Tired of endless traffic jams, hefty bills, and the weight of climate guilt, city dwellers across Europe are ditching their cars for cargo bikes — and never looking back. Here’s why I became one of them.

Once the vehicle of choice for a select group of urban eco-geeks, cargo bikes are now rolling into the mainstream, helped in part by the rise of electric assist. 

In many places, e-cargo bikes are simply a cleaner, greener, funner, cheaper, healthier, and, usually, faster way to transport yourself, your loved ones, and a bunch of stuff across the cityscape.  

Growing up in South Africa, I had never seen, let alone ridden, a cargo bike before moving to the Netherlands earlier this year. So, curious to find out what all the fuss was about, I got in touch with one of the leading e-cargo bike brands, Urban Arrow, and they generously agreed to lend me one of their ‘Family’ models for a month. We loved it so much that at the end of the trial, we ended up buying our own and kicking our car to the curb.

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Since then, I have cycled our bakfiets (Which translates to ‘box bike’ in Dutch) over 2000km across city streets, muddy forest paths, and sand tracks. Aside from the daily school run and trips to the supermarket, I’ve transported three bicycles stacked on top of each other, 120 kilograms of building materials, and a massive tree from the garden centre. 

Now that I think of it, I have hauled more awkwardly-shaped items in the bakfiets (think lawnmower, wheelbarrow, cabinets, etc.) than I can recall. I’ve even given a panicked friend (plus two suitcases) a lift to the train station to prevent them from missing their flight. And all of this with (usually) a smile on my face.