I’m committed to active transport, especially as I live in a flat area within a reasonable distance of shops and services. Before kids this meant cycling, but after I had kids it mostly meant walking, but I got fed up with pushing the buggy over 20km per week.
Although our chariot cycle trailer was great for cycle outings, it was not the best for utility (everyday to the shops and library, errands etc) cycling due to it’s size and overall length of bike+trailer). I started researching (and yes okay, obsessing about…) options. I looked at cargo trikes, baby bike seats, even rickshaws!
My daughter was old enough to sit independently on a bike, but not ready to cover our distances under her own pedal power. Our WeeHoo was too cumbersome for short trips and I wanted something that was ready to go when we were. Eventually my research (and a bit of luck) led me to a Yuba Mundo cargo bike which we call ‘Rocket’.
I love it! Loaded or unloaded: it is enjoyable to ride and is my bike of choice even when not hauling kids. It can carry a lot: up to 200kg, although I’m not sure I would fancy powering that. I test rode an electric version, which was a lot of fun. If my neighbourhood was hilly, or my cargo heavier, I would choose an electric one for sure.
I like it better than a trailer because it is one unit, and all ready to go when we are. I don’t have to ‘set it up’. With less length and width I can go more places. It has a strong integrated stand, so it is easy to park, load and unload. If my kids were younger I could put baby bike seats on the rear rack for added support and protection. Because they are older they just sit on a cushion firmly attached to the rack with velcro and hold onto a set of handlebars attached to the front end of the rack. When carrying one child I still have room for panniers and a basket, making it ideal for trips to school, the shops, supermarket, library, parties, picnics, sport, shows, garden centres, playdates, parks, appointments, after-school activities, rock-hunting, the beach, the riverbank, visiting friends and family…. you get the idea!
I also find it incredibly useful when I’m not carrying kids. I do most of my shopping on it, including my weekly fruit and vegetable shopping at the local market. I love not having to battle it out to find a parking space. My wheeled market shopping basket nests neatly into the basket I have attached to the rear rack, and with some elastic straps it is easy to transport home the entire weeks fruit and vegetables. Using strong elastic straps I can attach larger parcels to the side supports under the rack (I call them running boards), and have bought home some larger purchases and op shop finds this way.
It is great to see some New Zealand bike shops and websites focusing on practical everyday cycling (aka utility cycling), and you’ll find some listed in the cargo bikes section on the links page.
What is your ultimate family bike?