Dreaming of cargo bikes

Posted on June 12th, 2011 by Laura Byrne Paquet in News

An article in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen got me dreaming, yet again, about cargo bikes.

I’ll be the first to admit that these vehicles are, as the Citizen story put it, the minivans of bikes. You’ll probably never see Lance Armstrong riding one. I’m sure the Lycra-and-Power-Bar crew at any cool cycling shop would laugh at them. But as a lifelong nerd, I’m familiar with being unfashionable. And I seriously want one.

So what is a cargo bike? If you’ve ever been to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Bangkok or other bike-crazed city, you’ve likely seen one of these things without knowing what to call them. They’re bicycles that have been remodelled to include a large platform, box or basket–usually between the wheels–suitable for carrying things like groceries, building supplies, furniture or pets. Like this one.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by grrsh.

My husband and I don’t own a car, and by and large, we get along just fine with a bundle buggy, a regular bike, public transit, a car-share membership and the odd car rental. But there are days when it would be great just to bike over to the nearby grocery store for a big bag of kitty litter or a couple of flats of pop–to say nothing of a 2-4 from the beer store. And how often have I taken a $15 cab to the train station because transferring my suitcase between multiple city buses is just too much of a hassle? If I could toss the bag into a cargo box, I could bike to the train station in about 15 minutes.

Of course, that raises another question: would it be safe to leave the bike locked to a post for the weekend while I headed off by train to Toronto or wherever? There again, the good folks in the Netherlands have the civilized answer: indoor, paid, supervised bike parking garages.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by fietsberaad.

Of course, I’m realistic enough to realize that in car-crazy Ottawa with its harsh winters, cargo bikes aren’t likely to replace real minivans soon. But a girl can dream of running serious errands and getting some exercise at the same time, can’t she?

Comments are closed.

More News

Books

E-books about home exchanging and vacation rentals

Although increasingly popular, home exchanges and vacation rentals remain a ...

Contests

Contest: Win a free Zinio digital magazine subscription!

[caption id="attachment_2326" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Feel like paper magazines are so ...

Destinations

Adirondacks this weekend: Art and leaves!

[caption id="attachment_2347" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Here's how the colours on Upper ...

Food

Book review: Female Nomad and Friends

A book that combines two of my favourite things: travel ...

Home Exchanges

Wanna buy a home-swap site?

Ever wanted to run your own home exchange site? Do ...

How To

24 tips for renting a vacation property

Arranging a short-term rental of an apartment, house or cottage ...

Language

Five places to find foreign language schools

The current online issue of The Atlantic Monthly includes an ...

Music

desert sands dunes Algeria

Year of Geography: Algeria

Unfortunately, Algeria is going through a bit of a rough ...

Recipes

Cinco de Mayo recipe: Easy salsa

Courtesy of fine dining restaurant Andrea at Velas Vallarta in ...

Travel Trivia

Travel trivia: Week 21 winner, answers…and an announcement

Travel trivia: Week 21 winner, answers…and an announcement

Thanks to all of you who played this week's round ...

Vacation Rentals

Contest: Win a Mexican villa vacation for four!

Ever dreamed of a Mexican villa vacation for four? Now's ...

Volunteer Travel

Year of Geography: Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is the first country on the Year ...