Introducing Ruth: A Cargo Bike Enthusiast Leading the Charge

Despite their advantages, cargo bikes are still a rare sight on the streets on Dunedin, so it was great to read a recent ODT article about another local Mum, Jenny Clarkson who also rides one. I’d also seen other cargo bikes parked up around town. 

Introducing Ruth: A Cargo Bike Enthusiast Leading the Charge

Introducing Ruth, another one of our Cargo Bike community members. Ruth switched from an e-bike to a cargo bike last year and hasn’t looked back. In this blog she talks about her journey to the cargo bike, how she isn’t a fitness enthusiast but finds the cargo bike more convenient and practical than driving. Ruth also helped us out with organising our first cargo bike meetup, which was a great day and something we want to do again, to help Dunedin grow  into a more sustainable and bike friendly city. Here Ruth tells us more… 

“I live in Mornington and use an e-cargo bike to get around – mostly school drop-offs and commuting into town. My main motivating factor is convenience. Specifically, I enjoy being able to get where I’m going without having to think too hard about car parking. My decision to ride is always based on practicality. If it’s raining heavily, I’ll probably drive. But in general, I find most trips easier by bike.

Though I’ve ridden a bike for years, I am not much of a fitness enthusiast. When my family moved up the hill to Mornington a few years ago, I lasted all of 5 days before trading in my push bike for a regular e-bike. With a child seat on the back, this was also a handy way of moving my toddler around. Last year, as he approached the seat’s weight limit, I switched to a slate-blue Yuba Spicy Curry long-tail e-cargo bike.

Unlike a standard cargo bike with a large box at the front, a long-tail model looks more like a regular bike that has been stretched out at the back to accommodate passengers or luggage. Mine also has a smaller back wheel, which provides a low centre of gravity and makes for very stable riding, even with a wiggly child sitting astride the platform at the back. It also has a powerful motor while allows me to ascend hills with ease. Even the stupidly steep section at the end of my road is no challenge!

I found switching from a regular e-bike to an e-cargo bike surprisingly straightforward. Though the longer wheelbase means I can’t sit completely upright as on my regular bike, the ability to safely carry large loads, as well as other people, more than makes up for this. And once you set off, it’s easy to forget you’re riding a long, heavy bike. (This becomes more apparent when wheeling and parking it!)

Despite their advantages, cargo bikes are still a rare sight on the streets on Dunedin, so it was great to read a recent ODT article about another local MumJenny Clarkson who also rides one. I’d also seen other cargo bikes parked up around town. Wouldn’t it be great to meet some of these other riders, and to spread the word about cargo bikes generally? Katy from Bike House was thinking along the same lines, so when she suggested the idea of a cargo bike picnic, I was keen to help out.


On the day of the ride, we met up at Bayview Park, at the start of the shared path along the peninsula. There was a real variety of bikes, and it was wonderful to see lots of families, with nearly as many young passengers as adult riders. We set off at a leisurely pace, with a tail wind. The shared path, which was redeveloped a few years ago, was looking particularly lovely, with the plantings now fully grown, and many of the historic boat sheds recently spruced up. The sections of path that drop down below road level to wind between the sheds and sturdy gabion walls are a real highlight.


Upon reaching our cosy picnic spot at Macandrew Bay, the riders from Pedals Couriers casually removed the two large armchairs and coffee table they had been brought with them on the ride and set them up on the grass. Others unrolled picnic rugs and unpacked sandwiches. Some went over the road to get coffee. Most of the children disappeared into a nearby tree; others paddled on the beach. We swapped riding stories compared bikes and accessories, and ate lunch. Then we rode back. It was a great day, and I hope we get to do it again soon.


Next time, it would be great to attract more riders of regular bikes who might be curious to try out a cargo bike and see how it could work for them. With more families looking for sustainable and/or active transport options, a ‘try my bike’ meet-up might be the first step towards driving less, or getting fitter. Or it might just be a really good way to avoid carparking.”

Ruth, we couldn’t agree more! If you want to know more about Cargo Bikes or even test one out, just get in touch or pop in store.


Photos and Words by Ruth Barton 

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