does anybody here use a cargo bike?

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Alphaville
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does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

non-electric/ pedal-and-grunt type

how often do you use it, what kinds of things do you carry, how far do you go with them?

what type of box or trailer do you use for it? is it diy? is it purchased? is it reliable?

--

im in the process of converting a large cruiser bike into a cargo rig. already has large dutch basket in the rear, i might add one to the front wheel like an opafiets. i fear high weight placement might make it unstable.

original comes with 3-speed shimano nexus internal gears and coaster brake, but i'm replacing the 52 tooth chainring with a 39 and the 170mm cranks with 155s. short cranks and small chainring were originally for my wife, who commuted on this beast, but she got a smaller bike now, and i'll be manning the cargo; nevertheless i will try them for gearing ratios.

so, for real heavy weight i'm looking around for a suitable trailer to acquire by build or purchase or barter or freecycle.

read in reviews that the common scwhinn trailers suffer from crappy wheels, so i'm looking at the product selection by burley. besides the usual baby/pet trailers they offer models such as a flatbed, a covered touring trailer (both attach in the rear wheel) and a thing that looks like a golf bag/hand truck and attaches to the seatpost.

wondering if i could build something similar to the burley with similar folding/lightweight qualities. aesthetics are not important for this particular build.

i need something that can carry sacks of food, cuts of lumber, bags of dirt, that sort of thing, which cannot be loaded on the bicycle proper. this bicycle marketer (not really a manufacturer) originally sold an attachment for "surfboards" (lmao) that i think could be used for planks of wood.

anyone with experience, kindly share. advanced thanks.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Cargo bikes, particularly electric ones, are all the rage right now in urban/suburban, middle/upper-middle class yuppie family circles for kid hauling purposes. They also seem to double as mild status symbols, great for Instagram.

I have owned three kid hauler type burley trailers. The first was $40 and then I found two others on the curb. The second of the free ones was newer with more capacity and bigger wheels and in mint condition so I kept that and got rid of the others.

The first burley I had was an older model that worked fine but I never liked that part of the bar that connected the trailer to the bike was a spring. I could really feel the spring flexing as I pedaled. With a heavy load and hard pedaling the movement was crazy. The newer model doesn't have this and it is much smoother. The newer model mount still wasn't perfect though as it contacted the brake disc on my bike. Some minor filing solved it.

I used to get a month's worth of groceries at a time, including a fair amount of heavy liquids. The trailer didn't complain, though it was a tough ride even though I was in good shape at the time. Getting up to speed and hills sucked. Empty the trailer is forgettable as long as you aren't travelling through tight spaces. You don't want to snag it on something at speed because it will be like dropping an anchor. :shock:

Be sure to carry a tube that fits the trailer (or at least a patch kit) and any tools needed to remove the wheel.

I've never carried significant lumber but I could see it working two ways:
1. just set one end of the board in the footwell and the other end against the crossbar that runs above the seats. Tie it down with a bungee/ratchet strap. This should work pretty well with lighter loads and shorter boards.
2. Somehow add a crossbar to the top front of the kid compartment area so that you have two crossbars like would be available on a car with a roof rack. Now you can lay the boards on the crossbars. Strap them down. Not sure if this will be better or worse than method 1.

If you lay plywood across the bottom of the trailer so that any weight is goes from the board right to the frame instead of on the fabric floor you can haul heavy stuff without worrying about the floor giving out or getting holes poked in it. I've hauled concrete blocks, 5 gallon buckets of rock, all kinds of things that didn't make any sense when I was really anti car. The trailer didn't seem to mind, though it was a rare thing not all day, every day.

Surly makes a couple of trailers you could model after if you want to build one: https://surlybikes.com/parts/cargo#trailer. I recommend you try a burley kid trailer before you build something to see how you like it. I see them for $50 all the time and they hold their value if you decide to sell it.

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Alphaville
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

yeah haha ha ebikes are just greenwashed mopeds. don't need one.

the surfboard rack looks like a giant hook or bent paperclip like this:

Image

and functions like this:

Image

where i guess one could place a couple of wooden planks at a time with the help of bungee cords. im not building a house or anything so carrying enough materials for say a shelf would suffice.

seems fairly easy to jerryrig rather than purchase.

not superworried about hills with the replacement chainring. i can go as low as... 34 teeth i think? and then could swap the rear cog to boot. i'll have to see the influence of crank length as well.

if i can go at walking speed that's good enough for me. the goal of this desired contraption is just to carry large/uncomfortable loads, not to fly. let the mopeds pass me by :lol:


sssso.... burley baby carriers abound, eh? great idea... i will troll the freecycles for one and see what i can find.

the surlys are surly pricey! yikes...

