I would recommend some practice before taking on passengers. It can be tricky going round corners at speed, just because you have to lean into the corner to avoid flipping over (I've never flipped, but I've come close!)
What else can you do with a Christiania trike?
They aren't only good for schlepping kids around town, though they are great for that. Since they're all built to the customer's specifications, they can do lots of things, including carrying up to six kids, I think.
In London (and elsewhere), they're used in their purest form as courier and delivery bikes. The big box and 100kg capacity is definitely a couple steps above what your average courier on a fixed-gear bike can do!
This would also be the ideal vehicle (even in Boston with the harsh winters) as an alternative to a car. For journeys of six or seven miles, it's perfectly comfortable with any sort of load; I loved doing all the shopping in London with ours. And aside from the practical appeal, it makes a great statement!
Where can I get one?
If you're in Denmark, you'll have no problem, since you already see them everywhere. We bought ours in London, from the wonderful shop Velorution. They're very helpful, and they have all sorts of Euro utility bikes and elements of bike culture. If you're in the US, you're pretty much out of luck right now. Christiania does not export to the US, so the only way to get one over here is to buy in Europe and bring back as we did.
Having said that, I am considering importing Christiania trikes. If you might be interested in buying one, please post a comment.