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Cargo Bike Roll Call & Panel Recap

A few weeks ago Coast In Bikes hosted our last Cargo Bike Roll Call of the season, just down the block at Andoyne Coffee on Bruce St. There was some good discussion, plenty of cargo bike test rides, and a whole lot of smiling faces (on kids and adults!).

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What’s a Cargo Bike Roll Call?

A Cargo Bike Roll Call is when we plan a casual primer about cargo bikes. We bring our shop cargo bicycles plus the models we sell, and we invite our customers who own cargo bikes to bring them to the event. For this event we also invited two other shops to bring the cargo options they stock. We setup in a place that can easily facilitate test rides, discussion, and activities that allow cargo curious parents and families to explore how a cargo bike may fit in their lives. They get a chance to not only test ride a bunch of bikes but they also have one-on-one conversations with experienced riders and families who can help shed some light on the pros and cons of the cargo bike life.

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Inspiration from other cities such as Chicago and Portland may have started our Roll Calls here in Milwaukee but they have grown quickly in the few years from the first event at Lake Park with 5 or 6 bikes. It’s exciting and encouraging to see families make the leap into a more bike-focused lifestyle.

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Who came to play?

We had over 40 adults and kids for the panel discussion and test rides, some current owners and some curious investigators. There were 12 bikes from 5 different brands and 3 different electric assist versions to try. Kids begged for test ride after test ride (they really are the best salespeople for cargo bikes with their smiles and shouts of excitement) and parents shared their experiences with moms and dads considering the cargo bike lifestyle.

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Having a more formal panel was a new addition to these events and it allowed both parents with a lot of experience (7+ years) and new owners (2 weeks!) to share what they’ve learned, their tips and tricks, and best of all their encouragement and excitement. Questions for the panel ranged from “How essential is electric assist?” to “Will I hurt my kids if we crash?” [Quick honest answers: Electric systems are awesome but not essential, and you will probably tip the bike over at some point but the kids will be ok.]

Tell me more about the bikes!

Coast In Bikes brought our Xtracycle 24D, our Third Coast Bike Works Big Purple long john, a Surly Big Dummy, and we borrowed Pete DiAntoni’s Xtracycle 27D with a 750 watt eRad Mid-Drive Electric Assist system.

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The Cargo Bike Shop, based in Madison, brought a Larry vs. Harry Bullitt with a BionX electric assist system and Workscycles bakfiets.

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Fyxation brought a Yuba Spicy Curry with Currie Technologies mid-drive electric assist system.

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There were a handful of other bikes the participants brought including two Bullitts, a Yuba Mundo, and a rainbow of Xtracycle Edgerunners. It was amazing to see all the bikes lined up outside Anodyne before the forum, it felt like Europe!

Final Thoughts

Seven years ago when I bought my first cargo bike (Xtracycle Freeradical, which prompted me to sell my car two months later) there were only a handful of folks in the Milwaukee area that had a cargo bike of some kind. I’m ecstatic to see that the acceptance and market have grown so much that I’ll see cargo parents I don’t know riding around town. This is why we were the first to bring Xtracycle to the Milwaukee market, because I truly know these bikes change lives from my first-hand experience.

Want to chat more? Coast In Bikes is dedicated to expanding and offering more cargo bike options as we grow next year and we love answering cargo bike questions so stop on by, email or call anytime.

Do you own a cargo bike and want to be added to our cargo bike roll call contact list? Email us at and we’ll get you signed up.

Save the dates for two upcoming cargo bike events we’ll be hosting early next spring:

March 6, 2016- Cargo Bike Panel Date Night @ Coast In Bikes
April 23, 2016 – Cargo Bike Roll Call @ Gordon Park

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