Cycling in Sydney Australia
I will be moving from the Netherlands to Sydney 15th October. I have 3 small kids and in the Netherlands I do all my movements (to/from school; groceries; going to the beach) by cargobike. I would love to bring the bike to Sydney, but I am wondering if I could use the bike in Manly, Balgowlah, Seaforth (we are not sure yet where we are going to live, but it might be that area or somewhere up north) or that it is too hilly with 2 or 3 kids in the cargobike. Are you guys moving kids around in a cargobike? And if yes, what area do you live? Does anybody know abouw cargocycling in the north? And if you move the kids around in the cargobike, do you have an electric one? I hope some of you could help me, because I have to decide if I sell the (non electric) bike here or take it with me...
Kind regards, Dieuwke Winter
Yes, lots of us move kids around by bicycle. Some by cargo bike, some by trailer, and some by those bolt on kids seats. People moving kids by bikes seems to occur across the whole of the greater city region. We recently had a law change to make it legal to ride on the footpath when you have children with you.
Personally, I use a trailer on a standard hybrid bike, but I think an electric cargo bike is the way to go, and that is where I am eventually headed (i think.)
I don't live in Manly, so I hope someone else can answer you specifically on the terrain - simply put beside the ocean is flat, but to go away from it is very steep.
In Australia, you can have an a 200 watt electric assist with no other restrictions, OR a 250watt pedal assist with a 25km/hr limit, same as in the EU I believe. But, apparently we sell higher torque motors in Aust then typical in other parts of the world to cope with out hills.
You may also need to get new brakes and gearing to cope with our hills.
Some retailers in Sydney: Maurice from Omafiets and Peter from PS bikes sell electric cargo bikes, are both on this site and having been name dropped, will hopefully be able to give you some technical info! Jake from Sydney Electric Bikes also has good conversion kits as a third option.
I completely agree with Jon and Phil. I have a Nihola tricycle with electric-motor-assist which was installed by the folks at Gloworm/Omafiets. It is brilliant as it is so hilly here. We live in Surry Hills which is an apt name as it is also very hilly here in the inner city.
For beaches, we like to go to Bondi. It's about a 50 minute ride for us with giant hills to descend and then ascend. It would be impossible to get around without the electrics. I have seem lots of dads with kids without the electric motor and one mother but I think the reason why is because of the terrain. It takes a lot of effort to pedal up so many hills with kids and gear.
We stayed in Manly for a week this past summer and brought the trike along with our other bicycles, one of which is a Yuba Mundo also with electric-motor-assist. It was an ordeal to get the trike over the barriers, as its very wide, to catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly but once we were there in Manly, no issues. We went grocery shopping, to the beach, for a long ride to the Warringah Dam and around.
The other problem with cargo bikes/tricycles is that getting them over the Sydney Harbour Bridge (and to the city) is virtually impossible. The only way over via roads includes a steep set of stairs which means either unloading all children and gear and helping them walk up, asking them to stay up top and wait for you with gear, and then using the assist to help power the bike up the very steep ramp which runs up the middle of the stairs. It sounds as difficult to envision as it is to describe. My husband did it once with the Yuba Mundo which is a long tail and he found it challenging. I wasn't home this particular weekend. I was overseas. So, when he mentioned it to me, my jaw dropped open. So, village life is probably best. My suggestion is to bring along your cargo bike and have a conversion installed by Maurice Wells at Glow Worm Bicycles in Marrickville.
Best of luck with your move!
Hi Dieuwke, I guess you're about to come to Sydney and maybe it's too late to change whatever you are planning to bring! I would recommend bringing the bakfiets if it's not going to cost a lot to transport. They are hard to get here and quite expensive so it will be good to have around and you can always sell it if it's not useful in your lifestyle. We can do electric conversions of the bike you bring and we also have a range of other electric bikes. Some are easier than others to get over the harbour bridge (or I should say some are more difficult than others!).
Hope to meet you soon!