Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How can you move your kids and cargo around on a bike? A cargo bike primer, part 2

This post and its twin are now on their own page - but the comments remain below until I figure out how to move them too. Sorry for the inconvenience.


  1. Old comment on this material:
    Hi, Henry of Workcycles here. Firstly thanks for the positive commentary and links. I'm curious to see what you make of your blog. Though I certainly agree about the practicality and robustness of our own bikes I generally avoid being so negative about the other options unless it's really warranted. I've written a couple much needed bike thrashings on my own blog but mostly we're just happy to see people riding bikes for transportation. Trailers, for example, definitely aren't convenient or pleasant around the city but I suspect there's little or no evidence to suggest that they're actually dangerous. Actually I avoid calling calling anything related to practical cycling "dangerous". Likewise a Gazelle Cabby with it's fabric box sure looks ugly after a couple years outdoors but people are using them and we hear surprisingly few complaints. The same cannot be said of the popular Babboe which is just a prettier and more slickly marketed version of those horrible Chinese made bakfiets copies rotting away all over this city. Just a couple notes about your own Bakfiets Cargobike: That's an ex-rental bike. The bike itself is about seven years old and it's first couple years were spent being used and abused by half of Amsterdam. We probably sold it about three years ago when we began replacing the fleet with Cargobike 2.0's. I am surprised to see that your bike still has the "L" shaped seat post that was recalled a couple years ago but Workcycles hasn't fitted for many years. Replace it with a standard type post (31.8mm) immediately. These can break without warning, leaving you sitting on your rear carrier. That probably wouldn't be dangerous but it would be inconvenient. Groeten, Henry
    By henryinamsterdam on Don't buy a cargo bike until you read this (revise... on 10/4/10

  2. Another old comment:
    Greetings and thank you to Henry for his comments- well taken. Henry pegged the bike in the picture- a rental from his place in the Veemarkt pictured next to a playground in Amsterdam. Our own bike actually came new via Florida in 2007. We haven't figured out if we want our kids in the pictures so we keep posting photos without them. As far as posts on my bike or blog I'd rather not end up on my rear carrier No thrashing was meant- especially to locally carried bikes or transporters in local shops. We want to talk about riding in Chicago with stuff and kids on everything there is to ride on and with. And hear from other people about what works on their bikes and where it works in the city. In Chicago, we absolutely recommend J.C. Lind, Copenhagen, Dutch Bike and riding the many bikes they thankfully now carry to people that stop us and ask about our bike. On the subject of trikes Jon has two options to test-Winther Kangaroos and the Triple Lindy. Copenhagen has another trike- the Nihola - and also Larry vs. Harry. My heart still jumps a little when I see Jon's Fietsfabriek trikes and cargos usually in Logan Square. I am excited that there are so many useful bikes roaming Chicago. In terms of choosing a cargo bike or other addition to a bike like a trailer it can be a good idea to think into what a family might need ahead of time. A small baby in a car seat is different than say a preschooler with school bags and a friend or two that might need a lift home. For example I know a lady with a Fietsfabriek trike that has one child but is constantly picking up other kids and filling her bike on a moment's notice. I think also buyers of anything should ride whatever combination they are considering to carry their stuff or kids or dogs- trailer, kid seat, long tail, box, etc.- as much as possible before buying. I'm guessing that other riders would agree that lots of test rides are the best way to find what works personally to stay out on the road as long as possible. Best in my humble opinion from one of the city's many small locally owned shops..
    By Chicargo on Don't buy a cargo bike until you read this (revise... on 10/4/10

  3. Another old revision/comment:
    We just saw a second generation Madsen bike at the Kidical Mass. It is built well enough to last a few years and has a big plastic box behind the rider like a longtail with a 20" rear wheel. It's not built like a Bakfiets or a De Fietsfabriek, but it's half the cost in the US. The person riding this one was very happy with it after a couple of months riding it. I think I prefer most of the other bikes on offer listed above, but the Madsen is quite inexpensive and has the advantage of two-wheeled maneuverability. We also found out that JC Lind will be getting a two wheeled child carrier in soon. Link is above and you can call them for more details. I spent some time playing with a Zigo Leader recently as well. It seems much too expensive for what it offers - basically a stroller you can pedal- and it doesn't look like you can use it for much once Junior is out of stroller age, but perhaps it fills a niche for someone. It's deliberately not in the list of cargo bikes above since it seems muck more fiddly and much less versatile or durable than the others.
    By Chicargo on Don't buy a cargo bike until you read this (revise... on 10/11/10

  4. Does anyone know of someone or somewhere near Chicago who has a Nihola that I could test ride? I am in the market for a cargo trike & would really like to see a Nihola in person. Thanks! koller.mary at gmail dot com

  5. We can't think of anyone in Chicago who has one to test. The dealers in the US are all on the West Coast (see the Nihola website if you haven't already). Copenhagen bikes has had a Velorbis with similar styling, and JC Lind has a wide selection of trikes including the Nihola's archcompetitor Christiania. Try calling the dealers to ask them - maybe they'll refer your request to a previous customer of theirs near Chicago.