but if you were thinking about getting a cargo bike, the coming-soon Xtracycle EdgeRunner is a pretty nice-looking piece of work. Here’s the promo for Interbike, here’s the technical guy from Xtracycle explaining features.
I’m not sure what I could say to add to their own advertising, except to confirm that this stuff is real, meaning you really can do what you see in the video, and these guys really do know their stuff. Xtracycle’s first product (the FreeRadical) was a wonder; three attachmnt points and it’s securely on, the only mods to the bike itself are longer shift and brake cables, plus an extension to the chain. Miraculously, the derailer chain would just fit in the available space between all the structural parts. The snap deck was light, strong, and good looking, and even then the design was “open” enough that people made their own replacement decks (for example, a snapdeck skateboard).
A choice of a cargo bike involves tradeoffs, but this design made some nice ones. More torque, longer wheelbase, lower load, stiffer, and nice new accessories for carrying kids or really heavy stuff with ease. The big advantage of longtails (over the other large-bike choice, front-loading Long-Johns and bakfiets) is that they maneuver “just like a bike”; unloaded, you can walk or ride them through narrow places with relative ease (front loaders are more convenient to load, but ride less like a “normal” bike, and tend to have mandatory width, though it varies).
There’s a serious electric assist option — 910 watts; that’s almost 3 of me, meaning that I could haul a 110-pound load up a 10% grade at 12-15 mph, depending on how hard I wanted to work. That drives up the price, however.
For bonus fun, it’s a relatively open platform; the electric assist is designed to use standard connectors, not proprietary ones, and the specs for the cargo area of the frame itself are “open“.
For double bonus fun, the frame’s designed by the fastest (self-propelled) man on earth.
June 19, 2010
I started riding much more seriously back in 2006, unhappy with my crappy blood chemistry, feeling fat, not particularly fond of the oil war that we were in, and global warming. I knew I could ride my commute — 10 miles — in good weather, not carrying much, but what about bad weather? What about shopping? What about kids?
What clinched the deal, was a few months after starting to ride in earnest, my blood chemistry improved, lots. Can’t quit now, right? So I didn’t, and set out to do whatever it took to keep riding. The bike I ride now is the result of this, and it is now a really excellent bike, probably more fun to ride than any other bike I have ever owned.
So why is it fun? It goes fast enough, it handles well, I can carry pretty much anything I can pick up, and because of the tires, steel frame, and the seat located midway between the tires, bumps are not so much of a problem. I can go into a sort of a tuck for the wind, I can ride upright and see everything, I can easily do a rolling dismount. It’s really stable; I come much closer to being able to do a track stand, and the bike tends to stay upright when I clip minor obstacles (don’t ask). If I don’t ride, I start to hurt; my knees like regular use, and there’s something funky (arthritis, is the unofficial diagnosis) going on in my back, that biking fixes.
Like all bicycles, parking is never a problem, like all bicycles, traffic is not much of a problem. Like all bicycles, if I find my way blocked by a giant snow pile or some similar obstacle, I get off and go around or over (try that in a car sometime). If it breaks, usually you can fix it on the road with hand tools. If it breaks badly (it did once) you can easily walk it home, or at least to a better place to wait.