Cargo Bike Shop
The Bullitt is a kid-friendly bicycle.
When you think of bicycles, it's likely that the first images to come to mind are super-fit Lycra-clad racers in summer or maybe bundled-up urban hipsters in winter. But Tim Staton wants you to think of a bike as a workhorse too.
Tim and his wife, Ryann, have started the Cargo Bike Shop, which for now is little more than an online presence and a social media platform. But the bikes are very real. They sell the "Bullitt," manufactured by the Danish firm Larry vs. Harry and imported through Splendid Cycles in Portland, Oregon. They also sell the Xtracycle, a long-tail style bike with an extended backend for hauling things, including kids.
"A lot of cargo bikes are like a Ford station wagon. I compare the Bullitt to an Audi," says Tim. The Bullitt weighs about 60 pounds, much lighter than most cargos, which come in at 80-100 pounds. The lightweight aluminum frame is complemented with a Shimano mountain bike drive train. A pedal assist, the D500 by Bionics, is available as an add-on.
Tim isn't new to the bike business. He's worked for Trek, Saris and Pacific Cycles, and along the way picked up a MBA in entrepreneurial marketing at UW-Madison.
With so much experience in the business -- and with fast, lightweight bikes -- why get into cargo bikes?
"I saw how awesome it was to ride with my daughter every day in a cargo bike," Tim says, explaining how he got hooked. "The smiles, the giggles -- when your kid is stuck in a car seat, all she sees is the back of your head while you swear at the other drivers. On the cargo bike, we've seen ducks and geese and all kinds of things we wouldn't even notice from a car. For me it's a passion -- to enable other parents to have this experience."
Right now, the best place to connect with Tim and Ryann is on Facebook. In the spring, he'll have bikes that he can bring to your home on a trailer. He'll let potential buyers ride it for a day, or even a week, to have the experience. He feels that once you ride, you'll be hooked as he is. And at a starting price of about $3,000 for a Bullitt, he knows that most customers will want to kick the tires before committing.
"For a lot of people, this bike will replace a car," Tim says. And at an average cost of $31,000 for a new car, a cargo bike could be a bargain by comparison.
Tim and Ryann plan a larger online presence next year and a physical shop come 2016. It seems to me that Madison, with its kid-friendly vibe, might be the perfect place for them and for the chunky, but efficient and cool cargo bikes.
Dave Cieslewicz is executive director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin