Conifer Haulin' on a Longtail Cargo Bike
Back in my "pre-cargo bike, bike and trailer set-up days", I dreamed of earning my Hauled the Tree Home by Bike patch one day. A few months after adding an Xtracycle EdgeRunner longtail cargo bike to my stable, I had my chance. Come early December, I rolled up to the charity tree stand with my bike and daughter on board and walked between the rows of fragrant firs looking for the perfect (and relatively portable) tree. The stand workers gathered ‘round, grinning ear to ear in disbelief, as I loaded our tree and my 7 year old up and rolled off into the afternoon traffic. The ride home was full of smiling motorists, friendly honks and excited hoots and hollers coming from rolled down windows. Riding home with our annual tree has become one of our favorite new traditions!
You don’t need to be a superhero of a cyclist to earn your tree haulin’ wings this season. With a longtail cargo bike, there are numerous ways to cart your conifer home! Take a peek at the options, fuel up with some cocoa or nog and get ready for a ride full of holiday cheer.
What you’ll need:
- some lash straps like CinchStraps, luggage straps or plain ol' cinch straps found in the camping gear aisle
- a plastic bag to put on the cut end of the tree to prevent sap from getting on your bike
- a blanket to cover your deck or help keep needles from bugging passengers
- Optional: an extra rear blinky light, reflective triangle or red bandanna to attach to the farthest back part of the tree
Method 1: Horizontal-ish on the deck
In a rush? No passengers on board? This method is simple and gets the job done. Wrap the cut end of the trunk in a plastic bag to keep sticky sap off your ride. Secure the tree to the deck or Hooptie using lash straps. Since the tree is centered, your ride will feel super balanced.
Method 2: Put the trunk in a side bag
This is a handy means for tree transport when you have one passenger on back. Wrap the cut end in a plastic bag. Angle the top of the tree up and back on the bike. If you have a Hooptie or handrails, having the tree be on the inside of them will keep it stable and from flopping to the side. Use the blanket to help keep your passenger comfortable. Since more weight will be on one side of the bike, your ride will handle a little differently but you’ll get the hang of it real quick.
Method 3: Horizontal in your bag sling
(Pic credit: Xtracycle dealer in the DC area, BicycleSPACE)
This method is great for ease and depending on your tree size, is super for hauling two passengers on back. Use the straps on your sling bags to secure the tree into the slings. It’s also never a bad idea to secure it with an additional strap to the bike frame. Check to see that your heel has enough clearance from the trunk before heading out. Being able to balance the bike while loading is key so be sure you have a good center kickstand or another adult to help load up. If passengers plan to ride on back, drape a blanket over the tree to keep them from getting poked from needles. As with Method 2, more weight will be on one side of the bike so your ride will handle a little differently but you’ll get the hang of it real quick.
Method 4: With a hitched trailer
(Pic credit: An article about Trees By Bike from The Oregonian)
One of my favorite cargo biking accessories is a dusty old Schwinn trailer we got way back in the day before I knew cargo bikes were even a thing. I love hitching this trailer it up to our EdgeRunner and boosting our cargo hauling game. This is a great way to get your tree home if you have passengers on back your bags and deck are already full of cargo. I install my trailer hitch to my rear wheel (like I would a normal bike), remove the hitch side U-tube, and use a back up strap loosely tethering the trailer to my bike frame (in case the hitch fails). Be sure to secure the tree to your trailer using some lash straps and make sure your tree is far enough back so it won’t hit your bike on turns. It’s also great for hauling tons of firewood home from holiday bonfires!
Lots of folks choose to celebrate or not celebrate the winter season holidays for various secular and religious reasons and we respect them all. If having a live cut tree is part of your winter holiday tradition, awesome! We hope this article is helpful and we’d love to see a picture of your stellar set-up in the comments. If having an artificial or potted living tree is more for you, just as awesome! You can still haul those babies home by bike and we’d love to see your pics in the comments too.