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Commuting with Cargo Bicycles

Old 10-01-15, 08:32 AM
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milesmil
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Commuting with Cargo Bicycles

What do people think of cargo bikes (which comes in a variety of shapes and sizes) for commuting, especially for crowded metropolitan areas with or without hills. Some have electric assist which is getting more and more prevalent these days.

If you have any experience please share .
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Old 10-01-15, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by milesmil View Post
What do people think of cargo bikes (which comes in a variety of shapes and sizes) for commuting, especially for crowded metropolitan areas with or without hills. Some have electric assist which is getting more and more prevalent these days.

If you have any experience please share .
If you have the need, you don't need to ask the question. Do you have the need? Where do you live? Is Portland, OR far away? If not, pay a visit.
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Old 10-01-15, 09:51 AM
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For the money, a scooter with a top box is higher performing.

I noticed in Paris that the size of the top box was inversely proportional to the size of the scooter - the pizza delivery guys on the 50cc bikes had the biggest boxes.
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Old 10-01-15, 09:58 AM
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I live in SF in a small apartment and looking to haul more stuff, just want to find out what it's like to live with one on a day to day basis.
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Old 10-01-15, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
For the money, a scooter with a top box is higher performing.

I noticed in Paris that the size of the top box was inversely proportional to the size of the scooter - the pizza delivery guys on the 50cc bikes had the biggest boxes.
You gotta (see what I did there) admit, however, that an 18" wide top box even with 3 pies inside has less effect on handling than a 10" box with someone's bowling ball in it...
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Old 10-01-15, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
For the money, a scooter with a top box is higher performing.

I noticed in Paris that the size of the top box was inversely proportional to the size of the scooter - the pizza delivery guys on the 50cc bikes had the biggest boxes.
I couldn't believe how popular Domino's, of all things, seems to be there.
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Old 10-01-15, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by milesmil View Post
I live in SF in a small apartment and looking to haul more stuff, just want to find out what it's like to live with one on a day to day basis.
Ground floor apartment? 2nd story walk-up? It'sa no matta (sorry, hangover from the last post) what I tell you about my experience with our cargo bike. You just have to use your imagination and jump in or don't. I have to observe that there is a utilility/cargo bike forum that will probably speak at least as well, if not better, to your question. Just from the little you've said I don't think what you need is a cargo bike. A single wheel trailer would be far more useful day to day. A BOB Yak is a $300+ investment (and worth every dollar) but there are clones of it available now for less than half of that. Under $100 in the case of at least one clone of which I am aware. I like the narrowness of the single wheel platform and how the trailer follows the bike through turns. You don't even think about it. Two wheel trailers have more weight capacity but honestly, we routinely load our trailer to twice its rated (70lb) capacity and anyone who needs to haul more than that in one trip needs a U-Haul (IMO). Next up from the trailer in terms of committment is the X-tracycle kit for your present bike. You must see tons of them in the Bay Area. If not, come up to Portland some weekend. All you have to do is see one in the flesh to know that its just another kind of bicycle. No one wonders what it might be like to own/ride a beach cruiser. There is more difference in the handling and feel of a beach cruiser than any "cargo bike" out there. Of course I am not referring to bakfiets and pedicabs and other extremely specialized kinds of utility/cargo bicycles.
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Old 10-01-15, 11:54 AM
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I live in a high rise actually. Thanks for the feed back, definitely something to think about.
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Old 10-01-15, 12:06 PM
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You live in too small a place to bring one inside I suspect , and being SF that space costs a small fortune.

Think You can stand a 7 foot long Bike up in the elevator?
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Old 10-01-15, 02:08 PM
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Would it be more affordable to put baskets on a regular bike? I like cargo bikes, actually I love all bikes but the mountain bike is my favorite. I'm sure whatever you get will be awsome. Be sure to get some pictures so we can admire it. https://www.chubbysbikes.com/shop/wa...-saddle-basket
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Old 10-01-15, 02:27 PM
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I have two and commute 99% of the time on the Big Dummy with an electric assist from BionX. Was using the Xtracycle before my kids borrowed it too many times. I love it because it is comfortable and I can stop at the grocery store, or home improvement, etc. and I'm always ready to haul. I even take my 15 yo to the dentist every 6 months on the back, and then drop her at school. Point is that they are very versatile.

The Big Dummy will not fit in my elevator at work, but the Xtracycle will (barely). Neither will fit on the bus rack (or the one for my vehicle) so you may need to take that into consideration.
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Old 10-01-15, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by milesmil View Post
I live in SF in a small apartment and looking to haul more stuff, just want to find out what it's like to live with one on a day to day basis.
What kinda stuff are you looking to haul around?
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Old 10-01-15, 04:59 PM
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How is your parking arrangement at the apartment?

I use the bike for errands....

I have a homemade cargo bike. Probably not quite as fancy as the commercial ones. At least mine is a lot slower than my road bike.

You might consider a bike trailer instead of a cargo bike. If you found a compact one with a stroller attachment, you could probably take it up the elevator to your apartment. Like your own personal shopping cart.
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Old 10-01-15, 05:22 PM
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I commuted 1.5 miles on a Batavus Personal Delivery bike for better than four years. It's a 50 lb 3 speed. I also ran errands and even rode the length of the C&O canal on it. My observations:

1. With enough patience I could ride it up very steep, long hills, but not fast. For routine long steeps I prefer more gears.
2. A big front basket and cargo straps made hauling very convenient.
3. It's simply too slow for longer distances unless ridden purely for novelty. Anything more than 5 miles and I would just take the touring bike instead.

