Yes, biking does require some specific equipment. Of course you need lights and a helmet (and a bike!) but once you really start living more of your daily life on a bike rather than in the car, you find there’s a whole world of people out there doing the same – and creating some really helpful equipment.
I’m talking beyond the world of bungee chords, racks and baskets and paniers, there are CARGO BIKES.
Liz Canning in the Bay Area is crowd-sourcing a film about the stories of folks all over the country who are getting into the cargo bike lifestyle. Taking the kids to school, making deliveries, going shopping, and helping friends move to a new home all by bike! It’s so much easier when you have the right equipment, including electric assist for those big hills! (There’s a few of those here in Oak Cliff.)
Her video trailer above is really inspiring. Especially after reading Tanya Snyder’s experience in the Women’s Cycling Forum at the National Bike Summit, realizing that being a new mom and missing her bike was partly due to a lack of bike infrastructure that would make her feel safer about biking with her newborn. And partly a lack of the right equipment and know-how in riding safely with children or “schlepping diaper bags and everything else that encumbers a parent.”
I’ve personally always thought electric assist bikes were really nerdy and a bit high maintenance until I imagined riding (as Jill does) home up a huge hill with 2 kids in the front pouch of a cargo bike. It just helps makes it possible to spend a bit more of life on a bike and those little errands around town are just a bit more enjoyable with the wind in your hair, enjoying the freedom of biking.
A taste of cargo bike usage in Copenhagen
Cool cargo bikes:
- Treck Transport
- Kona Ute
- Long John
- BULLITT from Larry vs Harry
- Ahearne Cycle Truck
- Workman Cycles (handcrafted in NYC for over 100 years!)
Bicycling.com has a great piece on the cargo bicycle lifestyle phenomenon developing in the U.S. I’m so in.