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How to carry cargo and passengers on your eBike

How to carry cargo and passengers on your eBike

April 14, 2022 | Pete Prebus

eBikes (electric bikes) are great because the electric motor assist makes carrying cargo and/or passengers much easier when compared to non-assisted bikes.

That is true even when you are carrying 4 bags of groceries uphill and into a head wind. Similarly, taking the kids to and from school can turn into a fun ride that you and the kids can look forward to each day.

There are a bunch of cargo and passenger carrying accessory options for eBikes that make them super versatile as a car alternative.

Why not ride and have more fun while running errands on your eBike?!

Cargo Carrying Options

There are a lot of options for carrying cargo on your electric bike these days.

There are on the bike cargo options like front and rear racks, baskets, bags, and boxes. Then there are backpacks, messenger bags, hip packs, and more options for carrying items on you.

Additionally there are bike trailers that can be used as a heavier duty cargo carrying option when you need it, but they can stay at home when they are not needed.

Another consideration for carrying cargo is a dedicated cargo eBike that is designed with a focus on carrying bulky and heavier cargo.

Bike Bags

There are a bunch of bike bags on the market these days thanks to the demands of commuting, touring, and bike packing riders who need to carry extra cargo on their bikes.

There are the typical handlebar and under seat bags that can carry smaller items like tools that you may want to have on your bike at all times. Generally, any of this type of bags designed for traditional bikes will also work on your eBike.

For larger items there are bags that fit within the main triangle of the frame. Some hang from the top tube and take up a little room of the frame area while others can be sized to utilize the whole main triangle area.

When you add front and/or rear racks to your eBike then you can utilize bags that can attach to the top and sides of the racks. These bags can generally carry larger items like groceries, a change of clothes for work, laptop computer, etc.

Many of the rack bags can be quickly removed for carrying into work or while collecting items in a store.

Bike Baskets

Bike baskets can add some style with similar cargo capabilities of the bike bag options. The baskets usually require racks for attachment but there are some baskets that attach to the handlebars.

Some of them have a quick release mechanism for carrying with you when running errands. And don’t forget your furry friends! There are some baskets that are designed specifically to carry small pets.

Bike Boxes

There are some box options available that can transport large items.

These can be a good fit for those delivering food because some of the boxes have insulation. eBike pizza delivery is becoming popular in dense urban areas because they can sometimes beat the traffic jams and deliver quicker than a car.

Most of the boxes are attached to a rack, although there are some bikes that have cargo boxes that attach in the middle of the frame.

Racks

There are the typical front and rear bike racks that are built to carry bags on the top and sides. Some eBikes include such racks, while they are available as add-ons for other models.

Then there are racks that have a larger platform for strapping items onto or carrying a larger bag or box on top. Some of these larger platform racks bolt on to the headtube of the frame, an option on bikes that have these dedicated mounting points built-in.

Backpacks

A backpack is probably the most common way to carry cargo with you while riding. It seems like everyone has had the experience of riding to school with a backpack on.

You can certainly use an average backpack for carrying gear but there are also backpacks that are specifically designed for riding a bike and carrying cargo. For instance they have areas for carrying a helmet, shoes, computer/tablet, water bottles, hydration reservoir, and more.

Some of the bike backpacks have an arched back with a mesh layer to create airflow for keeping your back cool while riding. When the weather turns there are some with built in rain covers to protect your gear in the pack. They also generally have a lot of reflective materials built in and some come in bright colors so that others can easily notice you on the road.

Another feature sometimes found on a bike backpack is the ability to carry it on a bike rack while having the backpack straps for carrying around once you have parked your bike.

If you want to add some style to your daily ride there are a wide variety of backpack types to choose from that include sporty, professional, urban, and more.

Messenger Bags

These bags became popular during the rise of bicycle messengers because they needed a pack that could hold a lot, had a lower center of gravity, and could be moved from front to back quickly for easy access to the stuff inside.

Messenger bags have a lot of similarities to bike backpacks as far as what they can carry. They generally have a large top flap that opens to access the large cargo area.

As with backpacks there are a wide variety of styles to choose from to suit your preferences.

Hip Packs

Hip packs are making a comeback from the 80s and there are more bike specific hip packs available today.

These are a good way to carry a little gear with you at a low center of gravity area where you will barely feel you are carrying anything. They can be swung around from back to front quickly to easily access your gear.

Some of these come with a water bottle holder for another hydration option while you are out and about.

Bike Trailers

When you need to carry larger, heavier cargo a bike trailer can be a great way to go. They generally have a larger area to carry cargo and it can have a lower center of gravity for more stability.

The great thing about a bike trailer is that you only use it when you need to and it can be stored at home when you don't need it.

There are single wheel trailers that are generally intended for carrying cargo and they have a narrow profile for following the bike down narrow pathways and trails.

2 wheel bike trailers have many different configurations for carrying cargo or kids.

Trailers are great for everyday needs and they can also be a good option for businesses wanting to transport their goods via bike.

Electric Cargo Bikes and Trikes

If you know you will be carrying cargo and/or kids a lot then you may want to consider buying an electric cargo bike or trike because they are designed with many ways to carry cargo.

There is the typical eCargo bike with cargo carried in front of and behind the rider and there are also the long cargo bikes with a low and large cargo area in the middle of the bike.

eCargo trikes provide a lot of stability and the ability to carry a large cargo box between the 2 rear wheels. These can be a good option for businesses delivering or selling their goods via the bike.

Carrying Passengers

Taking the kids to school via eBike can be a lot of fun for everyone! There are a lot of kid seat options that attach to the rear rack generally. Some eBikes come equipped with a rear rack that is compatible with specific kids seats for easy attachment.

Cargo bikes also have a lot of options for transporting kids, even as they outgrow the kids seats. Multiple kids can ride on the back rack area with foot rests and some cargo bikes have a large bucket in the middle for kids to ride in.

Trailers are also another good option for multiple kids to ride in. This can be a good option if you want to use your regular eBike and trailer without needing a larger eCargo bike.

There are options for carrying adult passengers as well! eCargo bikes work well for adults to catch a ride and some of the moped style eBikes have a large rear rack with footpegs.

Many Options

As you can see there are many cargo and passenger carrying options for electric bikes.

Sometimes it is good to get started with one way of carrying things to see how it suits your daily riding needs. You can always try other methods to improve on your ride.

Adding electric assist really makes carrying cargo and passengers so much more feasible by bike. Once you get your eBike set up it can make a lot of sense to ride more and drive less. Plus, it's a lot more fun :)

Enjoy your rides!

-Pete