Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Where to Buy a Cargo Bike in Vancouver

Cargo bike party outside Velo Star Cafe!
If you're looking to buy a cargo bike in Vancouver, the options are getting better & better. More shops are starting to stock cargobikes & it's getting easier to test ride them, though you may end up going to a few different  shops to test ride a range. Quite a few brands of cargo bike, like our Bakfiets, aren't even sold here in brick & mortar stores--your only option is buying online.

A note about buying a bike online without a local dealer: you may save some money this way, or be able to get a specific bike that you want, but if you ever have warranty issues, it can be a major pain to get them addressed without a local shop that's invested in helping you out. Depending on the bike--& more so with lower end electric assist bikes--you may also have difficulty finding a shop who will work on the bike or can get parts in for you. I highly recommend buying a bike from a shop located near home so that you can easily bring it in for service.

Until we get a great family & cargo biking shop (like Seattle's G&O Cyclery) here in Vancouver, you'll have to pound the pavement a bit. 

In the interests of making that easier for you, I've updated my list of bike shops that sell cargo bikes here in Vancouver. There are increasing numbers of cargo bike retailers now, which is fantastic--so many more companies are offering different styles & price points as well. Here's what I have found & what brands they sell, alphabetically.

Cit-E-Cycles 3466 West Broadway Vancouver 604-734-2717
Riese & Mueller Load & Packster; Tern GSD & HSD; Cube Cargo; Moustache Lundi.
Cit-E has multiple locations in the Lower Mainland, so call if you're looking for a specific model--they may have it in stock at another shop.

Dream Cycle 1010 Commercial Drive Vancouver 604-253-3737
Soma Tradesman (cycle truck, not really a kid hauler); Surly Big Dummy (wait list til 2023)
Dream focuses on building custom bikes from the frame up. They have a Soma Tradesman in the shop as of May 4 2022 to test ride, but call ahead if you want a test ride in case it's sold.

JV Bike 929 Expo Boulevard 604-694-2453
Tern GSD
JV is an all-round shop that sells a variety of bikes & ebikes, with just the Tern GSD cargobike. They generally have a Tern GSD available for a test ride, but best to call ahead to check.

Mac Talla Cycles 2626 East Hastings Vancouver 604-707-0822
Bullitt; Kona Ute
Mac Talla tries to have floor models available for test rides, but with supply chain issues they can't always keep them in stock. Call ahead to ask!

Rad Power Bikes 3296 E 29th Avenue Vancouver 1-800-939-0310
Note that you can test ride bikes at this location, but they are currently not offering ebike purchases from the Vancouver retail store. All ebike purchases must be made online.

Reckless Bike Stores 110 Davie Street Vancouver 604-648-2600
Babboe City; Benno eBoost; Tern GSD; Urban Arrow
Reckless has two locations, they generally have one of each available for test rides but it's best to call ahead so they can schedule some time for your questions.

Sidesaddle Bikes 3469 Commercial Street 604-428-2453
Yuba Boda Boda; Bike Friday Haul-A-Day & Ever-E-Day; Bombtrack Munro Cargo (cycle truck, not really a kid hauler)
Andrea opened Sidesaddle specifically as a women-friendly shop & I posted about the shop not long after they opened. You can drop in to look at the bikes, but if you're looking at test riding & buying a cargo bike, it's best to call ahead so they can set aside time to answer all your questions. 

Velo Lifestyle 1350 Nanaimo Street 604-216-0111
Muli; Creme; Veloe; Triobike; Black Iron Horse.
This shop is the latest addition to my list, only opened their Vancouver location about a year ago. They specialize in European brands, mainly front loaders & several models of trikes.

Velo Star Cafe 3195 Heather Street Vancouver 604-376-8223
Due to supply chain issues, it's been hard for Clint to get cargobikes in, but he occasionally has or knows of used ones on sale.
VeloStar is where we go for service on all our bikes--the mechanics here really know & love cargo bikes & we've always had gread service there.

That about wraps up my updates to the list. Please let me know if you know of other cargo bike selling shops in the city that I've missed!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to list these bike shops & have no affiliation with them, other than being friends with Clint & Kat from VeloStar. The above information is correct as of the writing of this post & opinions above are my own, as always.

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Sunday, March 27, 2022

Delivering Girl Guide Cookies (& Relive Review)

& a quick review...

Relive missed out on many cute pics
like this one of B on our way out

I saw a Relive video on a FB group recently & liked the data visualization & the way it integrates photos into the video, so I downloaded the app & tried it out for this ride. 

