Cargo bikes, in particular those with electric-assist motors, are life-changing. They are also, unfortunately, expensive. (Mostly. For now. Which I’ll come back to). The price tags of most brands put them out of reach of many potential riders and make them appear to be toys of the comfortable.
This came up in discussion at a cargo bike group ride this weekend: we all field constant questions about the bikes from strangers and the one that makes us pause is, “how much did it cost?” To the owner of an average adult bike, a thousand-dollar bike can seem unfathomable. And even if you compare it to the cost of purchasing a(nother) car – which is often a fair comparison, say, for Hum of the City‘s family – the very top-end cargo bikes from Riese & Muller or similar can be half the cost of a subcompact car. And said Toyota Yaris can get you to your job 30 miles away, which the bike cannot.
This week I did 50 miles of bike commuting, mostly moving my kids around, and 0 miles of driving. It was delightful. And I remain confident that e-cargo bikes are the future. Here I want to put the high price tags in what I hope will be the accurate historical context and explore factors that will make them universally accessible. Time will tell.