California dreaming with a long tail cargo bike

©Barry Sandland/TIMB 0- California longtail cargo bike with the owner

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Kids and cargo all sitting tight behind the rider.

“I was looking for a bike to transfer my kids on and do groceries and this keeps us from getting another car. Kona came out with the Ute and I thought it was great. Up until last year, I had two kids on this, when they were 11 and 7. Now the 8 year old rides on the back sometimes but they are both trying to get on their own bikes. It handles really well. It is not a nimble racing bike, but it does ride well. It is surprisingly easy to carry over 100 kgs on the back. You get wobbly on starts and it is nice to have low gears on hills, but is not so bad.”

Photographer’s notes: This is one of the prized California design, long tail cargo bikes. It carries all the weight behind the rider, the weight off the front wheel, offering a very different sense to a ride than the anticipated front load bikes.

I actually planted myself at a coffee shop nearby, hoping the owner would come by in a short time span. He did…

Longtails are incredibly popular in California as a surfboard transport. But it is also very popular in the developing world as a more affordable bike to construct.

Links to more about long tail cargo bikes

The Kona Ute company article here…

Xtracycle Cargo Bikes website here…

Touring With a Long Tail Cargo Bike article here…

The Best Cargo Carrying Bikes of 2014 article here…

How to Build a Long Tail Cargo Bike article here… To be clear, I am not suggesting long tails are DIY designs. But this does show how the bike has become so popular in developing countries where ingenious people can build their own.

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