Hi, I just joined. With thread titles like "bicycling with cats" and "post your beer pics," I know I'm in the right place!
I live in Philly and am seriously considering ditching my car for a cargo bike + my commuter bike + a Zipcar membership. I'm tired of dealing with repairs, vandalism, hit-and-run damage, and sky-high insurance rates. All told, our car costs us around $2500 per year to operate and is only worth a little more than that. We use the car 2 to 4 times per week for random errands and to commute when it's snowy out. For the rest of the year, my partner and I commute ~50 miles per week (I'm on a Brompton, she has a Surly Steamroller), with some public transit tossed into the mix. I want to get a dedicated cargo bike for the two of us to share. Our price range is up to $2000, with a little bit of wiggle room depending on the sale price of the car. Here's what we're looking for:
-ability to comfortably haul moderate-size loads (4 bags of groceries, some large pet food/litter bags, a case of beer, etc.)
-ability to handle hills with aforementioned moderate-size loads
-nimble enough to handle on city streets with trolley tracks, pot holes, double-parked cars, etc. (I'm not expecting miracles, just nothing too clumsy)
-must be able to carry the bike up a few steps into our house without throwing out our backs (will be stored on an enclosed porch in a row home)
-ability to transport a small pet in a carrier during the warmer months would be a huge plus
-adaptability/add-ons are not that important; the above uses are what we will need 95% of the time
-we don't have/want kids, so no need for child-centric construction or accessories
-Bikes I like so far: Joe Bike box bike, Kona Ute, Yuba Mundo
I like the idea of tossing items into the Joe Bike box and not having to fumble with pannier bags and straps for quick trips to the farmer's market. Maybe it's the Brompton weirdo in me, but I also love the look of the bike! However for city handling and easier carrying/storage, the Ute and Mundo are probably better matches. Of course, I can't test-ride the Joe Bike anywhere since they're custom made in Portland. The Ute is readily available at my local bike shop; I'd have to go to NYC or Maryland to test-ride and purchase the Mundo.
Any general advice on making this purchase would be much appreciated, and I would love to hear from anyone with the above-mentioned bikes, or another model in my price range that I may be leaving out. Thanks!