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Cargo Bikes Are Revolutionizing Family Life in New York

Four kids on one cargo bike? It can be done!

That and other amazing and arresting images are found in Clarence Eckerson Jr.’s latest Streetfilm, “The NYC Cargo Bike Revolution: More Families take to the Streets!

The film chronicles the activities of a number of city families over several months as they load conventional or electric cargo bikes with children, gear, groceries, and what-have-you, for trips tooling around town, to the park, to the zoo, between boroughs, over bridges — you name it, New York’s intrepid biking parents have put the kids in their cargo bikes and gone for it.

As a number of parents note in the video, the trend has accelerated during the pandemic, as families have sought alternatives to transit-riding and the city has built out protected bike lanes.

But not only because of the pandemic: Several parents extolled the time-saving aspect of simply loading the kids onto a bike and just taking off — as opposed to, say, shlepping them down steps into the subway, waiting for trains, then goading them back up the steps, etc. (you get the picture).

“You can really unlock more time, which means you can spend more time with your kids,” said Manhattan mother Madeleine Novich, who is shown in the film before and after she gave birth to the family’s latest bike occupant (a son).

For Jennifer Izkowitz, another Manhattanite, the Yuba Boda Boda cargo bike on which she loads her two girls has become the family’s “primary mode of transportation.”

“It’s expanded our reach and our range,” she said.

The quality and availability of the bikes also has risen with the increasing demand for the vehicles, with models for every family configuration and budget.

One drawback remains, however: the lack of secure bike parking. Parent Choresh Wald pointed out the graffiti tags that the container of his cargo bike had drawn from being tethered outside on sidewalks. But with the proliferation of facilities such as Oonee pods, perhaps that will prove a passing phenomenon.

For now, though, parents are taking the downside with the good fun of riding around with their kids. As one mother said, “My kids love this bicycle.”

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