Adapt to the cargo bike lifestyle in 7 easy steps
Several of Australia’s large cities, like Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane have major traffic congestion problems. Cargo Bikes can help especially with journeys under 3km. Melbourne is one of the luckier large cities, with loads of dedicated bike paths and trails in and around the city. Yet we still see kilometres of traffic every day. Even those people that know that they can ride or catch public transport to work will still drive.
The scientific reasons behind this behaviour are probably left to experts smarter than ourselves, but one thing we do know – cargo bikes do eliminate some of the challenges that regular bicycles have for both commuters and occasional riders.
Here are some ways that people can adopt the cargo bike lifestyle and get out of their cars.
1. Embrace the electric
Probably the biggest challenge to commuters is clothing. No one likes turning up to work hot, sweaty and smelly. And many offices don’t have showers and a changing space. So either you sit there and remind people of the human sweat glands or you go through a box of baby wipes per day.
How do we get around this? The electric bike. An electric bike can get you almost anywhere with minimal effort and can stop you from turning up to your 9am meeting a sweaty mess. Then once the work day is done you can go crazy and try to set a new record for your ride home.
If you love your non-electric bike consider a retrofit electric assist add on. You’ll know you need electric when hills and headwinds fill you with dread or that you’re starting to slow down too much around corners or simply that the bike still feels a bit heavy when loaded up, then give an electric bike a try. The electric motor can accelerate you back up to normal speeds so your overall journey time will drop.
2. Get used to the size
Cargo bikes are the station wagons of the bike world. Because the geometry of the bike is different from a standard bike you’ll find that they’ll handle a little differently. The biggest thing you’ll have to get used to is the turning circle. Because of the increased length there will also be a larger turning circle so. Three wheeled trikes take this a step further so you’ll need to learn how to ride them. It’s closer to driving a car in that you need to actively steer them.
3. Learn to load
Cargo bikes can definitely carry more than the average bike but if you load them properly, you’ll barely feel the weight. The trick is to place heavier items at the bottom to keep the center of gravity low. The Yuba bikes are designed for just this purpose and have spots for cargo low over the rear wheels. Three wheeled cargo bikes are even easier to load as the large open cargo container lets you easily put the heaviest items at the bottom.
Electric bikes can help a tonne here because they can help you get a heavy bike rolling and power for getting up and down Melbourne’s rare hills.
4. Get down and dirty
Just like any bike your cargo bike needs service and maintenance. But if you’re often carrying extra weight it pays to do maintenance more regularly. It’s not because the bikes can’t take the weight; but because a fully loaded bike that is well looked after is so much easier to ride.
As we’ve mentioned electric bikes here a few times, it’s important to note that when it comes to maintenance, electric bikes don’t need complex maintenance work. Simply keep the battery charged and make sure all the components like wiring to displays and batteries are not being used to hang heavy items on or getting crushed.
5. Make friends with trains.
While buses still don’t really let bikes on board and trams are often slower than riding a bike. Trains are the bikes best friend. The only restriction for bikes in Melbourne is that they cannot be loaded on the first train car (that section is for wheelchairs and mobility scooters). Regional trains across Victoria have dedicated spots for bikes. Many stations now have bike cages as part of the Parkiteer service.
One side effect of having a cargo bike is that you’re now able to make trips to markets and grocers without taking the car. And you can head further out, beyond your rideable neighbourhood via our awesome train network.
6. Prepare to stop and chat.
People will stop you to chat about the bike. Why is it bigger? How much weight can you carry? Does it fit your kids? How much did it cost?
These are all questions our customers have been asked in the past by random strangers on the street. Having a cargo bike is kind of like owning a Tesla, just cheaper and even better for the environment. Just remember to tell people where you bought your bike!
7. Think bigger.
Because of their bigger size cargo bikes will need more storage space. Two wheeled bikes like the Yuba can still be locked to traditional parking spots like hoops and racks. But 3 wheeled bikes like the Christiana bike, Trio and Babboe need a bit more forethought before parking. Thankfully we sell rain and bike covers for many of our bike models.
Master these seven aspects and you’ll soon be ditching your car for almost everything except for the longest of trips.
If you’ve got any other questions about owning a regular or electric cargo bike. Please give our team a call or pop into our store.