The owner of Cargone Couriers sold his car and bought a cargo bike to do his courier runs on. You have to love anyone who sells his car and replaces it with a bike. So let’s celebrate the cargo bike in his honour.
First thing you need to know about the cargo bike is that you should call it a bakfiet. Reason being is it will make you look like a pretentious wanker to your friends, but a pretentious wanker who knows more about cargo bikes than they do. Go ahead now and lord it over them with your worldly bicycle knowledge.
Next thing you need to know is they’re crazy popular in Holland but will make you stand out like a streaker at a cricket match in Australia. I’ve seen one on the Gold Coast and one in Bangalow and that’s about it.
I don’t own one yet but sincerely wish I did. They’re on a long line of bikes I intend to own one day when fortune smiles on me. So, with no serious intent to actually buy one I have been casually pondering the opportunities available to purchase in Australia over recent times. Here is some of what I’ve learned.
Cargo Bike sell a neat looking range of tricycle cargo bikes. Tricycle cargo bikes are generally cheaper and more accessible than their two-wheeled brethren. The problem for us Gold Coasters is you’d by unlikely to pass over the appalling Southport Bridge without incident. The shared footpath/bicycle path is barely big enough to two normal bicycles to pass. If one of those bikes happened to be a tricycle cargo bike you’d be totally stuck. The bridges over Chevron and Isle of Capri and even worse. On Isle of Capri a cyclist can’t even pass a pedestrian without the pedestrian pressing themselves up against the rail. The road is the obvious choice but if your bike is half the width of a car and you’re relying on the dopey Gold Coast drivers to avoid you then you’re gambling with too much to lose. Lumbering across an accident hotspot like the Southport bridge with a wide load is not something I’d do for kicks.
If you can cycle around the Gold Coast without crossing a bridge (maybe you live down the southern end) and are desirous of some cargo bike options, consider this:
A cargo bike for $595. You have to be kidding. It has six gears (which you could ditch…more power to the single speed cargo biker!), what look like drum brakes front and back and some yucky looking plastic pedals (but its $595 dude!). Paint your company logo on the side and you’ve got the best rolling advertising on the Gold Coast. I guarantee you’ll go no-where without people staring. Bung in an esky and become an ice-cream vendor. Bung in some kids and you can ditch the car.
Great family cargo bike with the extras requested from our first model. Better handling and braking, plus added bonus features including rain cover, lights, padded kids’ seats and locking brakes. Smaller front wheels give the bike better stability and the in-hub gears make changes smoother. Will manage hills better than the Mark 1, and the added reflectors and child steps make this the choice of those with small children.
|What would you call your second stab at cargo bikes? I present, the Mk II.|
It sells for all of $1165. (I’ve bought frames worth more than that.) They also have the same model but with a 7-speed Nexus hub. For a single-speeder 7 gears should be a luxury, even when hauling two screaming children and a week’s groceries up a hill.
Next up, in order of Googling, is Cargo Cycles. (I have to say that many of these players weren’t even on the market last time I looked. The growing number of companies in this field must mean that someone is buying them in Australia. Or they’re indulging in a quixotic episode that will soon lead to financial failure…)
They have two main bakfiet models, the Shorthaul and the Longhaul. They’re both two-wheelers, which have to be more fun to ride and will get you more places on the Gold Coast.
|Cargo Cycles Shorthaul.|
The Shorthaul has drum brakes, Nexus 7 speed rear hub, and room for two (apparently small) kiddies and is $1,599.
|Cargo Cycles Longhaul|
Cargo Cycles’ Longhaul is the same as the Shorthaul except it’s longer. You could fit the whole family in there. Rip out the seats and you could stash a surfboard and your wettie no worries, with room for a six-pack on the way home. Hell, you could take both dogs and your girlfriend along for the ride. It costs $1,699.00.
Next up is the Gazelle Cabby. These have to be one of the premier cargo bike in Australia. They’re certainly distinctive for it’s tarpaulin cargo box.
The Gazelle Cabby attracts a premium price, at $3,000. The problem is, once you’ve checked it out all other cargo bikes seem somewhat less attractive. It has the biggest range of accessories for any cargo bike in Australia, including covers, seatbelts, baby seats…and looks pleasingly absurd naked:
|Naked Cabby. Tee hee.|
And a filum with people making it look like pleasantly light work carting around two extra people on a bike:
Cabby from Gazelle Bicycles Australia on Vimeo.
|Bullitt cargo bike by Larry vs Harry|
The Larry vs Harry name came about by these two guys Larry and Harry making cargo bikes together with similar but sometimes opposing philosophies. The interaction between these two great brains brought us, supposedly, the Larry vs Harry cargo bikes. They make other cargo bikes but to my knowledge the Bullitt is the only available in Australia, from here at Dutch Cargo Bike.
Also available from Dutch Cargo Bikes are the Long and Short Bakfiet. They come with Nexus 7 speed gears and roller brakes, a marine ply box and enough accessories to suit most needs.
|A dutch cargo bike from Dutch Cargo Bikes.|
Prices are around the $3,000 mark. For a review of the electric version read this article at bicycles.net.au.
|FreeRadical by Xtracycle|
If you want to haul cargo but don’t really want the bakfiet type cargo bike there is an alternative. One of the best alternatives is the Xtracycle, a device run a longer wheelbase on a normal bike.
The FreeRadical above Xtracycle is a kit you add to your existing bike. With the longer wheelbase you can now add decks and bags and other kit (some of which comes standard for the roughly $600 asking price) and get something that looks like this:
The picture above is of the Xtracycle Radish, one of the complete bikes you can buy from Xtracycle. They’re hard to find in Australia but they do sell here and for just a little over $1,000.
|Surly Big Dummy|
The Xtracycle is well supported with extras and add-ons and they have a bunch of enthusiast keen to show you how to fit all manner of unwieldy objects to your bike. Feel free to search You Tube.
The Yuba looks like it’s built solid and it too comes with all manner of accessories.
|Yuba carrying a SUP|
I’m encouraged by the picture above of a Yuba carrying a SUP. If it can carry one of those monsters it’ll definitely haul a standard board. They’re priced at $1,250 at Cargo Cycles.
Kona deliver a lot of bike for a good price. At just $1,399 the Kona Ute has a long rack, some big-arse panniers to go with them and disc brakes to make the whole caboose stop on time. Like most bikes in this category the Kona Ute isn’t exactly common, though it does have the advantage of being a Kona. I’m sure your local Kona dealer could get one in for you. I saw one at Brunswick Street Bikes and they’re impressively long in the flesh.