Our New Two Wheeled Minivan: The Yuba Mundo Cargo Bike

We did it. We’re a cargo biking family as of a month ago!

For many years I have watched and read wistfully about families using cargo bikes for most of their transportation. It looked like so much fun and the health, environmental and financial benefits were compelling. Stacy over at A Simple Six was the first person I stumbled upon who was moving her large family around by bike. They went ‘car lite’ five years ago and go by bike as much as possible. I was impressed and inspired. Cargo biking with my children seemed like an ideal way to get around because a) I don’t like driving, b) Vancouver has a growing network of bike paths and bike lanes and c) cycling would allow us to go places that are too far for us to walk. Also, d) it looks really fun!

But I also had some hesitations about cargo biking. Could I really do this? I’m a former athlete but I’m not naturally athletic. I don’t pick up new sports or movements easily. Also could I find a cargo bike that all three kids could fit on that would also fit in my condominium bike room. The bike parking stalls are small and you have to exit bikes through two doors and up a fairly steep ramp. I wasn’t sure a cargo bike could fit through the doors, in a bike parking stall or easily go up the exit ramp.

Am I strong enough to pedal my three kids around on a bike? Okay, I was once an athlete but in this current stage of life I’m far, far away from my past career as a rower. Actually right when I was in the process of getting my cargo bike I tore a muscle in my calf and had to stop running. When the bike arrived I had lost a lot of my cardiovascular fitness. Here’s another concern: I’m a big person. Cycling is all about power vs. weight. My fitness wasn’t great and I was going to haul myself, the bike and my kids up a hill? I was intimidated. Intimidated and my husband thought I was a bit crazy.

Can I navigate the streets with my kids on board a cargo bike? I did have some experience road cycling pre-children but it felt like a lifetime ago. I sold my road bike when I was very pregnant with my oldest son seven years ago. Since then I’ve been on a bike exactly once when we rented bikes and I hauled our younger two in a trailer. I went through the archives of Stacy’s blog and took a lot of comfort in her candid posts about her first rides with her cargo bike: yes, it took some getting used to but she was quickly able to ride with several children on board. Also comforting to read: Stacy hatched her plan family biking and going car lite and she hadn’t been on a bike in ten years! This is exactly the kind of blind faith success story I was looking for.

It’s been a month since we got the bike and I’m happy to say yes I am strong enough (and getting stronger!) and yes I can navigate city streets with kids on board. I slowly built up to riding with more weight on the bike and if my three year old will finally get on the bike for more than a photo (he’s our stubborn one!) I’ll be riding with all three on board this summer. I’ll be sharing more about getting started and using our bike but for now, here’s more about our awesome orange family hauler:

Our new minivan bike is a Yuba Mundo 21 LUX.

It can carry up to four small children and has a hauling capacity of 440 lbs. We’ve kitted it out with a Yepp Maxi Easy Fit seat for the baby, soft spot and monkey bars for our older two, a bread basket on the front that can carry up to 50 lbs and one Go Getter pannier bag with an 85 liter capacity. This thing truly is a minivan on two wheels.

Awesome things about our Yuba Mundo cargo bike:

  • it fits in our bike parking! A cargo bike with a box on it would be too wide and long for our bike parking but this long tail fits in nicely.
  • it rides like a regular bike. It has a mechanism called a ‘deflopilator’ that makes the steering heavier to compensate for the weight on the back of the bike. The deflopilator is a must in my opinion – I have ridden the bike with and without this small piece added and it was night and day. It takes some miles to get used to riding a bike with that much weight but after a few rides I was up to riding with two kids (50 + 30lbs) and another 30lbs of gear.
  • it is incredibly fun. Here’s a little video below of two of my boys on the back enjoying themselves. What you can’t see is the grin on my face.
  • this bike could help us become car free again. In the next 1-2 years some things will change for our family – school location, smaller car seats – and with the Yuba Mundo cargo bike, walking, transit and car-sharing we could once again be car free!
  • the Yuba Mundo is an affordable cargo bike. Bigger box style cargo bikes can be in the $6000+ range. A long tail Yuba cargo bike starts as low was $1000.

More to come on cargo biking! If you have any specific questions or photos/videos you would like to see of the bike in action please let me know.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Like this post? Share it:
  • The bike looks great and kudos to you for mastering it! I do want to mention though that your eldest son’s helmet is poorly fitting, dangerous if he were to fall. As a former ICU nurse who has seen a lot, I ask you to please spend the time/ money to get a proper fit. I had problems with my eldest child’s fit but one trip to a bike shop where they know how to fit helmets and it was solved. It really is worth the investment.

    • Hi Leann, yes we have tightened up his helmet. I appreciate you commenting – bike safety is so important. My littlest guy’s helmet was also a bit loose but we’ve tightened it up. :)

  • I’ve been reading your blog for years — not sure if I’ve commented before! Just wanted to tell you that I follow Stacy as well (FYI, she’s active on her Facebook account even though she doesn’t update her blog regularly), so it was cool to see her name mentioned in your blog post (she and I both live in Buffalo, NY but I haven’t met her in person yet).

