Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You Haul

Over the weekend there was a video posted on how people transport things on their bicycles. From kids and Corgis to crock pots and concrete. First up is this video talking to a variety of people on how they transport things on their bicycles.

As a child my first bike was fitted with a large Wald basket. It allowed me to carry books from the library, the Sunday paper for my father, and a book bag for school with great ease. Over the years I found that back packs while they were useful had there limits. They left a big wet spot on my back and hard objects like books and groceries often poked me in places I didn't like. As an adult I have gone back to baskets, they can hold anything within reason, never affected by weather, and make for more spontaneous purchases because a basket is always ready for anything.

Also this weekend the Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on the growing use of cargo bikes and how the developer of the long tail cargo went onto to found Xtracycle. The article explored how cargo bikes are being used by a commercial fisherman in Washington State, a family of four in Manhattan, and to a man in Oregon who is preparing for the local Disaster Relief Trials. During which bicycles and cyclists will be tested on their ability to go where other vehicles can't due to debris or lack of gasoline, while carrying 100 pounds of supplies.

There were the ever present naysayers and my personal favorite was; “It isn't going to haul the 4 2x6, 16 foot boards I need to repair my deck.” Neither will most cars and minivans, you're really going to need a full size pick up truck. Fortunately Home Depot has trucks for rent in their parking lots and many other retail companies are embracing this concept as well. On the other hand one cargo cyclist in the Wall Street Journal article moved 150 pounds of cement over a very hilly area, so anything is possible.

The growth of cargo bikes will be interesting to watch as people who live in cities, ride bicycles, get married, have children, and remain where they are. While they may own cars they will still want the speed and convenience cycling allows when running errands or taking children to school. Purchasing a cargo bike will help them retain their mobility.

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