Recently I have been talking with quite a few families and telling them the wonders of biking. Many of them are surprised when they find out a) that I am married, b) that I have a little one, and c) that we do most of our errands by bicycle. Many families see it as an almost impossible task to go for a recreational bicycle ride with the family let alone to run some errands with the bicycle. I can see why this occurs. Many of us are too accustomed to conventional bicycles. For a family with multiple little ones it is really hard to have one in the trailer one in a child seat and one veering in and out of the bike lane on their own bike. I believe what many people are lacking is a knowledge of the mighty cargo bike.
Cargo bikes are bicycles that can carry way more than conventional bicycles. They include Xtracycles, Yuba Mundos, Bakfiets, and even Utah’s own Madsen Cycles. All of these bicycles make kid hauling and cargo hauling a blast. Personally we have the Xtracycle and love it. We us it for groceries, picnics, and dates. Our good friends Brad and Jenny have a Bakfiets that they use for their two kids and Costco trips at the same time. I also know people with Madsens and Yubas who swear by them.
Cargo bikes actually have a little bit of a cult following. The owners of each different variety will post pictures of what they were able to haul and how far they hauled it. If you start googling these names and going to websites you will find a wide collection of trips and stuff carried. Everything from groceries and kids to refrigerators and toilets. It really is quite fun. Which brings me to the point of this whole post.
There was a great article written about all the different options out there and how they can be put to work. You can find it here. None of this is to say that you can not go by bike unless you have a cargo option. I am getting to know a family right now that has 4 boys ages ranging from 8 months to about 8 years old that ride their bikes a ton and they do not have a cargo bike. They have a great system of tag-a-longs and a trailer. What I am saying is that cargo bikes make trips to the store or out to dinner an easy and less stressful event than trying to wrangle the kids while balancing bags on your handlebars. While all of us are trying to make differences in our community or at least be more connected to it we (the families) do not need to feel left out of the loop and trapped in our cars all the time. There are options and they can be a great way to help make our neighborhoods safer and our local economies stronger. So, do your homework find a system that works for you and leave the car at home every once in awhile. You may be surprised to find how great things can be from the saddle of your bicycle.