It’s hard to miss the growing number of cargo bikes in Cambridge, being used to ferry everything from children to shopping to deliveries around. They use a lot less energy than cars do, and take up a lot less space, and I think they are a really valuable alternative means of transport.
Like many car owners, I’d like to use my car a lot less, but the thought of cycling a long distance with a week’s shopping, especially when it’s got heavy things like cat food or bulky things like toilet roll, is a bit of a deterrent.
Which is one reason why I was excited to see that there’s a new generation of electric cargo bikes, offering those of us who like to cycle but could do with a little help the perfect alternative to a car.
On Saturday morning I visited the Bike Depot on Cowley Road, which is also the home of Outspoken Cycles, and tried out one of Urban Arrow’s electric family bikes – it’s the same frame as their cargo bike but with a seat rather than a box.
After a short introduction to how the gears and motor worked and some sound advice on how to steer a much longer bicyle from Rob, I found it remarkably straightforward to use, and was soon whizzing along with a smile on my face. Because the motor only works while you’re actually pedalling it feels safer than a motor bike or scooter, and steering soon felt natural.
I can really see how one of these would fit well into my life, and encourage me to jump on my bike instead of the car.