View Full Version : elBodaBoda, Gondoliere, or something else?

08-17-2015, 03:52 PM
Hi. I'm looking for a cargo bike for me and my two kids and thought I'd reach out here for your collective wisdom. The specifics: we live in the city, on top of a moderate hill, and I'm looking for something to take us a few miles between home, day care, school, and office. I'm 5'4", and my kids are 1.5 and 5 years old, although on most days, I'll probably have only one of them with me. I'm definitely not an expert rider and will need the e-assist.

I tried out a Yuba elBodaBoda over the weekend, and although I loved it, I'm concerned about my ability to handle the thing with the added weight of one or both kids. Any thoughts on the Virtue Gondoliere+? Hard to believe that a bakfiets-style could cost less than $1500, with e-assist no less, but I'm wondering if I'd be better off with the kids lower to the ground and in front of me. I saw the Extracycle Edgerunner at BicycleSpace, and while I like the lower back wheel and center of gravity, it seemed really long and possibly unwieldy for me.

What else should I be considering? And which shop has the largest selection of cargo bikes for test rides? And how do I convince my husband that I won't kill us all? Thanks for your help!

08-17-2015, 04:22 PM
Welcome! My family (me, husband, 3 kids: almost 5, almost 3 and almost 4 months) have a bakfiets.nl (eassist) and an elBoda, so I hope I can help. Tip #1: this might be a good question for the DC Family Biking Facebook group.

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend the Boda for you. I LOVE having a step through cargo bike with disc brakes, and I ride it often alone, so I like that it's a midtail. My experience with Yuba was not great (though BicycleSpace is -- they got the bike is good working order, even though Yuba didn't ship it to them that way, and didn't help them out much). Yes, the rack is high, so I don't love having the kids on there without being close enough to hold the bike, even with a double kickstand. We've had two 4 year olds on the back, and it's a little tight and squirelly. I wouldn't want it as my primary, carry two kids every day bike.

I LOVE the bakfiets. It can carry everything -- we've taken two kids to Costco on it before. There's a rain cover that keeps it warm enough to bike through the winter. The eassist means no excuses -- I even got it to Jamestown Elementary in Arlington (barely). It's a tank - we've barely had to do any maintenance in the 2 years we've had it (aside from a frustratingly expensive battery problem). It takes about a minute to learn to ride, and having the weight low to the ground and having the kids in front of you is AWESOME.

But I know nothing about the Gondoliere+. The internet must have reviews, but I haven't looked (post them if you find them - I'd be interested). If it's well built and the motor is adequate, then go for it. If not, I'd look at the Edgerunner, Mundo (though that's also Yuba) and Pedego's longtail (called the Stretch, I think). I believe Hybrid Pedals in Arlington and the Green Commuter in Takoma Park, and possibly BicycleSpace in DC are the best shops for you to look at. Unfortunately, there's no one shop that's great at family biking (full disclosure: I had a bad experience with the Green Commuter. But I know others who love them).

As to your last question, family biking by the numbers is generally very safe. But if you'd like to meet people who do it regularly, come to the start or finish of a Kidical Mass ride. There's going to be one in Arlington on Sunday (*that I need to plan tonight*). You'll see different bikes and set ups in action and people are friendly and usually happy to talk about what they like and don't like.

08-17-2015, 05:09 PM
one other to consider: the new Yuba Spicy Curry - http://yubabikes.com/spicy-curry

Just released this year and has the small 20" rear wheel so cargo (and kids) are lower to the ground!

08-18-2015, 03:26 PM
Thanks so much!

Is there some place around here where I can try a bakfiets? The Daily Rider has a store model Bullit - do you think it'd be close enough? How about the Spicy Curry? It looks soooo fun, but I hesitate to plunk down that much cash without trying it.

Thanks for the tip about the FB group; I'll try asking there, too. And where can I find details on the Kiddical Mass ride on Sunday? The last entry on the blog seem to be from July.

08-18-2015, 03:53 PM
No one stocks bakfiets locally, but you're welcome to try ours. It rides very differently from the Bullitt (I've ridden a few). If you can't make Sunday's ride, pm me and we'll work something out. The bakfiets is usually in Arlington.

I decided to not decide on which route for the ride, and am asking people to vote on the route for Kidical Mass on Sunday. Just updated the website (http://kidicalmassarl.blogspot.com/)and FB page (https://www.facebook.com/kidicalmassarlington).

Good luck