Spend it better: Two wheels are good but three e-wheels are even better

A real democratic leveller for urban transport is the e-cargo bike

‘Bikes are, for me, the height of human evolution,’ says Catherine Cleary.

‘Bikes are, for me, the height of human evolution,’ says Catherine Cleary.

 

A friend’s biking epiphany went like this: Covid forced him back in the saddle after decades of absence. He had walked or hailed taxis for most of those years, but they lost their appeal in the plague so a handsome step-through bike was purchased and off he sailed. 

The practical getting from A to B was solved. But magically the bike has also opened up the joy of the small city that is Dublin. Lunch across town? Absolutely possible now, there in 10 minutes. No other form of transport (apart from a scooter) unlocks the city as effectively. Cycling isn’t always a breeze and a default white knuckle grip on the brakes is required to live to tell the tale. But it puts places at our fingertips, with predictable travel times. 

Even if cars emitted nothing more noxious than orange-blossom perfume sitting in an expensive over-engineered steel box to crawl-travel along with a congealment of other drivers seems lame. UN sustainability goals, the Paris Agreement and WHO recommended activity levels are all ticked by bikes. (Join us. It’s a blast). Another friend had a daily swim in the forty foot during the coldest, grimmest months, her cycle was as much therapy as the waves.

Bikes are, for me, the height of human evolution. Then along came electric bikes to make it even better. An e-bike feels like a strong parental hand holding your back carrier and whooshing you along to get you through the wobble phase and out the other side.  

Publicity for electric cars will bombard us but a real democratic leveller for urban transport is the e-cargo bike. So many car journeys are taken not because we want to but because we have to. Heavy loads are being brought or collected, train fares for five are prohibitive.

And we can’t bring our dog. Family outings require family cars. Or do they? I’ve been repeat-clicking on the dog cargo bike for months now. We hope to use it for Pocket Forests work. It can easily fit our tools, a barrow and a couple of bags of the finest wormery compost. 

How many white vans roar around corners with loads that would just as easily fit in an electric cargo bike? If you think a dog looks happy with its snout out a car window wait till you see one in these machines. We don’t even need the quad strength of those smiling Dutch people with washing machines strapped to their bikes thanks to the big electric hand on our back carrier. Two wheels so good. But when it comes to freeing up serious road space three e-wheels even better.

Catherine Cleary is co-founder of Pocket Forests

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