Posts tagged ‘cargo bikes’
We didn’t get rained on. Of course. Because we brought rain gear.
Number 2 in the Utilitaire Winter Cycling games … and I’m having a hard time deciding how to log this one, but will settle on #6: Any Store That Is Not A Grocery Store. Basically a run around town, from hardware store to bike shop (yes, again) to coffee, to groceries to cupcakes (!). Mileage: 21-ish. Rain: none.
It began with a trip to the hardware store, because we needed some new axe handles. We do a lot of chopping around here, you know. Well, maybe not me as in we … but still. Can’t have those ax heads flying off the handle.
Then we got to head over the bike shop because I had forgotten a thing or two when I was there the other day. It was exciting. We got to witness a really amazing explosion … (Charles, my bike guy has a great sense of humor with these things; he made the video).
From the bike shop, we stopped and met Grant for coffee. He was killing some time before heading to work, and we were just … killing some time. And trying to test our fate with the rain gods.
We hopped on the Greenway and stopped for some groceries, and then headed over to Chattanooga Cupcakes for some desert for later on. And while I doubt that I burned enough calories to even eat the sprinkles off of one of these things, I just cannot resist …
We got home just as the first drops of rain arrived. Perfect timing.
When I thought about today’s ride, I often wonder what the bird’s-eye view of our route looks like. We wind our way on less-traffic’d roads, hopping on the Greenway whenever it works out, and taking what sometimes feels like a rather circuitous route. I know I could go on Google Maps or Map My Ride and officially map this thing out in an accurate way, but I decided to just doodle it. Obviously not really to scale or accurate, but close enough. Surprisingly, it doesn’t look as chaotic as I thought it might.
So two of twelve completed, ten remain. Bikes: 2. Rain: 0.
It’s that time of year again … festive lights, festive bikes, winter riding, wishlists, and all of the riding that goes along with the holiday agenda – from the baking to the shopping to the shipping. And there is no other bike that can get it all done-with-fun like an Xtracycle.
There has been a lot of chatter in recent months about the growing selection of cargo bikes on the market. And kind of like the great Pillsbury Bake-Off, the cargo bike discussion seems to be taking on elements of a “Hauls(bury)Bike-Off”. From Xtracycles to bucket bikes to bakfeits to beer-on-tap bikes, it’s a great discussion to be having … for in my opinion, any bicycle that enables someone to substitute bike for car is a wonderful thing – and nothing does that better than a cargo bike.
However, if we ever get down to casting votes, I cast mine without hesitation for Xtracycle. If I could only own one bike, it would be my Xtracycle. No question, no debate. It is my favorite bike above all others, and the one I could not do without. And as I’ve looked at and contemplated some of the other contenders, I’ve been able to reach a few conclusions about why Xtracycle rules the cargo bike contest….
- No other cargo bike can accomodate irregularly-shaped loads as easily as an Xtracycle. You want to haul a Christmas tree, a kayak, a weed-eater, a vacuum cleaner or another bicycle? On an Xtracycle, it’s a piece of cake. We’ve hauled them all; easy to load in a variety of ways, easy to secure, easy to ride with. Even for a silly old lady like myself.
- I like the fact that my cargo sits behind me. Other cargo bike enthusiasts might like that Christmas tree or preschooler directly in front of them, but I like to have an unobstructed and distraction-less view of what’s ahead, thanks.
- You won’t out-grow an Xtraycle. While kid-hauling bikes like the Taga or the Feetz might be a fun way to carry your pre-schoolers, I can’t help think this is a short-lived use of a pricey bike. Kids grow – quickly. Why not carry your pre-cyclists on a PeaPod (or two) on the back of an Xtracycle for that short period of time? In the end, you’ll continue to love and use an Xtracycle for countless things, rather than being stuck with a limited-use stroller-bike after a few short years.
- If I need to take my Xtracycle somewhere else (out of state, or beyond timely riding distance) I can carry my Xtracycle on my vehicle. Using an extended rail on our Thule roof rack, we’ve transported our Xtracycles out of state for vacations and other weekend cycling trips. I can’t see putting a Madsen or a Bakfeit or a Feetz on top of my car nearly as easily, if at all.
- Affordability. The ability to convert an existing bike (from road to commuter to mountain or whatever you might already own) to an Xtracycle requires minimal investment when compared to buying an entire dedicated cargo bike. And of course, if you’ve got some spare cash, the Xtracycle Radish or Big Dummy are beautiful, quality builds and very competitively priced – and the folks at Xtracycle are among the friendliest, most generous and helpful bike people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. (And they’re not paying me to say this. 😉
- But the biggest reason of all to own an Xtracycle … it is beautiful bike just to ride. Even when I don’t have to haul anything, I love being out on my X. It’s a beautiful ride – on the back roads or in traffic, in town or on the bike path. I don’t have to make a conscious decision when I head out – like, “do I need to take the big bucket bike, or utility trailer today?” I ride my Xtracycle like other folks ride a road bike or a commuter – and if I get a phone call along the way telling me we’re out of orange juice at home, I always have the easy ability to stop and pick some up. I just can’t imagine that I would ever do the same amount of non-cargo everyday riding on bucket bike or bakfeit.
If I were Santa, I would bring everyone an Xtracycle … But in the meantime, I’ve combed through my pile of Xtracycle photos from the past few years to give you idea of the fun that you, too, could be having on the best cargo bike EVER. Put one on your wish-list … because you never know what Santa has in his bag 😉
Happy Haulidays* and Happy Pedaling!
(*Thanks to my friend Rick for letting me borrow his clever homonym (haulidays) :-D)