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3 cargo bikes that let you commute with your kids

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For families who want to trade the car for two wheels

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The Madsen Bucket Bike

If you’re in the market for a new bike, there are plenty of options. Some new electric bikes can take you 40 miles on one charge, while other scooter-like bikes make commuting more comfortable.

But all of these bikes only work for one person. Part of the reason cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam are two-wheeled paradises is because whole families commute every day by bike—often in large, bucket-style cargo bikes. That might seem revolutionary here in the United States, but a growing number of parents and their kids are looking to get out of their cars and onto two wheels.

Cargo bikes may not win races, but they do an excellent job of getting you, your kids, and even your animals to where you need to be. They can come with racks for surfboards and extra baskets, are often available with electric assist to counteract the added weight, and have plenty of space for groceries.

Fifteen years ago it was almost impossible to buy a European-styled cargo bike in the U.S. Fortunately, whether you order one online or find one at an ever-growing list of American bike shops, cargo bikes are on the rise. Here are three different options that are prepped and ready to haul parents, kids, and all the gear you need around cities.

The Babboe City Cargo Bike

The Babboe City Cargo Bike seats two toddlers easily.
Courtesy of Babboe Cargo Bike

This two-wheeled version of a bakfiets—the Dutch name for a bike with a box-like hauler in the front—is made for two toddlers on a seated bench and offers a carseat adapter to add an infant. Without the carseat, it’s ideal for one or two kiddos and a load of groceries or bags.

The bike also boasts LED lights in the front and rear and a robust stand that allows the bike to be stable when it’s parked (so kids can climb in and out). Its list price is $2,299 (often available on sale online for less) and a version with an electric assist is also available.

Although based in The Netherlands, Babboe cargo bikes can be found at multiple dealers here in the U.S.

The Yuba Bike Boda Boda

The Boda Boda compact cargo bike from Yuba.
Courtesy of Yuba Bikes

If you want a bike that can still carry your kids but don’t like the extra weight or feel of the bakfiets, try one of the California-based Yuba bikes. Yuba uses a longtail design, meaning that your kids and gear will be behind you. Their Mundo line is based on a mountain-bike style, while the Boda Boda is more cruiser-like.

The 24-speed Boda Boda comes in two different sizes and an older child can sit on the rear deck. You can also add a Yepp Maxi seat for a younger child, and the feel of this compact cargo bike will be the most similar to a normal bike.

Before various add-ons—like a padded seat and extra panniers—the Boda Boda costs $1,599 and comes in three colors. Yuba also makes longtail electric cargo bikes, which start at $3,799.

The Madsen Bucket Bike

A Madsen Bucket Bike in vintage blue.
Courtesy of Madsen Cycles

Based in Utah, Madsen Cycles builds bikes that are a blend of the styles we’ve already discussed. Using a longtail design, Madsen adds a box-like cargo hauler behind the rider.

The 40-gallon passenger bucket comes with seat belts for four kids and removable seating, while the bike boasts a 9-speed shifter and tough components that can stand up to daily commuting. Madsen also sells a range of accessories—lights, a rain cover for the bucket, a front rack, and more.

The bucket bike costs $1,975 and is available to order straight from the Madsen website.