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Cargo Bikes and Bicycle Cargo Carriers–for Children, Too!

Precious Cargo Carrier - Dad and Friend 004Reducing carbon emissions by biking is on the minds of many people. It’s among the many benefits of bicycling.
But what about if you have young children, are off to the farmers market or to do other shopping, have work items, or various types of cargo to carry?
Bicycles of all sorts are on Monterey Bay region bikeways, that includes this sampling of people making use of a variety of trailers, cargo bikes, and cargo carriers. Included in this post too are some tips and links to stories about pedal-powered cargo carrying.

Lizard's Lick Cleanup Monterey

Above: One local I’ve often seen out on his bike keeping the Earth cleaner is Don Williams AKA Lizzardman.

Below: On April 29, 2016, this pedal-powered paletero was spotted biking Seaside. Along with being a role model for others about the many benefits of bicycling, this young entrepreneur’s people-powered business reduces traffic congestion as it benefits the planet by reducing carbon emissions as well as oil runoff, brake dust, and other contaminants that flow from streets into Monterey Bay.

Besides, the woman watching him so earnestly was delighted by the fun for her family of finding this traditional service in the neighborhood!

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Here’s a Salinas paletero in the Alisal / East Salinas, at a 2012 Día de los Muertos commemoration at Closter Park.

Another, also in East Salinas / the Alisal

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Such bike-powered vendors are common in South Monterey County too, like this Greenfield one spotted summer 2012…

Greenfield cargo bike vendor

Below, a pedal-powered cart at Acosta Plaza, Salinas.

Luciano, at center, and Frank, at right, are instructors for Monterey County Youth Center bike repair and safety class. (Korey, at left in this photo taken 3/10/13, is a former instructor.)

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In Monterey, Dodi Auto Sales uses a cargo bike too!

Cargo bike at Doty's Auto 2012

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Before going on with more local photos and tips, here are a few news snippets.

7/16/14 update: Carfree with Kids blog offers “Handouts summarizing gear options for biking with small children,” which includes a chart summarizing kid-hauling bike accessories and cargo bikes.

5/27/11 update:  Across the Monterey Bay,  Freewheelin’ Farm delivers their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)  shares by bike trailerListen to their story on KUSP.org, Central Coast Public Radio.

5/9/11 update: The wisdom of the savvy biking CEO at NextSpace (see below) is clearly paying off.  Congrats to NextSpace on their San Francisco location and their Los Angeles launch.

* * * * *

The practicality and multiple benefits of bicycles make them more popular all the time.  There’s a new generation of bikes for carrying cargo, and children.  There are cargo carriers for carrying your dog or other pet; click here for Bicycling Monterey’s tips for dog-lovers.

And there are even some bikes for kids to carry cargo too!

Maybe you’re thinking:  nice idea, but there’s not enough room on a bike to substitute it for a vehicle.  You may be surprised what’s possible.  Be inspired by the Harrison family (AKA Pedouins) biking through Monterey on their quint bike.  Then check out the photos in Tree Hugger on biking with kids and cargo.  As further evidenced by National Public Radio’s four-minute story on cargo bicycles by Deena Prichep last December, cargo bike popularity isn’t growing only in mild-weather locales, but nationwide.

Think cargo bikes are a fleeting novelty, mostly for parents and little kids?  When my 21-year-old was young, I loved having a bike trailer (pictured below, with my mom giving it a try).  I’d head off down the bike path with my daughter in tow, all snuggled in with her dolly.  Behind her bench seat, in the separated cargo section, there was plenty of room for hauling stuff.  When she outgrew the trailer, I passed it along to another family.  Lately I’m wishing I’d kept it—especially when I’m doing a farmers market run, and my eyes are bigger than my daypack.  Think you don’t have time to shop by bike?  Trips 3- to 5-miles in length are usually faster by bike!

My mom found the bike trailer much easier than carrying or herding a busy toddler–and her granddaughter loved riding with her dolly.
As my daughter grew older, she and her friend still loved riding in the trailer.

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When my kids grew too big for a bike trailer, I passed it along to another family. But I soon found that I missed having my trailer for hauling other groceries, library books, and other items. A local friend loaned me her spare trailer…
maris-bike-pulling-trailer-for-ciclovia-2013-1Below, Susan Ragsdale-Cronin of Del Rey Oaks, an avid bike commuter, shown here at the farmers market that takes place on Fridays at Monterey Peninsula College.

Susan says: “I’m hauling not just farmers market produce but even more precious cargo–my daughters! You bet I want to be highly visible.” Click here for tips hi-vis tips and here for farmers market tips.

The Santa Cruz County family shown below on arrival in Pacific Grove, had loaded up their gear for a fun day of family biking. Dad and Mom, sharing the tandem, had baby up front and panniers of baby gear and such on the back. Big brother cheerfully pulled a trailer, carrying jackets, snacks, water, tire patch kits, and more. In case they wanted to lock up the bikes and walk about, he’s even toting the baby’s stroller–everything the family might want to more comfortably enjoy a spectacular day around the Monterey Bay.

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Bicycle trailers are popular with many families that have young children.

Jerrod Adams - kids in trailer

This Monterey Peninsula mom handily carries kids and cargo.

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Fam seats and trailer - taken off 1 April 2011 014Prichep’s NPR story quoted Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists.  Clarke pointed out that bicycles as urban freight carriers are a largely untapped resource.

Right here in the Monterey Bay region, cargo bikes are already being tapped by successful business people.  They use bicycles to take care of business, and by keeping another vehicle off the road, they’re also taking care of this beautiful place.

