Cargo Bikes Move Us

There is a sense of optimism that cargo bikes are the ultimate car replacement on American streets. Cargo bikes are starting to gain mainstream acceptance as a way to carry any load that normally would require a car – from cases of beer for a bike advocacy day: 20140521_201218 to moving your children/entire families: B.Filet-2012 SM Bike Fest-863 to your ice cream business:

Courtesy of Oakland's Curbside Creamery

Courtesy of Oakland’s Curbside Creamery

or, you know, camping. If you want to get serious about your cargo. camper013 If you’ve been thinking about getting getting a cargo bike, do it now. While they’re not necessarily cheap, they’re much cheaper than a car, both on a social and individual level. The ones that are built with low-bearing loads feel stable to ride. With an electronic assist, riding with very heavy loads can be a breeze(Also it’s super fun blowing past a person in lycra with four cases of beer in your cargo zone). They can be configured to transport whatever you need, whether its three children or 180 pounds of salmon (pictured below). Check out Xtracycle, Yuba, Metrofiets, Larry vs. Harry for different designs. salmon Businesses like the Portland Mercury have been getting rid of their delivery trucks in favor of cargo trikes. This has saved them on fuel costs and labor costs; Portland State University professor Miguel Figliozzi has presented research explaining how the small size and agility of cargo bikes can limit labor costs for some trips. Companies are now using bikes to deliver beer around Portland, collect recycling in Cambridge, and pick up laundry in Philadelphia. They have also been instrumental for bicycle advocacy. They have been spreading the reach and usability of bicycles, making rabid converts out of those who would never consider wearing lycra. We use them too: our recent Bike Advocacy Day event was supported (almost) entirely by train and cargo bike. As Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists said: “It’s a reflection of the growing utility of cycling, and the propensity to use bikes for more and more activities. It’s giving people more options and flexibility.” To help triple bicycling in California by 2020, cargo bikes are definitely a way forward. The utility of cargo bikes is nothing to scoff at, but the reason I want one is the cool factor.