Cargo Bike Roundup

With May official bike month in the U.S., we’ll begin the festivities with a roundup of cargo bikes and trikes courtesy of Berlin corespondent Steve Rowell. These puppies answer the common objection to biking, “but I’ve got shit to carry!”

We imagine this sturdy old model, pictured above, delivering barrels of sauerkraut, blood sausage and hefeweisen to the local Bier Garten. The bike equivalent of the sturdy old Frau behind the bar at our local German watering hole, the Red Lion. This is Utility with a capital U.

Sadly, Mr. Homegrown Evolution has forgotten every word of his college German, so all we can make out is that this bike represents the Grüne Liga, some sort of environmental organization. Don’t know if this trike is an ad, or if the Grüne Liga uses it to distribute literature or environmentally correct currywurst.

We imagine this bike belongs to some way eurotrashy DJ dude who uses it to shuttle his 100 kilo collection of Eurodisco hits to all the hot Berlin nightclubs. Gotta say that while we dig the European commitment to biking, health care and the environment, it’s their terrible music that keeps us firmly planted in America. If you don’t believe me, spend some time watching this Eurovision song contest clip by way of an example.
Via Facebook, Russell Bell wrote us to ask about the trike pictured above manufactured by a British outfit called Cycles Maximus which Russell wants to use to deliver produce to a local farmer’s market. Go Russell! We had to plead ignorance never having used one of these things, but as long as you don’t have any big hills or angry motorists it should work just fine.

Sadly in our corner of Los Angeles we have both big hills and angry motorists, which is why Homegrown Evolution uses the amazing Xtracycle for our cargo trips since I can’t imagine riding a wide cargo trike in L.A. With the Xtracycle, cargo cinches up tight in the back making for a narrow profile. This allows passage through tight spaces, such as our substandard bike lanes and busy traffic. You pretty much ride it like you would any other regular bike. Surly has recently come out with a sturdy frame/Xtracycle combination.

Local biking comrade Josef Bray-Ali just picked up a Dutch cargo bike called a bakfiet similar to the one pictured above. You can read his review here. A local Los Angeles dealer, bucketbike.com has started importing bakfiets and other European style bikes to America.

We’ve found hauling cargo on a bike to be tremendously enjoyable. It’s an entertaining challenge to see how many ridiculously heavy things you can carry. Sixty pounds of dog food, bags of concrete, soil and many loads of groceries have all traveled on our Xtracyle. It’s allowed us to get rid of one of our cars and save thousands of dollars. While many of the bikes above are on the expensive side, if you replace a car with them you’ll come out way ahead. And again, it’s just plain fun, which is all that really matters.

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9 Comments

  1. I’ve considered getting a trailer to better enable local grocery/hardware/etc. by bike (or even overnight bike-camping trips in the Angeles Nat’l Forest), but so far I’ve been unable to reconcile the couple hundies that would be required.

  2. I’ve got to say – the bakfiets (and I’m guessing any good cargo bike) really made me feel liberated.

    I really do not need a car to take care of my needs. I can haul crap, kids, whatever.

    I’ve loaded that thing down with pinatas, cake, and beer. It has been stuffed with old furniture and knick-knacks that I’ve dropped off at the local church charity. Heck, I’ve ridden my daughter around town in the thing.

    Sorry to ramble!

    Great article, thanks for highlighting this variety of bicycles. Hopefully the market for them will only grow in the next few years.

  3. tho i recognized your tong’n’chic, there’s good and bad music everywhere. I have no idea what ‘eurovision’ is (oakenfold, perhaps? gag.), but it sounds like the equivalent of the C&W or R&B awards, american survivor (ashley/chutney simpsin/aiken et al) or briteny spears. (tho, her recent paparazzi song actually contained some rmx potential.)
    Mainstream music in the USA went AWOL after hip hop (mid90′s), and a little more than a generation later, still hasn’t shown up.

  4. Haha, just read your Eurovision Songfestival comment and I have to say: I’m from Europe and even we think it’s crap :D

    Greetz

  5. Hi all, for all of you whom are thinking about getting your self a BAKFIETS,there are a view options out there, forget about importing them as you will be blown away by the import duties, freight charges and custom clearing costs. I have been looking around and have been comparing a view models out there and finally decided to go with a model from doubledutchbikes located in NYC, they simple had the best deal out there, I have been riding mine for about 4 weeks now and am very happy with my bike!, cant wait for the summer to kick in, Central park here I come!

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