Every parent knows the school run can be a daunting task, but two mums, Rachel and Amy, and their husband’s Stuart and Greg, who between them have seven children to transport to and from school each day as well as getting to work themselves, have found a unique and sustainable solution: the electric cargo bike.
Learn why going green with an e-cargo bike has been life changing for Rachel and Stuart and Amy and Greg.
Busy Families, Busy Lives
Amy and Greg. Greg, is Founder and Managing Director, of Global Power Energy, a specialist advisor in Australian energy transition. Amy, works part-time as a Speech Pathologist at a local hospital. They have four children under 10, with three now at school and needed a practical solution to juggle their busy schedules with school drop-offs.
Rachel and Stuart. Stuart is an Academic at the University of Queensland and Rachel looks after their children and also studies part-time. They have three children, also all under 10, going to the same school as Amy’s and Greg’s.
Why Electric Cargo Bikes?
When Rachel and Stuart's children moved schools their commute increased from a mere 300 meters to a little over 3km. Frustrated with being stuck in traffic, they saw an opportunity to make the change to a greener transport option.
Says Rachel, “I love the concept of a cargo bike because of its versatility of being able to transport kids and also do other things including the shopping."
"Having the bike significantly reduces reliance on using a car which means fewer emissions and it saves on car running costs and parking”.
For Amy and Greg, the shift to electric bikes came when they moved to a hilly area. Bicycle commuters already, they needed a more flexible solution that could handle their daily routine and help them navigate the hilly area.
Says Amy, “My workplace has limited paid parking spaces and driving was never really an option with the expense and not to mention traffic. Public transport was an effort with kid drop offs in three different locations."
"I opted for the Riese & Muller Load 75 to give me the flexibility of being able to load everything into it that I would a car. It not only did that, but has significantly reduced my commute."
"We have four children and it can carry all of them with ease if we need to! The kids instantly loved the idea of a bike that could carry them. They can all ride their own bikes confidently and still ride alongside me sometimes, particularly for our leisure rides, but for the short A to B commute it is so much easier loading them all into my bike.”
And Amy says of having the electric assist, “It's so great not having to stop, and get off and push on the hills like my previous bike.”
Life with a Cargo EBike
Rachel and Stuart predominantly use the bike for school and kindy drop-offs and pick-ups. The bike has essentially replaced their car for these daily tasks.
During the weekends, they take the bike out for cruisy family rides around their local area or a bit further afield into the city.
Amy and Greg use their bike in much the same way during the week, including commuting to work, dropping four kids to school/kindy, and the occasional grocery run.
On weekends, they enjoy leisurely rides around the Brisbane river, participate in cycling events, and visit places like Southbank or QPAC where parking is a hassle and added expense. Their family pooch even gets to go for a spin when the kids go running or cycling on their own.
The School Run. Now the Best Part of the Day
It is a few months after ‘going e-cargo’ now and both families consider their cargo ebike an indispensable part of their lives.
It saves them time and has turned the school drop-offs and pick-ups into what used to be stressful part of their routine into the best part of their day!
Reflecting on their experience, Amy shared, "I couldn't imagine my life without this bike now. It was worth every dollar as it saves me a lot of time and stress in managing drop-offs and pickups."
"It is the convenience of a car, with none of the hassle!"
The bike effortlessly accommodates their four children and has become a symbol of connection and togetherness.
Plus, they were able to sell their second car, saving on registration and petrol.
Truly Life Changing
When asked if they had any regrets, Amy and Greg say that their biggest regret is that they waited two years before buying the bike.
Their advice is simply: "Don't wait! It truly is life changing!"
Rachel and Stuart and Amy and Greg chose the Riese & Muller Load as their preferred cargo platform. It is the only large capacity e-cargo bike that offers dual suspension (extra comfort and more control).
Built in Riese & Muller’s factory in Germany to very high European safety standards it is also powered by the strongest of the Bosch ebike motors, the Bosch Cargo Line. The two models the families in this article use also have the carbon belt drive and internal gearing combinations.
Rachel and Amy, with their children, meet up one morning before school starts for a quick photo shoot for this article.
Rachel with her three children, and their Riese & Muller Load 60 Vario, which has a 60cm front bucket equipped with two child seats which the older two children use. Their youngest rides in a childseat mounted to the rear rack.
Amy with her four children, and their Riese & Muller Load 75 Rohloff, which has the larger 75cm bucket. The bucket can accommodate three children and their eldest usually rides separately. For short trips and for convenience the bike can carry all four children.
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Further Reading: Carrying Dogs on Your Electric Bikes