Ross Evans sent me a teaser email this week. (Ross, you're killing me!) Ross is a cargo bike pioneer and the guy who designed the Xtracycle FreeRadical - a high quality kit that allowed you to turn your favorite bike into a cargo bike very easily and inexpensively. He is a legend in the cargo bike world.
As I learned about and started wanting a cargo bike, I decided that a FreeRadical was the way to go. So I went to the Xtracycle website and learned that they were no longer selling the FreeRadical, snagit! They were designing a replacement kit (the Leap) that would come to market soon. Practicing patience...
Here is Ross' email:
I keep watching my inbox. The Leap is very high on my list of desirable cargo bike options (with the Yuba Mundo and the Radwagon.)
In the meantime, I have been checking out other lower-cost options for those of us wanting a cargo bike. I have found some interesting stuff in the under $1000 category. Let's start with a longtail. (Yes, the longtails are my faves.) The least expensive full-framed longtail I have run across is the Sun Atlas. I will let the Amazon ad do the talking.
Strangely enough, this model may have been discontinued. You can find it on Amazon, but the version on the Sun website is smaller (and much less expensive.) While you are there, check out their Atlas trikes. There is some cool stuff lurking in the three-wheel section.
Speaking of trikes, this may be your least expensive option for scoring a cargo bike. Check out this Schwinn trike from Amazon that costs little more than the shipping on the longtail above. My grandmother had one of these - we had great fun trying to figure out how many neighborhood kids would fit. Definitely worth a look for people on a budget (and for people who are scared of tipping over.)
Next up is the Virtue Truck. Virtue is a San Diego-based bike company with some very cool bikes at very reasonable prices. They have two other (very tempting) cargo bikes that fall just above our $1000 cutoff price, but they are definitely worth a look. (Search for the SchoolBus and the Gondoliere.)
We've featured the nimble on MH before. If you have the right situation, this thing is high quality and low dollar at $149 (but the wheels are tiny.)
Nimble Scooters (Check out the Urban)
The final bike is from another American bike company, Republic Bikes out of Florida. The bike is the Socrates Cargo Bike. I love the look of the Socrates and I have to admit that I have entirely too much fun every time I visit their site - you can try out every possible color variation and combo before deciding on your particular brand of eccentricity. If I had a business that offered bicycle deliveries, I would get a fleet of Republics to do the job and advertise. If you get all crazy and order one, be sure to get the three-speed option - multi gears make a big difference when you are hauling lots of stuff. When you visit their site, be sure to check out the cool and inexpensive Plato Bike and the bike Republic built for the Google headquarters.
There you have it, folks - lots of droolworthy cargo bikes at prices that won't break the bank. If you have (or buy) one of these or know of others that aren't listed here, please share.
May your stuff get hauled greenly and may your health and joy grow with each ride.