When you are the bike guy (or gal) or more specifically the cargo bike guy (or gal) among non-bike people you you tend to get lots of emails, tweets, texts and stops in the hall when a major publication features bicycles on the front page.
This week it’s been the Wall Street Journal article about cargo bikes being the new station wagon.
Here’s a snippet from the article, which you can read here.
Mr. Jones did not drive. Nor did he take the subway. Instead, he piloted his two children via the deck of his Yuba Mundo, a so-called “longtail” cargo bike. (His wife rode her own bike.) Picture a mountain bike, but with a stouter frame and smaller wheels, stretched out and lowered in the back. “We actually beat our friends who drove back to TriBeCa,” Mr. Jones said. While Mr. Jones does garage a BMWX5 SUV, his car rarely sees daylight within the city limits. Rather, for daily trips like the mile-and-a-half commute from TriBeCa to his children’s school in Greenwich Village, he simply hops on another kind of SUV—one that actually includes a bit of sport.
Mr. Jones’s choice is becoming an increasingly popular one in the U.S. The country’s biggest seller of the Yuba Mundo is Joe Bike, a Portland, Ore., store specializing in “high-performance urban, utility and touring bikes.” The owner, Joe Doebele, said that when he began carrying cargo bikes—a catchall term covering a variety of bike styles built for functional hauling—five years ago, he thought they would be for just that, cargo. “But parents, mostly moms, were the ones who were buying them,” he said. “It quickly became a family bike.”
And later in the article.
Perhaps the clearest sign of the bikes’ presence—and acceptance—in the American landscape is that people have stopped noticing them quite so much. Mr. Doebele of Joe Bike noted that a threshold seemed to have been crossed last year when he rode a cargo bike, carrying 150 pounds of concrete, up Oregon’s Mount Tabor (a task made easier by the typically generous 21-speed gearing in longtails). “Nobody was actually looking at the bike,” he said, whereas previously, “people would have taken out their phones.”
Tucson has it’s fair share of cargo bikes. There are at least four long john bikes including my Cetma and three Workscycle Bakfiets. I spotted a Christiana three wheeler at Cyclovia. There are countless longtails including the Yuba Mundo and Xtracycles, at least one Civia Halsted and the king of cargo bikes, the fainting couch bike (see the image), but we certainly aren’t at the point where they aren’t turning heads.
I wonder if cargo bikes’ rise in popularity is a passing fad or something bigger.
What do you think?
2 thoughts on “Cargo bikes becoming mainstream?”
Big fan of the cargo bike. The need was there way before the engineering and production made them available. How many times would folks have used their bikes for errands, but just couldn’t carry all the stuff.
These are great investments and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future ‘boomers’ don’t start electrifying them when it starts to hurt too much to load stuff on their back. It will be off to the cargo races!
Realistically, cargo bikes will probably be what they always have been in USA: niche.They won’t go main stream and they won’t go extinct.