Like canning tomatoes or wearing only second-hand clothing, riding a cargo bike has long been something I'd like to do, if only it wasn't so hard. Cargo bikes are expensive, awkward, and heavy. When I went to Portland's Splendid Cycles to pick up the Riese & Müller Load and ride it twelve miles home, I straddled it dubiously. "Look at it this way," said Splendid Cycles proprietor Joel Grover. "By the time you get home, you're going to be a lot better at riding it than you are now!"
Many of my car journeys are within a mile of my house, hauling toddlers and groceries to and fro. It would be much easier, more fun, and better for the environment, if I could replace at least a few of those trips with an electric cargo bike. However, a few hurdles stand in my way. I loved the versatility and power of the R&M Load, but at $7,000, it costs as much as my current car. Going completely carless would justify the price, but it's hard to make the commitment.
I love riding my e-bike so much that I rarely take my car out of the garage, even when temps are in the 100s or below freezing. Sedona, Arizona isn't very bike-friendly, although mountain biking (search "white line trail") is popular. When a tiny fraction of Phoenix -- over four million -- decides to escape valley heat for the cooler mountains, we're easily overrun. Transportation is about to get a technology-driven reboot. The details are still taking shape, but future transport systems will certainly be connected, data-driven and highly automated.
More people than ever before are considering an electric bicycle. The benefits are numerous: it's faster than walking and, while a good form of exercise, won't make you sweat like a traditional bike would. It helps the environment -- more so than a gas-guzzling car, anyway -- and keeps you outside, minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The vast majority of e-bikes are too expensive for the average person, though. To become truly mainstream, the industry is going to need cheaper models like the RadMission 1, developed by Rad Power Bikes. The bicycle was first unveiled with a $999 introductory price. Rad Power Bikes has since raised the price to $1,099, which is still competitive with entry-level alternatives such as the Propella and Aventon Pace 350. The question with all these bikes, though, is quality.
If you fancy a bicycle with a pedal-assist motor, there are plenty of options. Traditional bike brands including Specialized, Trek and Cannondale compete in the space alongside younger, more design and technology-focused brands such as VanMoof, Cowboy and Gocycle. The Taiwanese company, best known for its colourful electric scooters, is unveiling its first e-bike today. It's called the Eeyo 1 and, unsurprisingly, is part of a new Eeyo sub-brand that will be used for all of its future pedal-powered efforts. Gogoro says its designers have prioritized "agility over utility."