I would recommend examining your intended radius of operation. If you don't need to go more than 5 miles I'd say give it a shot. If you have to go farther look at a touring bike with racks and panniers instead. You'll have to plan your loads more carefully but it's worth the time for longer distances.
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Old 10-01-15, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
What kinda stuff are you looking to haul around?
Usually sheet materials such as foam boards, paper pads, long pipe shaped objects, and typical groceries.
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Old 10-01-15, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
How is your parking arrangement at the apartment?
Not very good, it has a garage but no bicycle parking as far as I am aware of. I prefer having my bike with me in the apartment anyway.
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Old 10-01-15, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
You live in too small a place to bring one inside I suspect , and being SF that space costs a small fortune.

Think You can stand a 7 foot long Bike up in the elevator?
Haha probably not, at least not at my place.
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Old 10-01-15, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by milesmil View Post
Haha probably not, at least not at my place.
That's going to rule out a lot of cargo bikes. A Bullitt is one of the lightest cargo bikes out there but it's 8' long.

I think your best bet might be a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day
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Old 10-01-15, 07:13 PM
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I found a used two kid trailer (fifty bucks on CL) and removed the seats and installed a light plywood floor. The whole thing folds up flat and I can pop the wheels off (for it's hauling capacity, it has a very small storage footprint.) I use it to haul lumber and gardening stuff. Drivers give me more space when I pull the trailer, an unexpected bonus.

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Old 10-01-15, 07:27 PM
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I have a Bakfiets and have considered bringing it in to the office sans kids just for fun, and may do so soon to send it to a nearby bike shop for hub maintenance. I also have a few co-workers who are rather keen to see the thing in person.
But there will be issues:
1) Second floor office. It will never fit in the elevator.
2) It may also not fit in my office even if I got it up there, and I don't really want to leave it outside. Wooden cargo box and all. I *might* be able to get it into the stairwell, but the other cyclists would hate me.

The commute route itself should not be a problem. I have been all over town with 60lb of kids up front, along with some groceries.

I'll try it out in a couple of weeks and report back.
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Old 10-01-15, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by blackieoneshot View Post
I found a used two kid trailer (fifty bucks on CL) and removed the seats and installed a light plywood floor. The whole thing folds up flat and I can pop the wheels off (for it's hauling capacity, it has a very small storage footprint.) I use it to haul lumber and gardening stuff. Drivers give me more space when I pull the trailer, an unexpected bonus.
I use the normal cloth floor on mine. I've removed the top, but left some of the front/rear material. For many loads the fender protection from the sides is nice.

Originally Posted by milesmil View Post
Usually sheet materials such as foam boards, paper pads, long pipe shaped objects, and typical groceries.
A lot depends on the size of your objects, durability, and etc.

I can haul some very bike, awkward, long, heavy stuff with my cargo bike & trailer setup. I think this load turned out to only be about 16 feet long.



There was a thread about hauling awkward items on a bike without a trailer. Some long items can just be strapped to the bike.

http://www.bikeforums.net/living-car...ual-items.html

Anyway, for your apartment, you may be best off just getting racks and panniers for an ordinary bike.
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Old 10-02-15, 02:13 AM
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What's your budget?

You have two options. You could just get a Burley Travoy and call it a day. Pick up the other bags for it and you'll come in around $380 for the trailer, bottom mesh and upper mesh bag.

Other option would be if you bought a Douze cargo bike. It separates at the mid point. So a 8 ft bike is cut in half to 4 ft. The Douze comes in around $4k.
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Old 10-02-15, 08:04 AM
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Porteur bikes are hip , and cargo bikes , and single bikes in length .. the cargo is carried on a big front platform rack

made solidly fitted to the fork (French Style) or a forward extension of the Frame (Dutch style)..

Builder Human Powered Machines in Eugene offers a front frame basket support in their version of the Swift, a 2x20" wheel folding bike,

which uses the seatpost removal to do the fold. http://www.catoregon.org/
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Old 10-02-15, 11:04 AM
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Gotta go with a trailer on this one. I think cargo bikes are cool, but for me that facilitates having at least one other "fun" bike, but purely utilitarian people could definitely get by. Add to that bringing it upstairs and storing it seems nigh on impossible, and SF theft is pretty high, so locking it on the street should be a no go... Get a nice trailer suited to your needs. You can unhook it, bring the bike up while trailer's locked on the street, then come back for it... Many will fit in a small corner of a closet or something. Have front or rear rack on the bike for odds and ends and light hauling needs, and only pull out the trailer when you need it.
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Old 10-02-15, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DTG View Post
What's your budget?

You have two options. You could just get a Burley Travoy and call it a day. Pick up the other bags for it and you'll come in around $380 for the trailer, bottom mesh and upper mesh bag.

Other option would be if you bought a Douze cargo bike. It separates at the mid point. So a 8 ft bike is cut in half to 4 ft. The Douze comes in around $4k.
Really... only two options? one $380 and the other $4K... that's it? You need to get out more. Since the invention of the Travoy there's been a few other trailer designs put on the market. A few different cargo bikes too.
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