5 Cargo Bike Lessons Learned While Riding with Children

Shelby Sanchez shares cargo bike lessons she learned while riding with her two young children.

1. ENJOY THE BIKE RIDE

Cargo bike riding is an invitation for your family to slow down, localize, and connect with your surroundings. When we are riding, I love to engage my kids in discussions about what they see and experience on the ride. We love to make stops if we see animals or beautiful flowers. Sometimes, we forage for food. We also like to make stops at libraries or book swaps where the kids can choose a book or two to read on the ride.

2. YOUR ROUTE FOR THE DAY

Make sure the streets you are riding on are bike-friendly and safe. Scenic routes are more pleasant. Thankfully, in Long Beach, we have a bike path on the beach and many bike-friendly residential streets. Unless you have an electric cargo bike, I suggest avoiding routes with hills. Cargo bikes are heavy and with the added weight of children, a very heavy push up a hill.

3. ALLOW FOR STOPS IF YOUR KIDS NEED A BREAK

With my toddlers, our rides are no longer than 30-40 minute one way trips. They will get restless if I go any longer. If you have a long route, plan for stops at a park where the kids can stretch their legs, take off their helmets, and run around.

4. ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH A BIKE SHOP

Unless you live in Amsterdam or Portland, most likely you will be one of the few families with a cargo bike in your community (though I foresee this changing in the next few years). Form a relationship with a shop that knows how to meet your bike’s needs in a timely manner.

5. CLEAN OUT YOUR BIKE AT THE END OF THE DAY

I’ve found that, at the end of the day, the inside of the cargo bike can get quite dirty from shoes, dust, snacks, or small water spills. Proactive maintenance includes cleaning and caring for it.

4 Comments

  • Bill Henderson

    Great article Shelby. I bought a longtail about two months ago so I could spend some quality time with my grandkids while biking around our city. I have found it helpful to do a dry run with my cargo bike along a new route before making the trip with kids onboard. A route that would be no problem with my commuter bike, might be difficult with the extra weight, especially if there are sharp turns. For me, one of the most challenging aspects of transporting kids on a cargo bike are sharp turns where I have to slow down. Even if you’re an experienced cyclist, the adjustment to a wider turning radius is tricky. Plus unlike non-breathing cargo, kids tend to move around a little in unexpected ways. But I love the sound of their chatter and giggling as we roll along. And the grandkids love it when other kids point at the cargo bike and say, “Mommy, look at that bicycle!”

  • This is so true! I am up to 20 minutes with my children on my Nihola Cargo Trike, I love riding with them, but little kids get restless. I also keep my ShopVac right next to the bike so it is a very simple thing to just vacuum it out at the end of the day, and it ALWAYS needs it!

  • Kim - Babboe cargobikes

    Hi Shleby, great to see how you ad your family enjoy your Babboe Big cargobike and your tips are really usefull!
    Regards, Kim
    http://www.babboecargobike.com

  • Mark Lambert

    Every time we go out in the cargo bike I have to allow extra time to talk to strangers who want to know about the bike or friends that are walking down the street (doesn’t happen in a car).

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