The Seattle Cargo Bike Landscape and Spotted in the Wild: A Nihola Trike

Niiiice Trike!

Throughout this Summer, the number and variety of family bikes parked at the Cal Anderson playground racks has increased in a very encouraging way. It seems like cargo biking is catching on all around the biking city.

A Look at the Seattle Cargo Bike Scene, from where I sit.

I know that I am in a bubble. I am surrounded by cargo bikes at work, I blog about them in the evening and I twitter about them in my sleep. Still, I try to limit these Spotted in the Wild posts to bikes that I encounter in real-world settings and I do find myself spotting more and more Pedal Families and their sweet rides out there in the wild!

Child-free bike enthusiasts seem keen on cycle trucks, particularly the local conversion jobbies from Cyclefab (does anybody ride the Soma Tradesman or Civia Halsted? I’d love to get a review.) Most new Pedal Parents and Kids I meet are going for the iBert (a stem-mounted kid seat available at big box stores? That’s the 21st century for ya!) or similar front seats for single infants to tots. The next stage for most of the parents that I meet are Surly Big Dummies (from Ride Bicycles) or Yuba Mundoes (from Alki Bike and Board) when their kids get bigger or more numerous. Also, some families like Madsens. I have no idea what comes next for Pedal Families.

I suspect that bike styles diverge sharply based on each family’s transportation needs. This is born out by the fact that each of my personal roll-model Seattle Pedal Families with kids older than my own, Totcycle, Car-Free Days, and Morgan, seem to have taken very different approaches as their kids got older, more independent and heavier. The question that I keep asking myself is this, will there develop a common practice among the current crop of Pedal Parents of Pedal Tots as our families grow up? How will the increasing shift toward bikes among the mainstream and increasing number of non-driving adults affect this? How will the bike market take advantage of, shape and be shaped by these trends? Will Little Oil and I ever be able to afford to ride all the bikes we want to ride?

What do you see happening in (fun) utility, (sweet) transportation, (hardcore) cargo and (awesome) family biking in Seattle? In your town? Comment below!

Oh Yeah! Spotted in the Wild: A Nihola Trike

Marjory and Beatrice

Little was on the swings when they pulled up. She started squeeling,

Box bike!

Papa, box bike.

Take a picture for the blog!

So off we leapt, mid-swing and booked it to the bike rack to do just that and to meet the riders.

This lovely box trike comes to Seattle from Denmark, via Palo Alto. Its Nice Family was kind enough to let Little Oil and I poke around and take some pictures. Mom, Marjory told us that they’d moved to Seattle from Palo Alto, where they used their Nihola Family more than they do here. The thing weighs in at 70 lbs (light for such a bike) and Palo Alto is pretty flat. Riding wasn’t always easy, the culture among drivers and the state of the roads was such that not every trip was fun. Nonetheless, this family was tough and brave and cool and happy to be car-free in that town. It helped to have such a sweet and comfortable ride! The flexibility of a box bike is such that the family was able to start riding together when their oldest was just three months old (color me jealous and impressed)!

They still ride the trike regularly, but limit most trips to within the Central District/ Capitol Hill neighborhoods. Marjory and Beatrice both seem to love the ride. Theo and Dad were unavailable for comment.

There is easily room for two big kids in the box, plus luggage.

Little was super impressed by the box’s sturdy construction, the hinged door panel in front for easy passenger load and unload…

and the very well made rain canopy!

I dig the lowish step-over but sturdy-looking frame design and the elegant look to the chain guard and triple rear stays. This bike looks very well made!

Charming trike, Nice People! Keep it classy!