Unfortunately, although I took 20 photos in the app along our way, it only included the three I took with my camera outside the app. I couldn't find a way (with the free version, anyway) to edit the video I'd created, or anywhere along the process where I could have added more photos. 

When I tried to view the video in the app on my phone, it immediately crashed every time. I managed to see it by logging in on the website. But this was also a hassle, because the app had allowed me to create a video without setting up a password, but the website doesn't allow for setting up passwords, so I had to go back & forth from the app to the website. 

So, I'm not terribly impressed & unlikely to pay for an app that is this unstable. I may try again later if I can figure out why it's crashing, but maybe it's another of those apps that doesn't work well with Android. I wondered if I included too many pics, but the person whose Relive video I saw included far more than I did, plus video, if I remember correctly.

Have you used Relive? What was your experience like? Do you have another data visualization app like this that you use for documenting bike rides?

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Sunday, March 20, 2022

#CarFreeFamily 2021: How Much Does it Cost?

Here we are in March 2022 & I still haven't actually calculated our transportation totals for last year. Heh. This was still not what I'd consider a "normal" year for us, as we have continued to stay home more than usual due to COVID, but it's also been two years of pandemic, so what even is normal anymore? ANYWAY, on with the numbers...

Taking my ecargobike to the shop
on my other cargobike
Again, like 2020, we used no taxis, no ridesharing, no car rentals, & only a single trip for me on a ferry. We decided not to renew our Mobi Community passes, as we weren't using them enough. We got around by bike the vast majority of the time which is practically free.

The main transportation expense for our household was bike maintenance. We had a bit of work done on the Bakfiets, a part replaced on my 21-year-old Diamondback, a cassette, front chain ring & chain replacement on my Tern GSD, plus a flat fix & some brake pad replacements, as well as having the studded tires put on for me. Though I know how to do some of my own bike maintenance, I rarely do anything myself except oiling the chain--it's just so much quicker & easier to pay someone else to do it. Total cost for 2021 was $619.12.

Our next biggest expense was Modo bookings for the rare occasions we needed to drive. That averaged out to about once a month, interestingly, ten of eleven bookings were trucks or vans this year. We used pickups to take large items to the recycling centre, or pick up things like a yard of compost soil, & a friend's broken cargo bike, & we went on a few daytrips hauling all of our bikes in the back, to Hope to bike the Othello Tunnels & up to the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve Trail in the summer. Four trips were driving a friend to some appointments using the Modo accessibility van. Click on the previous links to see Twitter threads & lots of photos of our Modo excursions.

Modo truck loaded up with our bikes to go to Hope
I did drive a handful of other times for work, but those trips are paid for by my employer, so I don't count them here. Also when we got rid of a bunch of mattresses with a friend, she split the cost. Our grand total for these 11 trips was $544.51.

I went on a bike camping trip to the Sunshine Coast in the summer last year, which cost a grand total of $14 in ferry fare.

Electricity costs are a bit harder to calculate, because it's only a few cents each time we charge our bikes about $10 on electricity charging my Tern GSD & Oliver's Tern Vektron. I estimate about 60 full charges of the 900Wh of batteries in the roughly 5000km I rode. Oliver rides much less than me, as he's been working from home 99% of the time, so I doubt he needed a full charge more than once a month.

Transit was the smallest percentage of the pie in our 2021 transportation budget. We took one transit trip in 2021, on the Seabus to a Brownies event with Bronte. She was free & I got a free ticket for the ride home, so I paid only one way, $2.45.

Sometimes biking can be chilly, but with the
right clothes, it's fine! 
Our transportation costs were about 15% higher than 2020, with a wee bit more local travel. 2018 was our last typical year without a pandemic, new jobs or injuries that limited our travel, with some trips in BC, Washington, & Oregon, including a few bike camping trips & visits to the Okanagan to see family there. 2018 transportation costs came out to more than triple what we spent this year. 

If you're curious about the numbers you can check out my posts on the breakdown for 2018 here2019 here, & 2020 here.

So, now, the moment you've been waiting for... the grand total transportation costs for our #CarFreeFamily of four in Vancouver in 2021 was...


With friends at the Fancy Woman Bike Ride 
It's eight times less than the average British Columbian spends on owning one car in a year. Possibly even better than eight times less, given what gas prices are like these days. Just the insurance would be more, whether we drove it much or not. Being able to bike instead of drive most of the time & use Modo rather than owning a car makes such a huge difference to the affordability of living in Vancouver. 

