Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dreaming of Cargo Bikes and Car Free Days

by Brooke Johnson
Friday February 06, 2009, 11:42 PM

I recommend the above blog for some cool stuff about living green in Pennsylvania

So, you want to stop driving a gas guzzling car and ride a bike. Only one problem; you have a few kids and lots of stuff to haul around. Solution? A cargo bike.

There are several different kinds of cargo bikes. What really makes a cargo bike different then an average bike is it's ability to hold lots of stuff. Most of them are extra long either in the front or the back. The Madsen pictured above is a "new" kind of cargo bike. Instead of having two wheels in the back or a cart in the front, this one is designed with a cart in the back, similar to a single wheeled bike trailer. The advantage of having a cargo bike over a bike trailer is that it is easier to control. Bike trailers have a tendency to pull a bike off balance making it harder to steer or turn.

The more traditional push-cart style bicycles or Bakfiets can be more then twice the price of the Madsen. Despite the price they are hugely popular in Europe and are gaining ground in Portland. I really love the Philadelphia made Haley bikes (trikes?) that are similar to Bakfiets but way cheaper and were designed to haul a drum set instead of children.

Another popular option is the Xtracycle. The Xtracycle frame can be attached to an existing bike or can be bought as a complete bike. The idea is a extra long bike that can hold everything from groceries to people on the back.

They are popular because they do not take up much space on the road.

All of these options sound awesome but are way beyond my price range. A friend is offering to look into building a cargo bike like the Haley bicycle for me so maybe one day I can ride around in style. Until then, I guess I will stick to my folding bike or look for a good used bike and just attach things to my bike rack. I also have a nice bike trailer I bought so I could take my daughter with me. It has a separate compartment for groceries etc. but not nearly as nice as having a cargo bike.

The hills and lack of bike lanes around here are not helping either.

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