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New cargo bike owner advise

Posted on January 27, 2021 at 9:23 am



You have just bought your first and brand new cargo bike to transport your tiger…  All the time and money invested got you to this very exciting stage. So whilst we are sure you are having a great time it is a good idea to take care of a few things at this point.

Safe, comfortable and confident

The above are 3 important steps to fully enjoying your cargo bike. Get to know your limits as a rider and the limits of your bike.

Remember it’s great fun but it’s also bigger and heavier than your standard bike. It also becomes heavier after you’ve put in your children and added the shopping along the way. It will handle each stage of that journey differently. Getting comfortable simply requires time, so keep it cool and relaxed in the beginning, get to know your cargo bike really well.

Confidence for some means speed, for others having planned every detail of their journey. Now you will start seeing the world around you again whilst being safe on the move.

First service

Most sellers will provide an after sale service often referred to as “First service”. With us it’s free since it’s not a repair or service as such. Essentially it is the last stage of the build process.

Since your bike was assembled but never ridden, the first few rides may cause your gears to come out of alignment, brakes to loosen up, things to start rattling and so on. That said this is not a rule and your bike may seem to do just fine. And this is where it’s important to just follow the advice and still get the First service done as there are things that may not be audible nor visible but may cause issues further down the line. For example your wheel spoke tension is almost guaranteed to drop which makes the wheel weaker and more prone to actual damage (buckle, egg or even collapse). So we strongly advise you to do it.

Good fit

With cargo bikes it is often the case that both parents or multiple staff members are using the same bike. The correct riding position is important for the rider’s comfort, potentially health but also safety.

Imagine a 5′ tall rider pushing a bike setup for 6’10 tall rider. They would likely be holding the handlebar at head height. It’s hard to walk or manoeuvre the bike in this way.  In the opposite extreme a tall rider will struggle to avoid hitting the handlebar with their knees. In both cases it is important to set the saddle height just right. There is much content online to advise you on this and it is not specific to cargo bikes.

Identify the “main rider” and do the compromise setup leaning towards the main rider. This relates to handlebar height, brake lever and shifter positioning but also the bell and other things you may need to reach. First service is usually a good opportunity to go over these sorts of adjustments.

Maintenance

Make a plan. For instance it is a good idea to service your bike once a year. Put it in your diary. Just because your bike is not making scary noises or is looking cool doesn’t mean it’s not in need of some TLC. General service = TLC. General service will typically cost you £80 – £160 depending on age and the use of your bike. Worth every penny considering it’s about the safety of your children and others. A well maintained bike is less likely to break down on the way home or even get a flat tyre.

Get a pump with a pressure gauge that works for you (floor pump or mini), riding on soft tyres is hard work and it increases the chance of getting a puncture.

Now onto the less predictable events. Punctures are a part of cycling and if you get a flat tyre there is nothing wrong with your bike (apart from the flat tyre:). It is wise to make a conscious decision about how you or your partner will handle such situations. If you are planning to do it yourself on the road side it may be a good idea to try it at home first. You should also carry the tools and a spare tube at all times. It’s worth noting that London Green Cycles is generally able to pick up your bike anywhere in Greater London with 10-20 minutes notice to cover such events.

Selling your cargo bike

This may seem a little premature since you only just bought one, but many cargo bikes are bought for a relatively short period of time. We can assure you that even one school year is well worth it. Nonetheless it is then worth considering taking great care of your bike’s appearance. Especially if you want the bike to sell for good money of course.

Sun does a surprising amount of damage to the fabric components’ colour, but also metal and wood paint fades when exposed, even here in the UK. An extra layer covering your cargo bike entirely is a good solution, if you don’t have a garage or a shelter.

Riding on soft tyres will cause them to crack on the sides and eventually need replacing. Frame protectors are transparent stickers to protect your paint from scratches. You can also buy or make your own matts to protect the box floor from wear. That said the resale price of cargo bikes in the UK is very good so you have made a good investment. It is reasonable to expect around a 50% return after 3-4 years of use.

Enjoy your ride, make it the best part of your day.

 

 

 

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