The downsides--getting a bit wet or cold occasionally, dealing with shitty drivers--are outweighed by all the other upsides--built in exercise & fresh air, more social interactions (not to mention so many opportunities for two-wheeled hijinks like in the photo to the right), easier parking, near zero carbon produced, often faster. Still pretty happy to be a #CarFreeFamily. 

So, how about you? What did you spend on transportation last year? Do you total it up annually? What are the upsides & downsides of how you get around?

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Saturday, March 19, 2022

Come Chat Family Biking with Me at Our Community Bikes WTQ Night

UPDATE: I'm having hip surgery & have had to cancel for April 6th! Hopefully we can reschedule at a later date! WTQ Night will still be happening without me though. 

First off, what is WTQ NIGHT?

Twice a month Our Community Bikes opens their doors after hours to women, trans & queer identifying people to use the shop & have the chance to level up their mechanic skills. 

Our Community Bikes (OCB) always tries to be a welcoming place to all people & genders, these shop hours specifically welcome people who may have felt marginalized by the bike industry as a whole because of their gender or sexual orientation. 

WTQ nights are staffed by women & gender variant mechanics. OCB recognizes that bicycle shops & accessibility to mechanical knowledge is dominated by hetero cisgendered men. WTQ night hopes to make this knowledge more diffuse amongst marginalized communities through peer based education.

WTQ happens on the first & third Wednesday each month from 6:30-9:30pm. OCB is at 2429 Main Street, in Vancouver. Drop by the shop staffed by women & gender variant mechanics to ask your questions & address your mechanic needs. Or you can browse for used parts, have your bike assessed for service, purchase bikes & accessories, Do-It-Yourself stand rental.

I'll be hanging out at OCB on April 6 & doing a quick talk about family biking from 6:30-7pm. Come by with your questions on cycling with babies, toddlers, little & big kids! Because space is limited, please register in advance (it's free!) for OCB WTQ Night on Evenbrite.

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Saturday, March 5, 2022

Electric Bike vs. Car Comparison

a woman and two children on a cargobike, seen from above
(Adapted from my Twitter thread March 4, 2022)

Since gas prices are a hot topic these days, I thought I'd do an electric bike vs. car comparison.

To drop off & pick up my kids from school then back to work from home is about 12km a day. 

  • Ecargobike: ~3 cents electricity
  • Average Canadian vehicle: ~$2 gas

For the whole school year:

  • Ecargobike $5
  • Gas vehicle $360

I usually ride around 3000km in addition to school runs, so I estimate my ebike electricity costs for the year are around $12. If I were driving an average vehicle, those kms would cost me about $900.

When you factor in maintenance & insurance costs, that's even more saved.

a woman standing in front of a cargobike in the snow
My ecargobike insurance is only a few dollars per month on my home insurance, under $40/year. Maintenance is under $500. 

Average car insurance is $1832 a year, maintenance of a newer car would be not much more than my bike, let's say $800.

Parking is another thing not to be underestimated. I never pay for bike parking. A lot of the places I shop & go to appointments have pay parking, so I'd likely spend $200-300 a year on that if I drove.

a fully loaded cargo bike parked in front of a Costco

When the initial cost of a vehicle & depreciation are factored in, replacing one with a decent ecargobike looks even better. The average cost to own & operate a car in BC is $9500 a year.

People often ask what my Tern GSD cost, & they're surprised that I spent $7500 (that's including all the kid carrying accessories, bags, locks, a second battery, & tax) but that's less than the cost of one year owning & driving a gas vehicle!

So if you're looking for alternatives to high gas prices & expensive vehicles, you may want to look at how an ecargobike would work for you. 

Let me know if you have questions about how it works for Costco runs or in snow, or whatever. Leave a comment below, or ping me on Twitter!

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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Webinar on e-bikes

Screenshot of Lisa Corriveau speaking in a webinar
This past Wednesday, October 6, HUB Cycling put on a webinar: E-bikes: Harnessing their potential to get more people biking. About a hundred people attended the free webinar where panelists discussed how municipalities can benefit from creating conditions favourable to e-bikes, spoke about the North Shore's e-bike share roll out, & highlighted the importance of e-bikes in getting more people of all ages & abilities biking more often.

Speakers were:

Todd Litman, Executive Director, Victoria Transport Policy Institute and author of New Mobilities: Smart Planning for Emerging Transportation Technologies

Zachary Mathurin, North Shore Mobility Options Coordinator

& me! Lisa Corriveau, bike blogger & e-bike advocate for people with mobility issues

HUB recorded the hour long webinar, & if you'd like, you can watch the video here on their YouTube channel.

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