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Old 10-25-2011, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been looking at cargo bikes as an alternative means of transportation but holy cow at the prices! I could get another car for what they cost! The main ones I've been looking at are Xtracycle..anyone know of any other/cheaper ones? Another thought I have is getting a mountain bike and trailer (I have 2 boys) and save up for the extension kit for the xtracycle...

Thoughts? Comments? Ideas?

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Old 10-25-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Depending on your terrain and climate, as well as the ages of your children, a mountain bike with panniers and a trailer might work for quite a while. For me, there wasn't enough cargo room to let us tote what we needed in a setup like that, and by the time my kids were three and five, they hated being crammed in where they couldn't see out much. The trailer was also very tough on the hillls, because of how the weight is distributed.

Eventually we bought a Madsen with an electric hub motor, which works great for two kids, all our stuff, and gets us up steep hills really well. A third kid will fit pretty well, too. We spent about $2,000 total.

I do think it's helpful to think of cargo bikes as car replacements. Of course, with a $2,000 car, you also have to calculate yearly costs of fuel, insurance, and repairs-- many thousands more, over the life of the car. Bike repairs are much, much cheaper, and a lot can be done yourself, even with a learning curve. Obviously no fuel is needed (other than food for you!), and no insurance. Financially, there's just no comparison, though the initial outlay may be shocking when people are used to thinking of bikes as cheap, optional toys for recreation.

Biking for transportation adds so much to our lives. Excercise, enjoyment of our sometimes difficult climate, more contact with our community, ease of parking, teaching the kids that being active is normal, on and on. I love it. Hope you give it a try!

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Old 10-25-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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We have a Yuba and love it.  I prefer it over most I've seem.  Very solid workhorse and on the cheaper side.


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Old 10-26-2011, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! I like the madsen but all the reviews I've found say its not good for hilly areas, which we have a lot of.
The yuba looks nice, ill have to look more into it. How hard is it to move/remove the child seats?

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Old 10-26-2011, 05:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snanna View Post

Depending on your terrain and climate, as well as the ages of your children, a mountain bike with panniers and a trailer might work for quite a while. For me, there wasn't enough cargo room to let us tote what we needed in a setup like that, and by the time my kids were three and five, they hated being crammed in where they couldn't see out much. The trailer was also very tough on the hillls, because of how the weight is distributed.
Eventually we bought a Madsen with an electric hub motor, which works great for two kids, all our stuff, and gets us up steep hills really well. A third kid will fit pretty well, too. We spent about $2,000 total.
I do think it's helpful to think of cargo bikes as car replacements. Of course, with a $2,000 car, you also have to calculate yearly costs of fuel, insurance, and repairs-- many thousands more, over the life of the car. Bike repairs are much, much cheaper, and a lot can be done yourself, even with a learning curve. Obviously no fuel is needed (other than food for you!), and no insurance. Financially, there's just no comparison, though the initial outlay may be shocking when people are used to thinking of bikes as cheap, optional toys for recreation.
Biking for transportation adds so much to our lives. Excercise, enjoyment of our sometimes difficult climate, more contact with our community, ease of parking, teaching the kids that being active is normal, on and on. I love it. Hope you give it a try!

You bring up great points! How do you bike in the dead of winter?

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Old 11-02-2011, 10:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

Thanks! I like the madsen but all the reviews I've found say its not good for hilly areas, which we have a lot of.
The yuba looks nice, ill have to look more into it. How hard is it to move/remove the child seats?

We added the hub motor for this exact reason-- but honestly, there's no bike that would get 140 lb me and 140 lbs of kids+library books+groceries up these hills unassisted on a daily basis. I can muscle through on an xtracycle, but for hauling capacity with two or three kids, the Madsen with motor is fantastic.

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Old 11-02-2011, 10:18 PM
 
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You bring up great points! How do you bike in the dead of winter?

Wool! The mircle fabric for winter biking. I wear a thin wool base layer and wool socks, waterproof boots, a water-reistant jacket, and a light wool wrap around my head/ears. You warm up fast, though, and sometimes I have to stop and take off a few layers, even when it's really cold. The kids wear warm clothes and cover up with a fleece stadium blanket that's waterproof on one side. They never get particularly wet, cuz I block all the rain!

Of course, I live in a temperate climate. If it regularly got below our usual winter lows of about 30 degrees F, I might need a new strategy.

