- Regular errands become an adventure, a mission. How much can we carry? Where will our route take us? How much gas can we save by not using the car? Every trip is a challenge to outperform and one-up the utility of the cargo bike.
On days we aren’t hauling a Christmas tree, groceries, or wood for an outdoor fire, we take it to work, bringing Katie Lou along for the ride. (Though, admittedly, Katie Lou is still not 100% convinced that this is her favorite ride).
With the cargo bike, we have been able to virtually eliminate all weekday vehicular travel, with the exception of our paddle training, which (until we figure out another option…any ideas?) still requires use of the car to get to the water.
- Even on days “off” from training, regular outdoor exercise is the norm, not the exception. Every trip is an excuse to get outside and move. While so many people are stuck inside their cubicles, breathing toxic, recycled air and not getting the outdoor therapy we are convinced is imperative for good health, we feel most fortunate that our lives are built-around getting-around using our own two legs.
- It’s all about the connections. Via cargo bike, we are in a good position to experience more positive interactions with others — Including spontaneous and serendipitous rendez vous with friends we see downtown. When we see someone we know or some place we want to stop, we. just. stop. No parking drama, no circling the block, no honking horns.
It’s a bifurcated benefit, with serendipity linking us not only to who we run into, but how spontaneous our own choice of excursions becomes. For instance, after a grocery run we might hit up a stationary store or small boutique on Main Street we’ve never been to. In a car, we would never have bothered with the hassle. The stores, cafes, and other local businesses — seemingly invisible when you’re in a car — somehow come to life as soon as you are a pedestrian and can see your landscape at a different speed and focal depth.
- “Shop Local.”
The research on cyclists and pedestrians in shopping environments downtown is clear: When you’re not bound by a car, you stay a while. You spend money. You drive business. We can only hope that as our downtown landscape evolves in Sarasota, city planners take these statistics into account by encouraging more pedestrian traffic and enhancing the city’s currently frightening bikeability.
Typically, when we ride in these urban settings, we see smiling faces, looks of shock & awe, and we manage to spark conversation because commuting by means of a cargo bike is an expression of both art and utility, a phenomenon unlike most people we cross paths with have ever seen.
(Though, also because of its novelty and the fact that we are riding in one of the most elderly-dominant parts of the country, we do come across some people who just look confused and, at times, angry at the sight of us riding down the street in our cargo bike. We figure they’ll get over it! It’s important that we are a polite, law-abiding presence on the streets so that we can affect positive change in a city that otherwise does not cater well to unmotorized forms of transportation).
- Happy hour is safer for everyone. Visits to the local brewery and downtown for a pint by cargo bike mean we can leave the keys at home and keep the roads safer for all. Skoal!
- Date night? Your chariot awaits, m’lady. Bethany is always eager to jump in for a ride in the cargo box. Over the holidays, we even rode in formal attire to a Christmas party by cargo bike. On weeknights, sunset bike rides at the bayfront in Sarasota end in trips to Matto Matto for world-class tiramisu….Note: Date nights like these were few and far between “pre-cargo-bike” (PCB). 😀
You could also work with your local agencies to advocate for safer transportation by bike in your city. Here’s a few good resources to start:
- Less Car, More GO — The Cargo Bike Documentary by Liz Canning
- Metrofiets Blog
- Join one of the many cargo bike groups on Facebook, such as: