Test Riding a Range of Cargo Bikes

100811_sticker_200.jpgThe bumper sticker shows a cargo bike and reads “One Less Truck.” Given the cargo bikes we rode at Joel and Barb Grover’s Splendid Cycles in Portland, it also could read “One Less Car.” Or “One more parent getting fit while carting the kids around.”

We had a long enjoyable day taping almost a mini-documentary at the Grover’s recently-opened store.

Concerned a few years ago about peak oil and other societal challenges, and having over twenty years in the bicycle industry, Joel and Barb took the plunge to meet a big need: offer human-powered transport that also hauls stuff. In a bike-friendly city like Portland, such a vehicle can meet nearly all of one’s local transport needs for far less cost than a motorized vehicle.

They regaled us with their story of transporting a six-foot-high palm plant on a cargo bike — too tall for their automobile,  and surely a head-turner for passers-by!


We taped a tour of their custom-outfitted cargo bikes included “gateway” bikes with additional capacity on front or back for child seats or boxes (Joel, left); a bike elongated between front wheel and rider for storage (Barb, center); and a stable tricycle with huge storage box with a seat for a small passenger between the front wheels (Robyn, right).

Off camera is the electric-assist bike, whose lithium ion batteries give it a range of about 60 miles with a recharge cost of about 5 cents. I was glad to learn that all their bikes can be outfitted with electric-assist, a boon for more challenging locales and people who might otherwise not ride.

We also taped a segment with local frame producers Joseph Ahearne and Nick Sande about Ahearne’s “cycle truck” (Joel, photo left).

Naturally we just had to test ride these bikes! I found them lighter and much easier to learn than it might appear. Not surprisingly, this adventure has re-ignited Robyn’s love of bike riding from decades past. Now she’s floating the notion of getting a couple of foldable bikes for on the road: they’d expand our (local) horizons and give us welcome exercise.

Thanks Barb and Joel, for lighting this flame, giving us a grand tour, and the most fun we’ve had in a long while.

Speak Your Mind