Hi, my name is Dave, and I’m a cargo bikeaholic. Seriously, I love cargo bikes. Nothing turns my head faster than someone pedaling by me carrying a heavy load on two or three wheels. Perhaps it is because they remain so rare in the US or maybe it is because they are the ultimate statement of someone trying to get around under his or her own power.
Whatever the reason, when Breakaway Bicycle Couriers added a Danish designed, Taiwanese-made, Larry vs. Harry Bullitt to their livery, I quickly asked if I could borrow it for a weekend. Wayne was happy to let me use it, as long as I could pick it up after their 6 PM mail run on Friday. As instructed, at 6:30 I stopped into the courier lounge at Breakaway to swap my bike for the long john.
Breakaway ‘s home base exits onto a raised loading dock, so I had to carry the Bullitt down the stairs to the alley. Larry vs Harry built their bike to be lighter than traditional Dutch and Danish long john cargo bikes. The Clockwork model weighs about 50lbs, not a carbon racer, but still easy enough for one person to carry down the stairs. The crew at Breakaway watched out the back door to see if I could ride the bike as it handles a bit different than a shorter two-wheeler. Regular readers will remember I took a Bullitt for a test ride about a year ago when I visited Copenhagen Cyclery in Chicago, so I managed to look respectable as I pedaled down the alley.
Larry vs Harry designed the Bullitt to handle pretty quick for a long john style cargo bike, and it does. The steering is fast and with Answer riser bars in the cockpit, I felt like I was riding a mountain bike as I rode around Gallery Night on the Clockwork. It felt like a mountain bike until I bumped into my friend Brooklyn and she was able to comfortably buck a ride, in the front that is! Brooklyn is petite, and I know better than to talk about a woman’s weight, but I can say that even with her sitting in the front, the bike still felt stable and quick.
The next task on my list for the Bullitt was grocery shopping. I typically do this on our Workcycles Omafiets. Oma is a true beast of burden, but even with sturdy front and rear racks, and big panniers, I have to be careful not to buy more than I can fit on her. I typically skip really bulky items on the regular weekly shopping trip for our family of three (plus two dogs).
This means I bring the panniers into the store and fill them as I shop so as not to over buy. Things like huge bags of dog food are purchased on special trips to the store when we run out rather than kept in stock in the pantry. By putting my Bob Trailer bag on the Bullitt, I was able to shop without any worry of running out of room.
Next test for the Bullitt was to bring my folding kayak to the office. Since the Bike Fed moved to 3618 W. Pierce St, we are just off the Hank Aaron State Trail and the Menomonee River. I decided to take my Pakboat kayak to the office so I could get out and paddle over lunch hours or after work when I don’t have to be home right away. I typically haul the kayak on my BOB trailer. It works, but as anyone with a BOB will tell you, they are a bit top-heavy when loaded down.
Once again, the Bullitt proved up to the task. It was super easy to load the kayak on the Bullitt, and it just barely fits in the BOB trailer. I can imagine loading up the Bullitt with my kayak and some camping gear for a sub 24 hour overnight multi-modal camping trip to Waubedonia Park. Anyone else out there have a folding kayak and a cargo bike who wants to join me, shoot me an email!
It was hard to give the Bullitt back to Breakaway Monday morning. I definitely see a long john style cargo bike in my future. I like how they ride better than a long tail bike like the Surly Big Dummy or Xtracycle. The only thing holding me back is the price. The Bullitt goes for just shy of $3,000, as do most other similar cargo bikes. For a guy who doesn’t drive, I don’t have a hard time justifying the money, but I do have a tough time finding it. Maybe I can get a non-profit deal and try to talk my boss into buying one for the Bike Fed…