So I'd like to buy a cargo bicycle, but I'm wondering whether I really have a good use for one.
My current load bearing bicycle has front and rear racks. I've loaded it up with around 100 lbs., and have carried loads such as a pair of bar stools, 50 lb. sacks of flour, largish boxes of vegetables, and boxes of books from a library book sale. I've carried a small child strapped to the front rack and a larger child on the rear rack (at the same time). But last spring, I gave my then eight year old a ride on the rear rack while waiting for a rear derailleur cable for my tandem, and found her legs a bit long for her and my comfort.
I have five children, aged three, five, seven, nine, and eleven. All of the children over the age of five can ride bicycles, but when we're in a hurry, we definitely move faster if each of us isn't on his own bicycle. And the trailer--an ancient Road Gear, which is falling apart--is a bit of a pain, since it adds a fair bit of resistance.
So I'm wondering if it makes sense for me to try to buy a cargo bicycle. I could probably get together the money for a Yuba Mundo by next spring, and the Yuba seems like the best of the long-tails for my needs, as it can carry three children. Perhaps, though, a triple tandem would make more sense. The Dutch Onderwater and the Bike Friday XL seem like they are somewhat close to affordable, although it would take longer to come up with the cash.
I tested out a Yuba last month, and the children loved it. I plan to test a Big Dummy and a Madsen when I get a chance. Unfortunately, I don't know of any front loading box-bicycles around here, or I'd test them out as well.
While we only buy gas about once a month, my wife doesn't seem interested in getting rid of our mini-van. She'll ride her bicycle on occasion, but isn't comfortable riding with the children.