When you hear the term “cargo bike,” what comes to mind? An aptly bearded hipster pushing a case of craft beer on the front bed of his custom built long-john? The cool mom who, week after week, tows her kiddos to the farmer’s market secured to the deck of her Xtracycle? The perception that only a highly dedicated class of cyclist can travel as such creates a misnomer of the term “cargo bike.” Anyone can ride a cargo bike because any bike can be a cargo bike. Wear a backpack and boom! — beard or no beard — you’re carrying cargo by bike.
Since most people already own a backpack, this is the most simplistic and inexpensive way to carry cargo on your bike. But if you don’t want to be the mule that shoulders the cargo, there are lots of cargo carrying products out there that can help to lighten the load from your back. Individual bike travel needs are diverse. You may have to experiment to discover a cargo-carrying set-up that works for you and your family.
Whether you’re hauling beer, produce or kids, once you understand your options, you’ll be shuttling family members and running errands in no time. Here are a few options of cargo bikes to help you begin your search:
TREK DISTRICT 9
Built for the utilitarian biker, the District 9 blends function and class to make a slick commuter. This reliable 9-speed bike is detailed by a front basket with a built in U-lock carrier, mechanical disc brakes, puncture-resistant tires, and a set of elegant fenders. Also available in a step-through model called the Chelsea 9. Either model $789.
SOMA PICK-UP ARTIST The lesser-known cycle truck is much like a regular bike but is designed to handle cumbersome cargo. The Pick-Up Artist platform rack is fixed to the front of the frame, not the fork. This secures a heavier load keeping it from flopping around as it would in a bar-mount basket. A smaller 20” front wheel and low center of gravity stabilizes steering. The user-friendly step-through frame makes for easy-on/easy-off mounting and dismounting. The lesser-known cycle truck is much like a regular bike but is designed to handle cumbersome cargo. The Pick-Up Artist platform rack is fixed to the front of the frame, not the fork. This secures a heavier load keeping it from flopping around as it would in a bar-mount basket. A smaller 20” front wheel and low center of gravity stabilizes steering. The user-friendly step-through frame makes for easy-on/easy-off mounting and dismounting. Full set-up $1800.
YUBA SPICY CURRY
Think Longtail cargo bike enhanced. Highlights of the Spicy Curry are its electric assist motor and smaller 20” back wheel that makes for an easy, reliable ride. Low-riding cargo lightens the experience, brightening up your ride with more smiles and less sweat. A good choice if you have hills to climb. Electric Model $4,200.
XTRACYCLE LEAP DIY
If you don’t want to part with your cur- rent bike, Xtracycle’s Basic Kit will transform your trusty whip into a long- tail minivan that can haul stuff or people on its flight deck. The kit will also set you up for add-ons like waterproof saddlebags and/or “hooptie” safety rails that keep kids secure on the deck. All for an additional cost, of course. Basic Kit $599.
SURLY BIG DUMMY The Big Dummy is a sturdy workhorse. Slow and steady, this long tail is built for heavy-duty carrying capacity. This particular model can adopt all of the Xtracycle add-ons and smaller 26” wheels keep the center of gravity low, making it accessible for even a smaller rider. Full set-up $2,100.