Elvira is a Coburg North resident who has always loved cycling. However, when she had children she found it hard at first to maintain cycling as her regular mode of transport. When the family moved to Merri-bek, they were not so close to public transport but did not want to acquire a second car. Elvira’s friend was selling their cargo bike so she purchased it and hasn’t looked back!
“I was excited to be able to carry two children by bike. It opened up the whole local community for easy car-free trips.”
Fit for purpose
Elvira kitted out the bike to suit their family’s needs – a baby seat suitable for a one year old and a loop and cushion set up for their five year old. Elvira explains that her model cargo is a longtail bike; it is like a regular two-wheel bike, with a longer wheelbase and good gearing but doesn’t feel particularly heavy to ride.
With some significant panniers Elvira is able to transport two children plus a full week’s worth of groceries or everything they need to get to the pool; towels, balls, snacks and picnic rug!
The benefits of cargo journeys
Elvira describes her family bike as “a joyful mode of transport” and rides along the Merri Creek trail most days. Her most common cargo trip is the ride she enjoys three days a week: 1.5km for the childcare drop off then onward a further 9km along bike trails to work and back. Elvira reveals that “this way I get over an hour of exercise a day and arrive at work feeling refreshed.”
The benefits of choosing to bike about Merri-bek are clear. Elvira’s bike use alone amounts to at least 100km a week of travelling instead of using a car (that’s 5000+km a year, or almost 1 tonne of carbon emissions). Bike transport has a big impact in cities like Merri-bek, reducing congestion and emissions, while improving people’s health and fitness.
“Running only one car saves us a huge amount of money, the bike has paid for itself many times over.”
Elvira also loves that her children are growing up with bikes as a normal part of transportation. This sets a positive example of zero carbon transport choices for future generations, as well as the many onlookers who notice and admire Elvira’s family cargo bike.
“People say lovely things like ‘what a strong mum’, but it’s honestly not that hard! I know ebikes are popular …but a human powered cargo bike is a great option. I’m able to carry 60kg of kids and groceries for a four kilometre trip fairly comfortably.”
Test ride a cargo for yourself
Why not take a cargo bike for a test ride and see for yourself? You’ll be surprised how many trips are local and can be done by bike. Contact your local bike shop to inquire about testing one!
Find out more about sustainable transport actions you can take here.