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Old 11-16-2011, 08:14 PM
 
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I have had both the madsen and the xtracycle radish. They are both great, very different. I prefer the madsen with kids but if you are not always taking kids with you I think the xtracycle is better, it is more versatile. My dd was scared of both, she has a weird thing with bikes that's why I was trying both. She is old enough now to bike on her own but I would still like another cargo bike just for me, but the price, oh the price. If I had a motor for my madsen I would probably still have it. I loved it! In the end I am fine with my cruiser and a basket and child seat for my youngest. It gets me to the kids school and a small trip to whole foods.
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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So, I'm coming late to the conversation, but it's nice to see we have some mamas with cargo bike experience here.

 

I've been thinking about getting one for a while, but I'm stumped at this point as to what our best choice is.  I have an autistic toddler (too heavy for a child seat, but not yet capable of sitting still and holding on), and am pg with what we're planning on being our last child.  One of the main things I'd like to be able to do with the bike is grocery shopping.  Right now I drive to do it, have to pay for parking and deal with finding parking (not always easy), and it's only about 1.5 miles from my house.  I just have no way of transporting the groceries other than the car.  The kids probably wouldn't be coming shopping with me, but otherwise I'd always have them with me while riding (whether for exercise or to get somewhere).  Eventually, the ability to transition the toddler on his own bike (starting off attached to mine, like with a Trail-a-bike) would be required.  I'm thinking that a long bike isn't the best option because of the toddler, I'd be better off with something with a cargo box, but can you attach a Trail-a-bike to a cargo box bike?  How useful would a cargo box bike be once the kids outgrow sitting in it? 

 

And then of course, the big question is how useful any of this would be because we live on the top of a fairly steep hill... it's only a block down to the bottom, and I'd have to walk the bike down the hill (busy cross-street at the bottom), but would I have to push it (fully loaded) up the hill too? 

 

Thoughts? 


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Old 12-07-2011, 06:38 PM
 
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Subbing... My 1980 schwinn varsity is all I have, and I usually put whatever groceries I get into my big messenger bag on my back and call it a day.  Granted, we have a car, but I prefer to bike.

 

I long for a madsen..!


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Old 12-10-2011, 10:32 PM
 
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Wow, I have never heard of cargo bikes before! I have (had) a bike and a trailer and loved it. I'll have to check out these cargo bikes and see what's up with them. 


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Old 01-26-2012, 09:09 PM
 
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That sounds awkward, Cristeen. 

 

I live at the bottom of a steep hill, it ends at a cross street as well and I've not had any problems stopping.  We got the bike with disc brakes which I do love.  Walking the bike is okay.  As I got more fit, I became much less likely to walk it. 

 

If you need something for a newborn, then I think that is harder since it will be a while before an upright seat works.  Generally what I've seen are arrangements that hold an infant car seat.  I recall seeing a yuba with boxed infant seats--one on each side of the rear wheel.  (Lower weight is more stable BTW)  Madsens are nice for littler ones because of the big bucket.  My Yuba has extra handlebars especially for big kids to hold.  You can get the baby/toddler seats (x2!) but I don't know what size child grows out of that.  If I were setting it up for an infant I am not sure how I would handle it. 

 

I think boxes are less versatile as children grow older.  And FWIW my youngest was riding on the back of the Yuba at 8yo and it was not a problem in any way--she stayed there until she was old enough to follow street safety rules in a group of four bikes, which is what we are now when I ride with the kids generally.    


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Old 01-28-2012, 10:53 AM
 
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DH and I went down to one car a few weeks ago and I'm stumbling upon this thread.  MADSEN.  OMG I think I'm in love.  I live in a small town and it would be perfect for us!


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Old 01-29-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post


You bring up great points! How do you bike in the dead of winter?


When we lived in Sweden, we biked all winter.  We needed to get studded tires to handle the snow and ice.  

 

Winter can be a wonderful time to bicycle, less overheating and terrific exercise and fresh air to beat the winter blahs.  

 

Now that we are in the States again, we bike year round, but rarely see snow here in the mid-Atlantic area.  My only complaint is the freezing wind - I wear good gloves and have a scarf around my face to buffer against the icy air.  


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Old 01-29-2012, 07:30 AM
 
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Just checked out the cargo bikes....wow!   Those are fantastic.  I have been making do with an old kid trailer which has worked fine, but I could see a cargo bike being a super upgrade.  I think I would shock my neighbors.  I get a lot of attention biking around with my groceries as it is.  

 

 


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