7Wannabe5
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I owned a bike cargo trailer that looked/functioned kind of like the GoPlus or Aosom models on Amazon. I could easily haul it, even with heavy load like compost and not so great bike, for the few miles I traveled around the city from my permaculture project to home or store. The kids in the neighborhood were always very excited to see their eccentric substitute teacher biking around with a tree to transplant in her trailer. The polyamour who gifted me with this trailer also took rear view video of me pulling it with my bike which I believe he posted on some tasteful erotica for the intelligent site :lol:

Toska2
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Toska2 »

I had several bikes carrying a variety of weight.

2000 Giant cypress dx: aluminum frame, had a weird resonant harmonic at 100 rpm cadence which was my cruise. Got rid of it for that reason. No panniers but rode it in winter with backpack overall weight was 190 lbs.

2005 Trek 520: steel frame & 35mm 700c tires: hauled groceries in two panniers 6 miles every other week for years. Very stable, it had a longish top tube so I could breathe more deeply for long trips, gave it to an ere forum member.

2012 Surly LHT: steel frame & 26" tires, picked it up on a whim to compare to the Trek 520, much more twitchy (shorter chainstay & steeper rake angle), still a very nice and sturdy bike, i would get Surly's Ogre instead for more fender space and tire selection (LHT fits 1.75, Ogre fits 2.25)

I have at least 4000 miles on each bike.

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Alphaville
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:16 am
I owned a bike cargo trailer that looked/functioned kind of like the GoPlus or Aosom models on Amazon. I could easily haul it, even with heavy load like compost and not so great bike, for the few miles I traveled around the city from my permaculture project to home or store. The kids in the neighborhood were always very excited to see their eccentric substitute teacher biking around with a tree to transplant in her trailer.
so, a trailer, like this?
https://www.amazon.com/Aosom-Wanderer-F ... 0083JHEG8/

sounds very capable. i think i'll look for a similar model... with reliable wheels because some reviewers of the aosom complain of bad wheels--same as the schwinn. but the basic geometry sounds right & appears a capable design.
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:16 am
The polyamour who gifted me with this trailer also took rear view video of me pulling it with my bike which I believe he posted on some tasteful erotica for the intelligent site :lol:
were you in this? :D
https://youtu.be/xt0V0_1MS0Q?t=69
Toska2 wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:25 pm
I had several bikes carrying a variety of weight.
thanks! i do my groceries on foot (or bike with xl messenger bag) but im looking for something that can transport, say, 100lb in addition to my weight and the bike's weight. when you say 190lb total what are you referring to?

7Wannabe5
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Alphaville:

That’s the basic design, but it had canvas liner and top which were very helpful for looser loads. The quick release mechanism is critical and as I recall there was also a spring joint in the mechanism that made turning corners very smooth and easy. I am not a very strong cyclist and I would often even forget it was there which is definitely not my experience with baby carriers etc.

That Queen song was on the cassette tape workout mix my sister and I did circa 1980. I was 51 and wearing cheap stretch pants at the time of the trailer bike video, so seriously should not have been preserved for internet posterity. Men...

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Alphaville
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

haha, life doesnt end at 51 i hope

so was the trailer something like this?

Image

7Wannabe5
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Not at 51. 56, maybe...

My trailer was quite a bit bigger than that and it was rectangular. It actually looked kind of like my Gorilla garden dump cart. It was some random brand. Not terribly expensive. I gave the trailer and the cart to my permaculture partner when I went super minimalist.

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Alphaville
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:59 pm
Not at 51. 56, maybe...

My trailer was quite a bit bigger than that and it was rectangular. It actually looked kind of like my Gorilla garden dump cart. It was some random brand. Not terribly expensive. I gave the trailer and the cart to my permaculture partner when I went super minimalist.
hah hah! raquel welch begs to differ im sure

anyway, i'll look for "gorilla garden dump cart" on the interwebs...

comme ça?

Image

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Ego
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Ego »

Front, rear and extrawheel rear panniers with an additional duffel bags on top of the rear rack and the extrawheel allows for at least 150lbs. The advantage is the extrawheel folds up to a little large than the wheel itself and can hang from a hook in the back of a garage. Disadvantage is there is no flat surface to rest things like plants or large square boxes.

Image

7Wannabe5
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Found it. It was the Aosom Elite Bike Cargo Trailer in black and yellow, currently available on Overstock for $117.

Toska2
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Toska2 »

190 lbs dynamic- on the pedal.

Closer to 220 lbs with 50 lbs in the orblite panniers.

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Alphaville
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

Ego wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:26 pm
Front, rear and extrawheel rear panniers with an additional duffel bags on top of the rear rack and the extrawheel allows for at least 150lbs.
whoa! that is a fantastic beast
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:43 pm
Found it. It was the Aosom Elite Bike Cargo Trailer in black and yellow, currently available on Overstock for $117.
ooh, many thanks, i'll use that as my paradigm for size and geometry
Toska2 wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:54 pm
190 lbs dynamic- on the pedal.

