The new family car – a cargo bike!

Cargo bikes are increasingly popular, especially for families looking for carbon-free alternatives to the second – or even first – car. Yes, even in Auckland!

Reader Pete Moth shares his family’s experience.

My family moved to Auckland from London in 2017, with 2 kids, aged 2 & 4 at the time. We had arranged for our family camper van to be shipped over. Complications with VTNZ meant the van needed substantial adjustments for New Zealand roads…

Meaning we were without a vehicle.

We chose to live somewhere central (Parnell) on the basis I could walk to work (initially, Carlaw Park) and the rest of the family could walk, cycle or bus to where they needed to get to.

Two months after arriving, our traditional 2-wheeled bikes arrived from the UK and the feeling of liberation was overwhelming.

However, we found it very difficult to move around as a family, with kids becoming too big for child seats, and walking speeds seemingly decreasing with toddler age…

Enter the Taga 2.0, a three-wheeled electric cargo bike, pictured below.

The Taga 2.0 (Image: supplied)

It enabled our car-free lifestyle; with two adjustable seats and ample legroom, capable of taking kids aged 1-7, suddenly life became easier again.

With Auckland’s favourable weather and (generally) improving network of cycle routes, we could be in Mission Bay within 20 minutes, Westhaven Drive in 15 minutes or Mt Eden within 10 minutes.

Ice creams on board! (Image: supplied)

We could also join in with organised cycle events without fear of kids holding everyone up.

Pictured here on a group ride at Waterview Shared Path (Image: supplied)

Being within a few minutes ride of the Downtown Ferry Terminal, we were able to take the bike to such far flung locations as Waiheke Island. Wherever we went, we were met with admiring glances and shouts of “nice bike bro”.

(Image: supplied)

The bike folds down easily, so transporting to off-road trails outside of Auckland was possible. In our case, we fitted the bike – in various parts – onto a bike rack.

However, on one trip along the Dunes Trail near Opotiki, we found difficulties in navigating squeeze gates….

Badly spaced bollards & alleyway gates… the bane of cargo bike owners everywhere! (Image: supplied)

As well as transporting kids, the bike was also useful for transporting cricket gear, items of furniture and…. beer!

Beer on the (car)go! (Image: supplied)

One of the key reasons we have been able to live without a car for nearly 2 years has been the all-weather nature of the bike. The waterproof cover can be fitted in seconds.

Having an electric cargo bike – and electric really is essential when you are carrying two human beings – has meant we were able to live car-free in Auckland for 18 months.

Our camper van did eventually meet VTNZ’s requirements, and sits on the side of the road not doing much in the winter, as we continue to navigate Auckland on 2 (or 3) wheels.

With both kids now weaned off training wheels, we have entered a new phase of family cycling – with a heavy heart we will be selling the e-cargo bike.

Thank you for the memories, “box bike”. They’ll live with us forever.

Pete Moth

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