Perched on the back of their e-bike, Fletcher and Luca Reynolds love to watch the world go by on their morning commute.
“They much prefer the bike to the car,” their mum Ineke said. “Every morning they’re excited about seeing the goats we pass, and they’re always calling out to people, ‘look at my bike!’.”
Since January, Reynolds has clocked up 3000 kilometres on the Yuba Spicy Curry, an electric bike capable of carrying a 136 kilogram cargo.
The family bought the vehicle for their daily commute between their Annesbrook home, and work and school in central Nelson. Avoiding traffic was a major motivator, but there are other benefits, Reynolds said.
“It’s a really nice way to get around. There are no parking issues, I can bike to the door at school or the office, and we use less petrol.”
At weekends, they take the bike to the shops, or put the children’s bicycles onto the back and head off in search of adventure. And when Reynolds and her husband have a night out, they’ll often go by bike, with one of them sitting on the back.
Reynolds believes the popularity of cargo bikes is growing.
“When I first started riding I wouldn’t see many, but now I see multiple bikes a day.”
According to Statistics NZ data the number of e-bikes imported into New Zealand has more than doubled in recent years rising from 11,424 in the year to June 2016 to 27,646 in the year to June 2018.
Nelson Bike Station owner Rochelle Mathews said she fields two or three e-bike enquiries a week, mostly from parents.
“People are getting more conscious about getting out of cars, and with congestion around schools, you can just whip in there.”
Some clients find other uses for the cargo bike, too. One woman used hers for her cleaning business, she said.
Mathews predicted more commuters will find their way onto Nelson’s cyclepaths as the city grows.
“Biking’s the way of the future.”