Photo by Andrea Tothill
The Bicycle Family(l-r) Finnegann, Frankie, Jane & Rusl - The Bicycle Family - pose in and on their ‘Long John’ cargo bike in Vancouver, BC.
For Rusl Bicycle, cargo bikes are his business. As owner of Vancouver-based The Bicycle Family, he specializes in manufacturing and customizing cargo bikes and trailers. Rusl and his wife bought their first cargo bike, a Dutch-made Bakfiets, in May 2008, just after their son Finnegann was born. They wanted to find a car-free way to get around with their baby, and figured a cargo bike was the answer. The following year Bicycle apprenticed at the Center for Appropriate Transport in Eugene, OR, and hand-built his first cargo bike – now a demo bike for his business.
Q: What made you decide to start riding a cargo bike?
After we had our first child, we needed to figure out a good way to get around with him. We don’t own a car and travel primarily by bicycle. We loved the idea of having our baby right in front of us, where we could easily talk to him and see how he was doing. He was safely protected by the box and until he was a year old, we placed him in a car seat within the box.
Q: When did you start using a cargo bike?
In May 2008 when our first son was five months old. We felt such freedom after we got one.
Q: Where did you buy your cargo bike?
We bought our first cargo bakfiets at Raincity Bikes (now called Whoa! Nellie) in Vancouver, BC. A year later I apprenticed down in Eugene, OR, at the Center for Appropriate Transport, and hand-built my first cargo bike, which is now my demo bike for my business, The Bicycle Family.
Q: How has owning a cargo bike affected your life and/ or business?
Cargo bikes are my business, a labour of love to be sure. I get to have a beautiful way of getting around with my children, and I can carry a whole pile of groceries at the same time. When we ride, my son tells me he can smell the ocean and he talks nonstop about the flowers he sees in people’s gardens.
Q: What is something that makes cargo biking unique?
We enjoy the journey. We can all be together as we ride with the wind in our faces, and talk with ease about what we see and think. My son can pass me the water bottle:)