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cargo biking in Vancouver

The Growing Popularity of Cargo Bikes in Vancouver

11 September 2018 / Hilary Angus

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Over the past few years, Vancouver has made great strides in its effort to become a top-notch cycling city. Protected bike lanes and greenways now stretch across much of the city, enabling residents and visitors to travel significant distances in safety and comfort. One of the biggest benefits of safe cycling infrastructure is that it encourages many more people to consider biking as a viable transportation option.

One development we’ve witnessed over the past few years is the growing popularity of cargo biking in this city. If you’ve ever been to The Netherlands or Denmark, you would have noticed many people cycling around town in oversized bicycles outfitted with cargo boxes, transporting everything from small children to pets to furniture. While cargo bicycles have enjoyed over 100 years of popularity in those countries, they’ve remained basically unknown in North America until recently.

But as many North American cities add protected bike lanes to their streets, young families and other more vulnerable riders are slowly seeing bicycling as the best option to get around town. Parents who wouldn’t have biked with their children before are taking advantage of the new infrastructure to tote their little ones around, and one of the easiest ways to do so is with a cargo bike. Ten years ago, cargo biking was a fringe activity in Vancouver, whereas now we hardly go a day without seeing at least a few families out in the lanes.

Cargo bikes come in many different models, the two most popular of which are the Dutch-style bakfiets, which has a load-bearing box at the front of the bike; or the North American-style longtail, which has an elongated rear capable of functioning as a child seat or an oversized pannier rack.

If you’re in Vancouver and curious about cargo bikes, we have a Dutch-style bakfiets available for rent at our Hornby St. location. The Babboe City Bike is a two-wheeled version of the classic three-wheeled Dutch box bike, with a removable child seat in the front for up to two small children. It has 7-speeds, which make it capable of tackling a few of Vancouver’s tamer hills. Although with two toddlers in the front, we might not recommend it for a ride up Cypress Mountain.

The Babboe is available for short- or long-term rental. Take it for a spin around the seawall for a fun family outing, or take it home for a few days to see if cargo biking could be a fit for your family. Alternatively, get some aviator goggles for your bulldog and take them for a sunset cruise around the city blasting The Harder They Come by Jimmy Cliff from your handlebar speakers. Really, the options are endless.

We’re located at 648 Hornby St., and our rental advisers are on hand to answer any questions you might have about cargo biking. We also provide bicycle route maps and are happy to point out the safest routes to cart your fur babies (or actual babies) around. See you soon!

 

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