Cargo Bicycles

About Cargo Bicycles

Wouldn’t it be great if you could drop your kids to school every day without having to pay for gas, not waiting for traffic lights to turn green, and get some exercise on the way, too? Absolutely. You can do all these at once if you have a cargo bicycle.

Bicycles are growing in popularity all over the world. In cities, travelling on a bike can get you to your destination often faster than driving a car. There are many different varieties of bicycles. While a city bike can be good enough for a solo guy, a cargo bike is a better option for most of the people out there. You can use them for grocery shopping, to drop your kids to school, to carry a backpack to the office, and whatnot. Knowing the difference between the variations of cargo bikes can help you make a better purchase decision. This article will tell you about the different types of cargo bikes and will also give you a few tips you can follow while shopping for them.

Different types of cargo bikes

More than half a century ago, cargo bicycles dominated the field of personal transportation. Not only that. Industries like milk, meat, mail and parcel service, etc. relied on them. The good old-fashioned bikes have been making a comeback in recent years. People use them as an affordable and faster alternative to taking public transport or driving a car. Even major companies in the US provide their employees bikes to get around. Thanks to all these developments, you will find a variety of bikes on the market. Here is the list of the different types of cargo bicycles and how and when to use them.

Three-wheel cargo bike or cargo tricycle

The advantage of a trike, or tricycle, is that you don’t have to worry about falling from them. So, if you want to take your kids for a ride through the streets, these are the safest option. You don’t have to worry about them being restless in the carriage. But if you are not used to riding a trike, the way it steers might feel strange to you. But you will get used to it. With a trike, you have to be careful when you are riding on a slanted plain. And you will need more space than regular cycles when you go around corners. A trike is not for you if you need speed and swiftness.

Longtail cargo bicycle

Because of their long wheelbase at the rear end, they can carry bigger loads than a mini cargo bike. Also, they offer a lot of customisability. These bikes are ideal if you are planning a road trip on the bike. You can have enough storage space by adding a pannier on it. These bikes also feature hooks on their sides to secure the load. It is possible to add more cargo capacity to this bike by extending the wheelbase even further. Or by adding a seat and hand rest on the cargo rack, you can easily carry a kid as a pillion rider. If you already have a regular bike, you can add a long rack to the rear and convert it to a longtail bike.

Mini cargo bike

Not everyone needs big bulky bikes that are hard to ride in busy streets. Mini cargo bikes are the answer to these problems. They are small yet can carry loads on the cargo decks on their front, back, or both. Depending on the position of the rack, its wheels have smaller wheels. The racks on the mini cargo bikes are not huge, but they are enough to carry a medium-sized box without any trouble. Traditionally these bikes were called butchers bikes. You can mount a child seat on the cargo rack and convert it into a family bike.

Box bikes

These are what you get when you put wheelbarrows on steroids. They do not have three wheels like a wheelbarrow, but the cargo box in front of it looks exactly like the one on wheelbarrow bikes. So, the riders sit at the tail end of this long bike. These bikes come in handy to transport light cargo and even to carry small children on your visit to the park. Unlike a regular cargo bicycle, box bikes do not have side kickstands. Today’s box bikes are in fact a modification of the traditional Long John bikes that had very long wheelbases in front. You may also come across box bikes with three wheels.

Electric cargo bicycle

When you are carrying heavier cargo, a little ‘push’ would make the riding a lot easier. They are especially useful if you have to ride uphill on a regular basis. Electric cargo bikes do not work like a motorcycle. They do make the riding a lot easier, but you do have to put in a little effort with that. The motor assists you when you start to pedal and stops when you are freewheeling. You won’t have to do anything differently while you are on an electric bike, except that you will feel as if the load on the bike is almost weightless.

Tips on how to buy Cargo Bicycles

Cargo bikes are not cheap. So, you should consider all the factors before you make the purchase. If you get the wrong type or the wrong size, they will end up catching dust in the corner of your garage. Following these tips will help you choose the right cycle for your needs.

  • Choose the type of cargo bicycle – There is no one type of cargo bike that fits all. Rather you should choose one that would suit your needs. If you need it for shopping visits at the corner store, a box bike is a good option. But for travelling to work, a mini cargo bike is better.
  • Choose the correct size – Getting the right size is important for riding comfort and safety. Sizing standards differ across different manufacturers. So, the best way is to test ride a cargo bicycle before ordering it online.
  • The accessories – You can get a lot of useful accessories to go with your bike. While a helmet and high visibility clothing can improve the safety of your ride. A water bottle holder, a kickstand, and a GPS speedometer are good to have on a long road trip.
  • Load capacity – If you will be using your bike mainly to carry your kids or cargo, you should get a cargo bike that has enough carrying capacity. There are bikes that have a weight limit of 200 Kg to those that can haul up to 400 Kg.

Because cargo bikes carry more load, they require more frequent maintenance. You should service them regularly. Inspect the chains for wear before taking it for long rides. And don’t forget the brakes. The brakes also bear the stress of the heavier load.

Question & Answer

What is a cargo bicycle?

You can ditch your car for most of the trips that you will take in a day if you have a regular bike. But a cargo bicycle takes it a step further. You will be able to avoid taking the car out of the garage for days or weeks if you have a good enough cargo bike. Not only can a cargo bike carry you, but it will also let you take one or two kids with you and carry a fully packed backpack with you. And if the weight is a problem, you can go for the electric bike. Cargo bikes are an efficient and environmentally friendly solution to reduce the gridlocks in cities and to reduce carbon emission.

How to transport a cargo bike?

Cargo bicycles are bigger than regular bikes. So, you would need something more than a standard rear-mounted bike carrier on your car to carry a cargo bike. There are foldable bicycle racks you can fix on SUVs and cars that are large enough to hold cargo bikes. Also, when you don’t need them, you can fold them down and make them less inconvenient. Another option is to disassemble the bike itself. This might not be possible all the time, but you will be able to carry the bike in your car’s trunk this way. You can also install a rooftop rack if you don’t mind the way it would look on your car.

Are cargo bikes safe?

Cargo bikes are definitely safer than regular bikes. Cargo bicycles have wider tyres and a lower centre of gravity. When you carry your kid on a cargo bike, they are sitting at a lower height than they would if you fit a child seat to the rear end of a regular bike. This is more stable, and the potential for injury is less. If you are using a tricycle, the chance of tipping over is nearly zero. But there are some caveats, though. Unlike a regular cargo bicycle, the stability of a tricycle reduces the faster you go. They are also not safe if the surface is too uneven.

Where to buy a cargo bicycle?

You will find a wide collection of high quality but cheap cargo bikes if you look online. But it will be better if you test rides the bike from somewhere else to make sure that the size and style fit you. You will also find many cargo bikes for sale. You can buy those bikes for rock bottom prices so don’t miss out on that opportunity.  On, there are more than 500 shops and brands offering cargo bicycles. These brands include Yuba, Tern GSD, Bunch, Argo, George Bliss, and Pashley Cycles.

Explore related categories