Utility Bike

Jul 31, 2015
Outside Magazine
Utility Bike

Xtracycle’s EdgeRunner 24D.    Photo: Tim Tomkinson

A bicycle built for hauling children, gear, or grocery bags full of organic quinoa and local honey. Bikes have been used for practical uses around the world since their creation; while that’s still the case in many developing countries, in the United States the vast majority are used purely for recreation.

That began to change in 1998, after Ross Evans returned to the Bay Area from Nicaragua, where he worked for the nonprofit Bikes Not Bombs and became convinced that bicycles could replace automobiles for many everyday errands. He set about building a model suited to the purpose, extending the frame and adding a platform over the rear wheel to carry passengers and goods. Thus began Xtracycle, a company whose success spurred a wave of cargo-bike frames by Kona, Surly, Yuba, and others.

Increasingly, cargo bikes are being outfitted with electric pedal-assist motors, enabling riders to transport small-batch broods up steep inclines like those encountered by hipster parents in adventurous burgs like Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco.

Totally Loaded

The 2015 Xtracycle EdgeRunner has a 400-pound carrying capacity. That opens up a lot of possibilities. 

The Stoked Dad 
Two 10-year-olds (140 lbs)
Two skateboards (10 lbs) 
Launch ramp (35 lbs)

The Block Partier
Propane grill and tank (155 lbs)
Suckling pig (20 lbs)
Trussing string and spit (10 lbs)

The Cinephile
HD projector and screen (15 lbs)
PA system (210 lbs)
The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration on Blu-ray (1 lb)

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