Do you want to be able to transport your kids around by bike? Considering a cargo bike as an option? Understand the different types of cargo bikes and what could be an option for your family.

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Cycling is a smart investment.  It benefits the environment, the economy and all road users.  When you add to this mix a bike that is ideal for moving loads or cargo your use options open up even wider.  Now daily school runs and grocery trips can be comfortably achieved by bike.  If you are considering using a cargo bike to transport your family around town you have come to the right spot.  Read on for tips and advice about how to achieve this amazing active transport option.

Cargo Bike Choice

As the name implies cargo bikes are designed for taking weight so are perfect for transporting more than one child.  The set ups are either front or back, seats or boxes. Boxes can be enclosed or open. So you should be able to find something that suits your family dynamics.  Financially this is a bigger investment but with everyday use you will get your money back in saved car bills. See below for good explanations of your options and to get an idea of what brands are available in NZ.

Long John

You push the load rather than pull it.  The freight or cargo area is in front of the rider between the handlebars and the front wheel.  There is plenty of room for a large box here.  The box is placed low to the ground which means good weight distribution.  These cargo bikes come in single or double front wheel (trike) options, see more on trikes below.  Look out for boxes that are designed to carry children rather than freight – padding, rounded edges etc.  Brands like Bullitt offer alternatives to boxes – canopies or simple seats for older children.

A couple of the well known brands that are available in New Zealand are Christiania Bikes (Danish) & Radkutsche (German).  Also Yuba – see photo & Bullitt

Front loading cargo bike designed to carry children – the “Yuba Supermarche”

Long Tail

Just like riding a normal bike just extended at the back.  Great for adding kids on to the rear extended carrier seat.  Adding kids here means you will have to adjust to the balance needed for weight sitting high at the back of your bike – this is a fairly easy adjustment especially for someone who rides regularly.  Step through frames are recommended and there is a huge variety of these bikes available in New Zealand.

Popular brands are Yuba, eZee & Tern

Long tail cargo bike with lots of storage options – great for family riding

Front or Rear Load Trikes

Good option for people not used to riding or returning to riding.  Wide at the front or back so your footprint is bigger giving you stability.  Not an agile bike but can carry a lot.  What you gain in stability you lose in agility.  This type of cargo bike has a large loadable area and can take the weight with little effect on balance.  Large boxes with ramps can hold wheelchairs for disabled children.  If you add an electric motor it can be used for a wide range of transport & carrying tasks.

Radkutsche, eZee to buy or consider custom made with Cycle Trailers NZ Ltd

Practising at home in a safe environment  with a newly installed front bike seat.

Utility Bikes

This bike has a reinforced frame that can handle added weight but not up to the capacity of a normal cargo.  Rides just like a normal bike (same shape/length/width) but is better than a normal bike for taking weight.  Harder to use with a large family/older kids unless you choose to tow seats or a trailer.  Often comes as an electric bike.

We found Moustache, Winora & Kona reinforced bikes in NZ.

Utility bikes won’t take great weight but they are better than standard bikes

Answer these questions

Where do you want the kids to be & how many kids do you need to seat?  How much storage do you need – what kind of loads will you want to take?  Where will you store the bike when it’s not being used?  And the big question – how much money do you want to spend?  Cargo bikes range from around $900 to over $10,000…

Is electric for you? Electric assistance will give you the ability to go further, climb hills that would be a challenge and add weight without affecting the effort you need to put in.  Whether you get a built in motor or add one on, electric bikes give you the ability to use your bike to go more places, more often.

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