Cargo bikes are not just for flatlands and couriers

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Cargo bikes at the ready for the cargo bike races in Brussels during Mobility Week

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – My first outing to a cargo bike race. Too much fun!

“There are a lot of cargo bikes today, but many of them are from Ghent or Kortryk. It is a little easier to ride cargo bikes out there. Or in Berlin. Or London. All of them are flatlands. Not so easy in Brussels.”

Notes: The cargo bike race at Tour and Taxi in Brussels during Mobility Week. My first time at an event and it was a laugh.

Cargo bikes get a hard knock. That, somehow, they are flatland tools. Of course, the other joke is that Brussels in hilly.
Cargo bikes are far from the butcher boy’s heavy steel frame, or the monstrous bakfiets used for kid transport. Omnium and Bullitt are leading the way with super fast designs that can cover almost any terrain. And the customisation permitted is stunning.
Businesses are opening on two wheels. Cargo bins are the obvious addition. Now think car seats, carriers, extended boxes. Far from the bikes of couriers, they are becoming family vehicles.
And then Brussels. Hilly…. Gimme a break. There is a hill or two, but nothing compared to any region with real stuff to worry about. Granted, as a courier, it can be tedious if you have to ride the hill a few times per shift.
Add in the technical advantages of 11-speed cassettes and compact cranksets, and most hills disappear. Or, at least can be managed eventually. Just slowly.
I just know a cargo bike is in my future. Every time I see one, I have a pang of lust.

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