Beyond that, as a seamless part of their workday, they’re getting outdoor exercise.  And that frees up more of their pre- and post-work time—those hours when many people struggle to fit in some exercise.

Cargo cycling on Cannery Row…

Breathing in that fresh Monterey Bay air as he biked must have put that big smile on this cyclist’s face!  The cyclist is Isidro Bassaro, who runs the Cannery Row Deli.

Isidro Bassaro, just back from a supply run, in front of his Cannery Row Deli. (Photo courtesy of David Lang.)
Isidro, just back from a supply run, in front of his Cannery Row Deli. (Photo courtesy of David Lang.)


Isidro’s “House Specialties”—Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken Salad, French Croque Monsieur, and Pan Bagna—could be dubbed “Fresh Air Specialties.” Surely part of what makes them special is having ingredients whisked along in the ocean breeze by bike before reaching his kitchen!

Whether it’s a result of that happy ride  or other magic Isidro works in the kitchen, the meals at Cannery Row Deli are nurturing.  And as you can see those meals are prepared by someone who is mindful of health-building practices—for personal health and the health of the planet.

The  Cannery Row Deli is easy to find.  It is directly on the bike path/multi-use trail, just above the bayside Monterey Plaza Hotel. Eat indoors or on their deck, or call ahead for carry-out.

And across the bay, on Pacific Avenue…

Think Isidro is the only boss out there operating a successful business partly with bicycle power?  He’s in good company, including that of Jeremy Neuner, cofounder of Next Space.

Jeremy, a former  Economic Development Manager for the City of Santa Cruz, cofounded NextSpace with former Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty(at present, vice-mayor) and attorney Caleb Baskin.  NextSpace is an entrepreneurial catalyst and coworking center on Pacific Avenue  in downtown Santa Cruz.

Jeremy, like Isidro, apparently has it figured out that doing a supply run is a perk of being a person in charge.  Maybe he could find someone else to pick up NextSpace supplies, but he wants to go on that bike ride!  CEO duties may call, but the bike ride calls louder.

Besides, too many hours on the phone or at the computer make for a stale brain, and the talented individuals at NextSpace are known for innovation.  Jeremy’s gotta keep his blood oxygenated so his own fresh ideas can run freely.  How else is he gonna keep up with those tech wizards and other luminaries back at the office?

Jeremy Neuner:  “Hey, I may be CEO, but I still wanna do the supply run today!”  (Photo courtesy of Next Space.)

"Hey, I may be CEO, but I still wanna do the supply run today!" (Jeremy Neuner. Courtesy of NextSpace.)

How to get in touch with these energetic leaders

Sometimes a business leader reasons that the best tech ap for the job is a high tech solution.  Other times, they know that the most appropriate solution is very low tech, like a cargo bike!

Have questions about using a cargo bike that you’d like to ask Isidro or Jeremy?  Well, you could flag them down on the bikeways!  They do look like they’re out for a joy ride, though they may be biking on deadline.  (Looks like Jeremy has some pretty critical supplies to get back to the NextSpacers.)  So contact them both at their usual places of business:

Cannery Row Deli, 101 Drake Street, Monterey, CA 93940; (831) 645-9549.  Located directly on the bikepath/multi-use trail at Cannery Row & Drake, across the street from the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.

NextSpace, 101 Cooper Street, Santa Cruz, CA  95060; (831) 420-0710.  Located at Pacific Avenue and Cooper Streets, above the Pacific Garden Mall.

And if you live nearby, you might wanna give them your shopping list.  You know.  Maybe these busy guys have time to just pick up a few more things?

No?  Well then…

What about you?

Monterey County

Maybe you’reup for a cargo bike! Check with local bike shops to see what advice they may have regarding your cargo-carrying needs, and what they have in stock or  can order for you.  In Monterey County, shops include:

Elsewhere

If you live in a remote area and need to order online, check out a business that specializes in cargo carrying, such as BikeTrailerShop.com.  Their website has a resource list too, including their own Bike Trailer Blog.

For more inspiration, see Tree Hugger’s photos of cargo bikes, or Santa Barbara’s Wheel House site.  There are lots of other sources too, including bike sites like Cyclelicious, that help show the wide variety of cargo bikes available today.

What to do if you can’t bike it yourself

Maybe there’s a reason why you simply can’t, or don’t wish to, do business or home errands with a bike right now.  And yet, you like the idea, in theory.  Is there an alternative?  There sure is.  Make use of a bicycle courier or delivery service!

Monterey County

On 12/8/09, I met Monterey native Mike Baroni, after seeing a poster for his business in a Lighthouse Avenue retail window.  Baroni has a bicycle courier/delivery service, Green Pedal Couriers – 831/920-8181.

Santa Cruz County

Up in Santa Cruz, our northern neighbors have bike couriers/messengers PedX, also known as Pedalers Express, and Clutch Courier Service.

These bike couriers are all doing their part to keep the Monterey Bay air cleaner.  Join them on the bikeways, or give them a call and send them cycling on your behalf.

Pedicabs

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Cargo isn’t all that pedal-powered businesses carry. Be inspired by our Santa Cruz neighbors in this gallery of Bicycling Monterey photos: “Pedicab Coolness! – Monterey Bay Region Celebrates Tannery Arts Center and Bike-Powered Taxi, Santa Cruz Pedicab.”

Note:  This post was revised and updated from a post originally published on  2/12/09. On 5/7/11, kids’ cargo bikes link in the intro was added too.

  1. I really like that Bicicleta Mercurio!

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