As much as I enjoy a variety of different types of bikes, from traditional roadsters and touring bikes, to folders, high-tech commuters, and recumbents, the most useful for living car-lite have to be those that are set-up for conveniently hauling things. A bike with a catch-all platform in front and a heavy-duty rack with a pair of large panniers in back is just tremendously useful for day-to-day living. And if that bike is designed from the ground up with the appropriate geometry, clearances, and frame stiffness for cargo hauling, it’ll end up being one of the most ridden bikes in the stable of just about any car-lite or car-free household.
The Civia shown above is probably the least photographed bike in our stable, yet it’s one of the most frequently ridden. I use it for nearly every quick trip under two miles, whether it be to the grocery store, library, restaurant, coffee shop, or a friend’s house. It’s the bike that requires the least amount of fuss while taking care of the humdrum errands that crop up nearly every day.
Whether it’s a pretty purpose-made bike like the Civia, a longbike or Xtracycle conversion, a Dutch bakfiets, or even a vintage mountain bike repurposed with the addition of a pair of heavy-duty racks, every car-lite/car-free household should have at least one bike that serves as a reliable pack mule.
Disclosure: Civia is a sponsor of this website.