Recently I observed a single rider pedaling a front-loading cargo bike in my neighborhood. It was a cold, early afternoon and I also noticed that the large, cargo box was covered with a canopy of plastic, arched over the top like a covered wagon, to protect its precious cargo (possibly children inside). I thought I’d seen this set-up pass by me more than once before in the Joaquin Neighborhood and had admired the effort; then suddenly and vividly I imagined tens of such bikes traversing the Joaquin on any given day out on errands or commuting. The vision was so vivid and animated, I could see their smiling faces, but soon the vision faded away… into the future.
A few days later I was pulling out of the driveway with my own bike, on my way to ride with a friend, when I immediately spotted the above-mentioned cargo bike heading up 200 East. I raced west on 500 North and around the corner to see if I could catch up with the modern-day bakfiets: I did at 700 North and introduced myself, explaining the story so far. When I mentioned BikeWalk Provo, to my surprise the cargo bike driver introduced herself in turn as “Christine Frandsen, the new Director of Communications for BikeWalk Provo!” To complete the story I then asked Christine if she would mind an interview, she was very gracious.
How long have you been biking in Provo?
“I’ve been biking here in Provo since we moved here three years ago.”What type of bike are you presently riding?”It’s an electric front-loading cargo bike from thecargobike.com. We purchased it second-hand from another biking family in Provo.”
Why did you choose to start biking, exercise/transit?
“I’ve always enjoyed when I can be active outside. With kids, there are more logistics. We traveled to Denmark and the Netherlands where we rented cargo bikes, and loved the experience. I wanted to bring that bike culture back to my daily routine in Provo. I feel more more freedom on a bike than driving in a car, getting the kids in and out of car seats takes time and energy, and on a bike I feel happy and connected to my surroundings. Sometimes I can even take shorter routes than cars, it’s overall a more enjoyable ride for all of us. As for my kids (six and two years old), I feel it expands their world view literally and physically and adds a lot of fun to our day.
In one year my cargo bike has logged 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles), just going to the grocery store, the library, school and other such trips; we have a car, but we try to only use it for long distances like vacations or ski trips to Sundance.
Another fun fact: I have four friends/family who have bought cargo bikes in the past year after seeing how much we love ours.”
What are some of the benefits of biking in Provo?
“I’m grateful for the work done in Provo recently on active transportation, especially since I was a student. The ‘200 East’ bike way is my favorite route, and the mountains here are beautiful!
This past Fall I attended BYU’s first course on global warming (Climate Change, Science & Solutions by Ben Abbott), and as a project for that class, I became more involved with Bike/Walk Provo and learned even more about active transportation in Provo.”
What are some of the problems in biking here?
“Drivers are largely friendly to me, but distracted drivers — cars pulling out while the driver’s looking left, or looking at their cell phone – tho. The biggest problem is when bike infrastructure isn’t connected and a bike lane ends unexpected. With kids in tow, the vulnerability of those situations is amplified.”
Are you a follower of Bike/Walk Provo?
“I’m excited to serve as the new Director of Communications!” [that says it all—Stan Morris]