Cargo bikes. Otherwise known as "the SUVs of the Bike World" (without the pollution and spiked fuel costs), these babies are serious workhorses. Those who swear by them have often sworn off any other mode of transportation. Kids, groceries, garden supplies? No problem. Thankfully, you no longer need to live in Europe to get a hold of one. From East to West Coast, here are 10 retailers that sell cargo and carrier bikes. (And for those of you not quite ready or willing to shell out the necessary $3,000+ for the serious models, you can take a short-cut and DIY your own.) It's all below the jump:
Types of Cargo Bikes
1. Longtail Bikes, which put their load in the back on sturdy extended racks. Example: Madsen Bicycles
2. Longjohn Bikes, which put their load in the front. Example: Bullitt by Larry vs Harry
4. Cargo tricycles, which have not only a crate but also add a third wheel. Example: Onya Cycles
Where To Buy a Cargo Bike in the US
• Rolling Orange: Located in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill neighborhood, Rolling Orange carries top Dutch bike brands—including Bakfiets, Batavus and Dutch ID—in all sizes and to suit all needs, whether you're hauling groceries around town or taking your three kids to school!
• Madsen Cycles: Based out of Salt Lake City, Madsen makes cargo bikes with a 40 gallon cargo/ passenger bucket that comes equipped with removable seating and seatbelts for four.
• Dutch Bike Co.: For the past two years Dutch Bike Co have been selling and shipping Bakfiets cargo bikes and WorkCycles from their store locations in Seattle and Chicago.
• Joe Bike: It shouldn't come as a surprise that the store dubbed "Home of the World's Most Useful Bikes" is located in Portland. Their custom ShuttleBug (handmade in Portland) is consistently ranked as one of the top family transport-bicycles in the world.
• Metrofiets: Metrofiets' cargo bikes are built from scratch in the Pacific Northwest, and can accomodate a wide range of cargo beds, boxes or vending modules and modern components such as belt drives and electric assists. Metrofiets also make specialty bikes for businesses and take custom orders.
• Splendid Cycles: Also based out of the Portland, Splendid Cycles sells exclusively bikes made for carrying kids and cargo. They're North America's largest seller of Bullitt cargo bikes, and they also sell some of the cargo bike companies we've already mentioned, including Metrofiets Cargo Bikes, Madsen Cycles, and Ahearne Cycle Trucks.
• Onya Cycles: Onya Cycles was developed by Saul Griffith at OtherLab to solve his urban transportation problems. Their three custom-made bikes— the Front-End Loader, the Mule, and the E.T—are now being produced in Alameda, California. Mass poduction has started yet, but is expected to ramp up soon.
How To DIY Your Own Cargo Bike
Can't afford to shell out $3,000 for a tripped-out cargo bike (as much as you'd like to)? Xtracycle sells cargo bike converter kits ("FreeRadical") for around $350 that bolt onto the back and extend the length of most 26" and 700c bicycles. From there you can add decks, boxes, bags - whatever you want!
If you're in the DIY spirit, you can also try to build your own cargo bike by following this Instructables.
(Image: Joe Bike via EcoVelo)