How Much Can You Carry on a Bike Part II

weight bench on Xtracycle

Despite owning a cargo bike for seven years, using it to haul countless loads of groceries, hardware and even people, I often find myself doubting its capabilities. Recently, I needed to transport an unused weight bench a few blocks to a friend’s house. I put the task off for weeks, assuming that I’d need to do this on one of the days we rent a car.

Impatient with the mess in the garage, I decided to see if I could bike it over. I strapped the weight bench to my Xtracycle and off I went on one of the smuggest journeys of my life. My smugness did not go unnoticed. As I crossed Sunset Boulevard a fixie riding hipster rode up alongside and shot some video with his smart phone. In addition to this blog, my weight bench journey is immortalized somewhere on Facebook.

It took two trips–one for the bench and the other to move 100 pounds of weights and a barbell.

I still owe Syd Mead a load of watermelons.

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  1. Nicely done!

    Yesterday I carried 42 pounds of freshly harvested onions five miles back from our community garden plot.

    But the absolute sketchiest thing I have ever carried was about 200 lineal feet of 1/2″ aluminum tube, in 12 foot lengths. I strapped it around my top tube, so the weight was balanced okay.

    But every little bump or steering would start waves in all the tubes, which would jerk me all over the road. The tubes would go one way while I was trying to go the other. It was very, very frightening, and I had to ride a few miles through downtown Vancouver, BC.

    • Next time, tape or strap the ends of all the tubes together and tie the tubes on each side of you, assuming you carried them on each side of the bike. That will cut down of all the waves and make for a more stable ride.

      I would carry 60 lbs of kids, one in the front basket and the other on the seat in back and ride from 10 to 20 miles just because it was fun. But, I was younger and stronger then. And, skinny.

  2. The most enduring memory of my first trip to Copenhagen is that of the sheer number of bikes, all kinds of bikes carrying all kinds of things: huge packages, construction tools and materials, multiple children, bags and bags of groceries – and at all times of the day and night. Of course, the generous bike lanes throughout the city made biking quite safe and very convenient. Living in a mountainous, rural area with narrow, winding roads where biking is a challenge for any but the extremely fit, this was an amazing revelation to me.

  3. Do you have recommendations for carrying 2 kids (60 lbs +) by bicycle in a hilly area? Was thinking about getting an electric townie but don’t want to just stuff the kids in a trailer. We have a front kid seat (just behind the handle bars) and a rear seat, but the rear seat conflicts with the panniers and I’m not sure I could keep the bike upright while adding the second kid in that configuration anyway. Thank you!

  4. Glad to see this update to one of my favorite utility/recreations. I tried this myself once and failed miserably. My cargo rack is made of a few 1″ PVC supports attached to a Topeak removable rack (original max weight 25# before the alterations) and it didn’t work out as well for a few reasons.

    1. I ride a 29″ single speed mountain bike, making it very top-heavy, very quickly.

    2. You can’t beat the Xtracycle due to that extra length and therefore added stability.

    3. I might have been drinking.

    I did however manage to transport a few pallets the other day, although I also bled a lot and dropped them several times in the process. 🙂

    Nice work! Cheers!

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