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What Is a Cargo Bike, and When Should You Ride One?

They're utilitarian, functional and fun. We explain everything you need to know about cargo bikes, and why they may just be your new favorite ride.

payak e cargo bike

Faced the decision of commuting on bike or car, it's all too easy to wind up on four wheels, whether you like it or not. If you're the average adult, you're hauling around enough stuff on the daily to easily fill a backpack: laptop, planner, pocket knife, reusable water bottle, your kid's water bottle, snacks for you both, smartphone, sunglasses. And that doesn't include what you plan to pick up at the farmer's market, post office or hardware store.

If you're bike-obsessed but aren't extremely minimalist, you're often choosing the boring car over the joy of feeling the wind in your face and two wheels propelling you forward.

But despair not — it doesn't have to be this way. Smart folks out there got together and created a solution for my problem and yours: the cargo bike, and in the last five years, the electric cargo bike. Could this transportation-friendly ride replace your daily driver?

What is a cargo bike?

A cargo bike is a bike built to haul around heavy loads (and oftentimes multiple people), with weight capacities that far outpace standard bikes. A cargo bike has a few key design elements that distinguish it from more typical designs: most cargo bikes feature a step-through frame for easy mounting and dismounting. They're rack-compatible, and have plenty of storage options for, you know, cargo.

Most cargo bikes have a step-through frame and are rack-compatible.

Cargo bikes can be used to carry groceries and run errands, drop kids off at school, bring the dog along on adventures and for bike commuting and work. Like many bikes in the last three years, cargo bikes are seeing a renaissance in electric form. The electric cargo bike opens up even more opportunities for riding, and with a full charge, can take you even further along your journey. For many people that live in city environments or can't afford a car, the electric cargo bike is an affordable and space-friendly option.

Is a cargo bike better than a bike trailer?

It depends. A trailer is a great way to get carrying capacity without getting a seperate bike, but built-for-purpose cargo bikes are better at hauling than an aftermarket trailer.

Bike trailers can be connected to a city bike, trekking bike or urban-oriented model with a simple hitch, usually attached to the rear axle. A solid bike trailer will run you anywhere between $100 and $1,000, depending on the style and materials.

But if you don't already have a bike, or are keen to add another bike to the fleet, a cargo bike has advantages over a trailer. Because they're designed with hauling heavier loads in mind, cargo bikes are inherently better handling and more secure than a bike with trailer attached. On most cargo bikes, the passenger sits in front of the driver, which allows for clearer conversation (and peace of mind for parents toting around little ones).

Where can you ride a cargo bike?

Paved bike lanes, roads and urban pathways are all great terrain for the cargo bike but we wouldn't recommend taking them on your local trails.

If you're going with an electric version to always start on the lowest level of assist, especially with a heavy load; no one likes a runaway bike, after all. And make sure even if you're only taking your cargo bike on short trips that you perform regular service and maintenance; because of its heavy load, the components on a cargo bike (electric or not) will have more wear and tear than a standard bike, and should be regularly maintained for safety and smooth riding.

Payak E+

Momentum Pakyak E+

$4,900.00 (12% off)
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RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bike


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