Closer to 220 lbs with 50 lbs in the orblite panniers.
ah, i see! i'm your same weight normally.

---

i'm looking to haul 100+lbs maybe, things of odd geometry that cannot possibly fit into panniers, like a large potted plant for example, or a large cooler.

in the reviews for the scwhinn trailer you find one by a person who loaded a filing cabinet. steel, 4 drawers! :lol:

i can't link the picture, but you can see it among customer images here: https://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-Day-Trip ... omerImages

the only thing that gives me pause are the bad reviews on the wheels. dont want to get stranded and then have to haul a large uber. and the cost of replacing wheels might be annoying (i dont have that size spares)

macg
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by macg »

Great topic!

Don't underestimate the simple milk crate strapped to a front or rear rack, either the traditional size or the larger rectangular size...

I don't have a "cargo bike" per say, when I hear cargo bike I envision a big copenhagen thing, like a ferla family bike lol. I have a hybrid (trek 7300) bike that I've had for the last 9 years ... with fenders, back rack, 2 panniers. Besides recreational riding, I use it regularly for shopping, and starting a few years back, added a standard milk crate on top of the back rack as needed - for example, to grab some potted plants that wouldn't go well in a pannier.

I have seen in person and read online of many people who have found baby trailers on craigslist/freecycle/etc for dirt cheap (or free) and modified them for use as cargo trailers instead. I have not attempted this yet, myself.

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Alphaville
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

macg wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:30 pm
Great topic!

Don't underestimate the simple milk crate strapped to a front or rear rack, either the traditional size or the larger rectangular size...

I don't have a "cargo bike" per say, when I hear cargo bike I envision a big copenhagen thing, like a ferla family bike lol. I have a hybrid (trek 7300) bike that I've had for the last 9 years ... with fenders, back rack, 2 panniers. Besides recreational riding, I use it regularly for shopping, and starting a few years back, added a standard milk crate on top of the back rack as needed - for example, to grab some potted plants that wouldn't go well in a pannier.

I have seen in person and read online of many people who have found baby trailers on craigslist/freecycle/etc for dirt cheap (or free) and modified them for use as cargo trailers instead. I have not attempted this yet, myself.
my bicycle situation, to parafrase facepoop, "is complicated" . im in between things.

i have a 23yo hybrid that must undergo transmogrification. paint was pitted and frame was beginning to rust, gears need an overhaul/update (still trying to figure what i want to make of it, maybe singlespeed or fixie), i have a new brooks saddle and a nitto albatross handlebar for it, and it promises to become a beautiful thing by... summer maybe? but runs on winter too. i used to do my shopping on it just with an xl messenger bag, packed to the gills. 40lb tops?

i might eventually hitch a trailer to that hybrid, but i want the option to ride it light, so i'd rather keep racks and other things off it. metal fenders are already heavy enough.

then i have a big clunky aluminum cruiser bike that used to be my wife's. on paper it can fit people even taller than me, i practice doesn't feel quite right. it's a heavy beast with a rear rack and a big aluminum basket. the front has nothing, my wife used a wicker basket on it, but she's taken that to her new foldable (she loves the foldable, which is light and nimble).

the cruiser is the one i'll be turning into a "cargo" rig: loaded with racks and hooks and things and no concern for weight.

it has: fenders, internal3-speed hub, rear rack and aluminum basket, touring saddle, 26" winter tires, nitto promenade handlebars. perfect for heavy loads because it's heavy in itself. another piece of metal attached to it won't change much :D

will add: smaller chainring for granny gearing. shorter cranks to prevent pedal strike (bottom bracket is too low). better kickstand. trailer for large loads.

might add: front rack (and/or basket/milk crate/bag). panniers. longer seat post and quill stem so i can fit it better.
Last edited by Alphaville on Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Alphaville
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

holy moly look at the burley flatbed!

Image

HAYBALES

ducknald_don
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by ducknald_don »

Alphaville wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:44 am
yeah haha ha ebikes are just greenwashed mopeds. don't need one.
My mileage more than doubled after I got an e-bike. There is one ride to my nearest town with a stonking hill that I would do once a week, now I ride it almost daily.

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Alphaville
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by Alphaville »

ducknald_don wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:23 am
My mileage more than doubled after I got an e-bike. There is one ride to my nearest town with a stonking hill that I would do once a week, now I ride it almost daily.
of course, but in my state that's legally a moped, and at that point (price, weight, tech, torque, safety, law, repairability, etc) i might as well get a honda.

vespa also has an electric model these days (a beauty, i might add). i don't need one now, but maybe some day... an elegant machine.

macg
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Re: does anybody here use a cargo bike?

Post by macg »

Aren't there different types of e-bikes though? Ones that are more moped-like, with a throttle, and ones that are pedal-assist only, no throttle? I've never used any, to be fair, this is just what I've understood from reading different articles...

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