    My husband and I don’t have any kids, but we have gotten into cycling recently, and I love reading about how some people utilize bikes for kid-carrying purposes. Looking at that video, two of your three kids are most definitely enjoying themselves!

    • This is a small world indeed :) Stacy’s been patiently answering all my questions and her blog archive has been a huge help. I’m a nervous cyclist on my own so kids have added another layer. And yeah cycling! It really is a joyous way to get around. Marie Kondo would approve I am sure :)

    • Zandria must meet! Let’s make an excuse to get together. If not for bicycles, for Buffalo and for coffee. I’m in Parkside and mostly free during the weekdays. Reach out on Facebook or where ever you feel comfortable.

      Thanks for the shout Rachel. You inspire me too!

      • Zandria, from IG. I’m putting the pieces together : ) Just checked your blog. I haven’t forgotten about the bookclub connection. Will be in touch soon.

  • Long time reader but first time commenting :) Congrats on entering the world of cargo biking! We have a Yuba Mundo here in Vancouver too. Great bike and lots of fun exploring on it. Biking makes running errands with my kids (2 & 4) so much easier — they are so much happier on the bike than in a car. The added bonus of not having to try and find a parking spot when we get home (we are in the West End) makes it even better. If you haven’t already you should join the Vancouver Family Biking Facebook page.

    • Thanks, Carrie :) It has been so much fun so far. I love not having to take the car and yes, find parking. Ugh.

      Yes I’ve joined the Vancouver Family Biking Facebook page and hope to get out to a ride soon (late sleeping children conspired against us for the last one to the Farmers Market). Please say hi if you see us there!!

  • As a long-time reader of your blog, and a bike-commuter in the bicycle-unfriendly city of New Haven, CT, I just wanted to chime in and say Congratulations! I’ve found biking (bicycling? cycling?) to work to be incredibly liberating, as I always arrive at my destination in either direction feeling happy and calm in that way only exercise can provide. I was a nervous rider at the beginning, but as my abdominal muscles grew stronger, my balance on the bike improved, and so did my reflexes and ability to be alert to everything going on around me. Do you have lights on your bike? (I can’t tell from the pictures if you have them, and they’re very important for visibility.) In addition to helmets, my husband and I both wear a Road ID when bicycling (roadid dot com) after I had a minor crash that smashed my cell phone, and revealed to me that I no longer knew anyone’s phone numbers and so couldn’t call anyone for help. Luckily only the bike was hurt, but better to be prepared! Anyway, enjoy, and happy riding to you all!

    • Thanks for tips on RoadID – very smart! Yes the bike came with a Dynamo light system. Have you heard of them? Powered by the front wheel so no batteries needed and always on while cycling. I here they are standard in some European countries.
      Cycling is so liberating and joyful! I’ve been taking my son to school and the route is the same one I did almost ten years ago while bike commuting to work. We always arrive happy – I don’t think you can frown when on a bike in the sunshine :) Happy riding to you too.

  • Very cool! Might want to check the fit of your kiddos helmets though…they look too loose to offer protection.

  • Thank you for this post. We also got a cargo bike (orange Xtracycle) about one month ago for all the benefits you mentioned to carry around our 7 year old and 1 1/2 year old sons. My husband brings our second grader to school on the bike and the little one goes along for the ride. I have been a bit intimidated riding the bike since I wobble so much when I start and maneuvering the bike after having stopped is difficult. Your post is inspiring to keep trying. I rode the cargo with my 7 year old and his bike strapped to the cargo (awesome feature for cargos) to the city park with my husband (toddler was on his bike) yesterday and it felt good but scary too. I hope to see more pics of you and your kids on the cargo. Thanks again for this post – it really resonated with me and it looks like for many other moms.

    • Amy – I have to push myself on one leg for a bit, getting some speed for the bike, off of stop signs still. I’m adapting to the load the more I ride. Keep at it!! I’m really focused on just getting places slowly and safely. I’m also starting to be able to feel what’s going on on the back of the bike more and can ask my 6 year old – weighs 50 lbs – to not hang out the side. Nice to hear from another cargo bike family :)

  • I love this! We also have parked our car and are a biking family now. I have an 8yr and a 5 yr old. We are in Sunnyvale, CA and are loving our Yubba mundo. We have the same set up as you and have the ability to haul an additional friend along. We have been doing it since May and are going strong. Keep up the great work. Such a great adventure for the family!

  • Love it! We have a bright orange xtracycle we’ve affectionately named “big orange.” We got it last summer & have not been disappointed. We even put studded tires & rode through the wisconsin winter. Hope you enjoy yours as much!

  • The video is adorable! Your little one seems so happy on the back. We are currently using a trailer behind our bike for our two little ones, but man is it tough up hills. Perhaps a good cargo bike would help that!

Comments are closed.