They're practical, they're efficient, and they're fun for the whole family.
Unfortunately, many of these families will make you wanna puke:
“We do all sorts of errands on the bike,” Mr. Hoverman said. “We try not to get in the car all weekend.”
Firstly, if you're new to the world of smugness, "We try not to get in the car all weekend" means "We totally get in the car every weekend, we just know we're supposed to feel guilty about it when talking to reporters about our cargo bike."
20 bucks says he's got a "One Less Car" sticker on the bike to boot.
Secondly, I don't give a shit how you get to Costco, but if you're going to try not to use your car for whatever reason, why own one that costs FIFTY-FUCKING-THOUSAND DOLLARS?!?
It takes a special kind of arrogance to rationalize this sort of conspicuous consumption. Do they think buying a car that costs more than a lot of people make in a year and then not using it is endearing somehow? I suppose they also spend $500 on caviar and then try not to eat it, and have a $10,000 bed but do their best to sleep in the backyard.
Come on, spare us the guilt. Most of us have no problem with your owning both a cargo bike and a car, and we'd respect you a hell of a lot more if you simply said, "Hey, the cargo bike's great, but so is the climate control and buttery leather interior of my Audi Q7."
Thirdly, leaving the car at home once in awhile is not ditching your car. This is ditching your car:
Try that with your $50,000 German luxury car. Then I'll be impressed.
This was also somewhat vexing:
Cargo bikes initially catered to the “hard-core D.I.Y. crowd — people who wanted to carry around really large objects like surfboards or big speakers or kayaks,” said Evan Lovett-Harris, the marketing director for Xtracycle, a company in Oakland, Calif., that introduced its first family-oriented cargo model, the EdgeRunner, in 2012. Cargo bikes, he said, now account for the largest proportion of the company’s sales.
“When we first started selling these bikes 15 years ago, we were the total freako weirdos,” said Ross Evans, the company’s founder. “Back then, a basket on your handlebars was considered fringe.”
Okay. I love Xtracycle. I have an Xtracycle. (Well, a Big Dummy, but same thing.) But at no point in bicycle history anywhere on the planet was this considered "fringe:"
Timeless? Charming? Precious? Sure. But not fringe.
This is fringe:
("Look at me, Mom and Dad. LOOK AT ME!!!")
Cargo bikes are making inroads into New York, too. It is not unusual to see them parked outside Whole Foods in Gowanus, Brooklyn, or Union Market in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
Yes, or really any place overpriced groceries are sold.
“It’s such a great transaction because here’s this family that’s ditching the car and transforming itself, and you get to be a part of that,” he said. “I love when the kids come in and jump all over the bikes.” (When parents show up without children, he lets them test-ride bikes with sandbags.)
Here we go, ditching the car again. I don't doubt there are people out there who buy cargo bikes and then realize they don't need to buy a car, but I'll bet you the article of clothing of your choice that you can't find me five families in Brooklyn who had a car, then got a cargo bike, and then ditched (and by "ditched" I mean GOT RID OF) the car. Sure, they'll talk your ear off about how they "never drive" the Outback anymore, but I promise you they're all keeping that goddamn car, because they can afford it.
I do like the sandbag thing though. That's actually not a bad idea. In fact, if only more parents spent a few years schlepping sandbags around as preparation before having kids the world would be a much better place.
But perhaps the most insufferable thing about cargo bike owners is the disdain they acquire for public transportation:
Manuel Toscano, 42, a design consultant who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, commutes to his son’s preschool in Chinatown and his job in TriBeCa on a Bullitt bicycle. “Every time we tried to take the kid into the subway, it was an ordeal,” he said. “People don’t move or let you sit when you have a kid.”
“We finally decided we’d had enough,” he said. “The only sustainable way to have kids here is not to get in the subway.”
What? Are you insane?!? Sure, I realize that people in Williamsburg have a martyrdom complex about the L train, but come on. I love my Big Dummy, but as a New York City parent I can assure you that if I had to decide between owning a cargo bike and having access to the subway system then I'd ghost ride the ol' "smugness flotilla" right into the river. The subway is a goddamn lifesaver if you're a parent! Hundreds of miles of routes, access to the far reaches of one of the greatest cities in the word, a flat fare of $2.75 (with free bus transfer)...and your preschool age kid rides free!!! Sure, every now and then you might have to share a car with someone who's soiled himself, but as far as family transportation goes you can't beat that anywhere.
This is an established pattern in New York City though: enroll your young child in a school in a completely different neighborhood (or in their case a different borough) because the local options aren't "good' enough for you and then complain about how annoying it is to take him there.
Aw, fuck it. I'm leasing a Hyundai.
And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you've really accomplished something, and if you're wrong you'll see when it is in fact appropriate to wear a bicycle helme(n)t.
Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and be sure to ditch your car this weekend for exactly the length of time it takes you to ride a bicycle.
--Wildcat Rock Machine
(UCI president Brian Cookson)
1) The CIRC report sure has ushered in a new age of integrity in professional cycling.
--Come on, don't be stupid
2) It's crazy to think that pro cyclists might be using hidden motors because they'd never do something so ridiculous.
--Come on, don't be stupid.
(By virtually no metric* is this true.)
3) What are we carrying in our jerseys?
--Money and credit cards
--Flatulence-inducing energy gels
--All of the above
*[Conveniently we don't use the metric system, so we remain blissfully unaware of our increasing inferiority.]
4) A mural memorializing victims of traffic violence in New York City was hit by a:
5) Philadelphia's new bike share system is called:
--"Gimme 'Da Fuckin' Bike, Asshole"
(The Automotive Industrial Complex subliminally creating another motorist.)
6) Mandatory helme(n)t laws would be another great tool for:
--Fostering goodwill between cyclists and motorists
--Oppressing people in poor black neighborhoods
7) The inventor of that idiotic bicycle periscope is planning to:
--Revise it so that it faces rearward
--Buy a new bike with more upright handlebars
--Start a charity ride for victims of Shermer's Neck
--Say "fuck it" and take advantage of Hyundai's fantastic Memorial Day lease specials
***Special "Cycling (Propaganda) American Style!"--Themed Bonus Video***
Don't try the "drop test" with a crabon bicycle, it could fail and void your warranty.