Tips for riding a cargo bike with your kids (2022): gear and tips for riding safely

When I started looking at electric cargo bikes years ago, they were expensive niche vehicles for a specific subset of quirky people. Today, e-bikes are everywhere. But there is one demographic that an e-bike is especially useful for—parents.

Parents, especially mothers, travel a lot. In addition to a full time job, I have a 4 year old and a 7 year old. Every day I drop them off at school and run home to get on the computer, take them on play dates or volunteer at events. Without a motor on my bike, I simply wouldn’t have the muscle strength to carry my kids and carry all their stuff. I would need a car.

An electric bike changed everything for me. It turned my endless boring errands into windswept opportunities to simultaneously train, take my kids for a ride, and stop and chat with our neighbors. I love my electric cargo bike, probably a little too much. If you’re considering taking the plunge, here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

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Choose your race

Photo: Tern

Bikes are incredibly personal. Which bike is best for you depends on a number of factors, such as your budget, size and strength (sorry), and the terrain and traffic around your home.

In general, cargo bikes come in two flavors. A mid- or longtail has an extended rear rack to attach seats or panniers, while a baked goods or a Long John suspends a cargo box between the rider and the front wheel. I ride a Tern GSD S00 (8/10, WIRED Recommends), which is a mid-tail bike. It has a maximum weight capacity of around 450 pounds and isn’t very long, meaning it can’t carry as much stuff as easily as a bakfiets, but it’s lighter and more maneuverable. If you live in a flat area with good roads, I recommend a baked goods; most people just throw garden tools and kids in the box.

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About Leonard J. Kelley

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