Get ready to rethink cycling. Traditional bikes, road bikes and mountain bikes have long been a great way to get around Vermont, but recent innovations in Cargo and Electric Assist bikes are adding a whole new dimension to how we roll. Cargo bikes feature increased carrying capacity that’s ideal for a range of needs, and electric assist bikes make it possible to climb even the steepest of Vermont hills. Combine e-assist technology with a cargo bike (an e-cargo bike) and these workhorses are up for the challenge, whether you’re towing the family, commuting to work or loading up at the grocery store.
Watch this clip from a documentary by Liz Canning on the American Cargo Bike revolution:
VBike is a nonprofit organization providing leading-edge bike solutions in Vermont. VBike aims to make bicycles more relevant for Vermonters, by providing information on bike innovations and solutions that expand the range, carrying capacity and overall utility of biking for local transportation.
To learn more, visit www.vbikesolutions.org.
DISCOVER CARGO BIKES
Cargo bikes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with numerous load-carrying options, depending on your needs. With extra features such as kids seats, rear handlebars, panniers, sidecar trailers and front baskets, almost any errand is possible with a Cargo bike. Here are a few more popular styles:
The New Family Truckster
Longtails might have an extra-long wheel base but they’re amazingly stable and easy to ride. That extra length means more cargo space. They’re a popular model with parents because there are lots of child carrying options – from seating for toddlers to older kids, and front basket add-ons for lunch bags, books or other gear. Additional cargo can be easily secured to the extra long rear deck of the bike. Add in the electric-assist option, and any Vermonter looking for a bike that can handle our hilly terrain while having tons of storage, will love the long tail.
Utility bikes are lighter and more nimble than larger cargo bikes but they can still haul a good sized load using racks, baskets and trailers. Compared to Longtails they have a more standard wheelbase with stronger frames and shorter decks. Utility bikes are a great way to get around Vermont’s sometimes bumpy roads.
What makes the Long John design so special is the incredibly long wheel base and the fact that the cargo area sits low to the ground. The low cargo area adds tremendous stability when carrying a heavy load or passengers. They can also be outfitted with electric-assist and a weatherproof covering, so you can climb the hills with your kids on board, keeping them warm and dry during any Vermont season.
ELECTRIC ASSIST BIKES
An electric bike (or e-bike) features an integrated compact electric motor and battery, to propel your bike when you need it – like on those rolling Vermont hills. There are a variety of electric bikes available, but what sets these apart from an electric motorcycle, is that the human-power element remains intact. So you can power your bike by pedaling alone, or with battery power. There are also great add-on kits available that can turn your favorite bike into an e-bike.
WHERE TO BUY CARGO & E-ASSIST BIKE IN VERMONT
Below is a list of some retail options for Cargo and E-Assist bikes, by town. Remember to always check with your local bike store first, to see what options they can provide.
FIND STORES BELOW:
RECREATION AND COMMUTER BIKES
Several other styles of bicycle designs work great for commuting or recreation, and include:
- ROAD — Designed to travel quickly on paved roads
- CITY — Designed to handle rough urban road hazards (like potholes, grates and curbs)
- MOUNTAIN — An all-terrain bike for off-road or unpaved cycling
- HYBRID — A design that blends the comfort and speed of a road bicycle, with the stability of a mountain bike.
TALK TO OUR BIKE GURU
Before selecting a bike style, consider your daily commute needs. Not sure what style is right for you? Contact Go! Vermont’s resident Cargo bike guru, Dave Cohen with any and all bike related questions.
Go! Vermont Bike Commute Specialist & Director of VBike
When biking really isn’t an option, Go! Vermont can help, with the Guaranteed Ride Home.
QUICK TIPS TO GET STARTED:
- Learn to ride safely in traffic. Follow the same rules as you do in a vehicle—ride with the traffic, maintain visibility with lights and signals, use the full lane when appropriate, and follow all applicable bicycle laws. As safety precaution, we also recommend riding with a helmet.
- Get Educated. We encourage everyone to take a safe cycling course from the League of American Bicyclists, who work with the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition to offer cycling classes and certified instructors in Vermont.
- Have fun! Riding shouldn’t be a chore. Set your own pace. It’s a chance to enjoy the fresh air, while you move your body.