Bye Car – Hello Cargo Bike!
Her cargo bike is the perfect alternative to a car for Elena.
Freight bikes are a sustainable and sporty alternative to constant traffic jams and the tedious search for a parking space. But are the transport bikes suitable for everyone? Is it worthwhile to buy them? Elena has tried it and describes her experiences.
Elena is frustrated. Her old car has finally given up the ghost after many repairs. Actually she is annoyed by the city traffic and has no desire for a new car. But she has always found it indispensable for bulk purchases or excursions. Then she notices more and more transport bikes in the cityscape. “Not a bad idea at all,” she thinks and goes to a bicycle shop to get advice on the various models.
- Three-wheeled transport wheel: The multi-track wheels are suitable for large and heavy transports. Large models with electric drive can carry up to 300 kilograms. These bikes stand quietly and safely on the road and the driver does not have to get off the bike if there are frequent stops. But kerbs and narrow passages can become a problem.
- Single-tracked load wheel: Depending on the model, up to 150 kg can be transported on the loading area. The turning circle is considerably larger than usual, otherwise the single-track load wheel travels similar to a normal bike.
- Bicycle with reinforced luggage carrier: Good for small, fast transports. However, the load must not be too heavy, otherwise cycling becomes a tippy affair.
Elena tests a three-wheeled load bike – and rides serpentines first. Riding on three wheels feels very unusual compared to a normal bike. But after only a few minutes Elena gets the hang of it. The test ride with the single-tracked load bike, on the other hand, is much closer to the “normal” bike feeling.
Nevertheless, Elena has reservations: “I have stamina, but I am not particularly strong. What if I do tip over when braking or starting off with the fully loaded bike? The tricycle seems safer then.”
So she likes a three-wheeled load wheel with electric drive best. But that costs a proud 3900 GBP. Elena hesitates, after all that is a lot of money for a bicycle. The seller reminds her of the maintenance costs. With a cargo bike, these only make up a fraction of the costs for the car. Instead of car insurance, a cheap theft insurance is sufficient, the maintenance and repair costs are much lower and the bike devours much less money for electricity than car owners pay for petrol. That convinces Elena.
How much does a cargo bike cost?
The practical companions are not cheap: a load bike without electric drive costs around 2,000 GBP. With pedelec drive and accessories, the price quickly doubles. Used models are available at a lower price, from about 800 GBP.
Promotion of load bikes
Inform yourself before the purchase about possible subsidy programs for your cargo bike. Some federal states or cities offer a subsidy on the purchase price – even for private individuals.
Instalment credit from Credit company
An e-load wheel does not fit the budget? No problem, because the Credit company is not earmarked. It can therefore also be used for the purchase of a load wheel. You determine the term and rate. Our credit calculator will immediately calculate your monthly rate.
Shopping with the Lastenrad
The first endurance test: Buying at the beverage store. Elena buys four crates of lemonades and mineral water and carefully secures the load in the transport box. She now has to cycle just under 100 kilograms home. Challenges on the way: A slight but steady incline and some curbs. The big surprise: the gradient is no problem at all. After starting up, the electric motor starts and supports Elena on the climb.
“I’m thrilled, I would have thought that I would arrive at home completely sweaty and tired”, says Elena astonished. It gets more difficult with the kerbs, even with lowered ones. If Elena drives over them with too much momentum, it gets wobbly and she fears to tip over in the worst case. So she carefully drives over the low obstacle. “It’s a bit of a hassle, but I think it’ll get better with practice.”
Excursions with the cargo bike
For the next test Elena grabs her nephew Jonas and her bitch Kira and drives with them to the lake. Five-year-old Jonas has great fun being driven around by his aunt together with Kira. The bitch also seems to enjoy the ride. And Elena has a good view of both and can talk to Jonas during the ride. After an hour of cycling the three arrive at the lake. Child and dog are well rested and ready for a bath in the lake. And thanks to the electric motor – even Elena is hardly out of breath.
“It’s really great for little kids,” says Elena. “And I’m also happy that I can take Kira with me without any problems. Now I can go on many more trips with her. She is already a bit older and not so fit anymore and a big collie is hard to carry in a bike basket”.
Good to know: Kids on the cargo bike
Load bikes are ideal for families with small children. You should pay attention to the following:
- Children under the age of seven are only allowed to ride on a bicycle trailer. This restriction does not apply to the load bike!
- With a baby seat, you can theoretically also take babies with you on a load bike. However, it is not recommended until six months of age, as the ride is very jerky and the baby can be injured.
- Even if it is not required by law: you should never do without bicycle helmets and seat belts for the little ones!
- Almost all manufacturers offer numerous accessories to adapt the transport box to the age and needs of your children.
Despite all the euphoria, Elena would not recommend the load bike to everyone. “The purchase of a load bike should be considered carefully. It is an expensive investment and you should first consider how often you actually use it. If you ride rarely, you’re better off with a borrowed load bike.”
Loan load wheels
In many towns and communities you can rent or hire a cargo bike. Especially in the big cities there are many initiatives that provide a fleet of rental bikes. But also in smaller communities you can find load bikes for rent, often from local bike shops. With a short internet search you can quickly find suitable providers in your area.
Another important point: Is there even a safe place to park the large load bike? Not everyone has a bike shed behind the house. And the vehicle weighing between 35 and 60 kg is not even carried down to the basement.
Fortunately, Elena’s apartment has a lockable courtyard with a wide driveway. There her bike is safe from rain and theft. On the way she has to protect it of course still particularly well against theft. Freight bikes are also very popular with thieves!
How do I protect myself against theft?
Several high-quality locks
Make sure you buy high-quality bicycle locks! Read test reports on individual models and decide on really crack-proof locks, preferably more than one. Make it as difficult as possible for the thieves!
A particularly individual appearance makes your cargo bike more attractive for yourself – but less interesting for thieves. A high recognition value makes the resale of stolen goods more difficult.
Parking in busy streets
In public it is easier to be noticed when you are approaching a bicycle lock – potential thieves know that too.
Load bikes are popular – unfortunately also with thieves. If your cargo bike has been stolen despite all