Rideshares, scooters, self-driving vehicles, and (sometime in the future) flying taxis are making their way into Dallas-Fort Worth as transportation transforms. But, a Denton-based startup called Bunch Bikes is taking a page from Denmark’s book and bringing a European trend stateside: cargo bicycles.
Considering the Danes are widely known as “The Happiest People on Earth,” it might be wise to pick up on some of their trends. Designed “with families in mind,” cargo bikes are a daily way to incorporate cycling while safely transporting children.
Think of it like a pedicab meets shopping cart, but with the passengers in the front, and without the late-night-ride-home vibes.
Bunch Bikes are intended for family-fun everyday errands, taking the place of the typical carpool SUV. There’s also the environmental aspect—as is the case with most alternative transportation options—because a cargo bike replaces the fumes typically put off by a car.
“I prefer not to put [the kids] in the car if I can avoid it,” Stacie Archibald, who runs Your Little Artist Playschool in South Portland, told Fast Company. Archibald has been using an early prototype of Bunch Bikes for months. “I definitely don’t want to fill a tank of gas and drive my preschool around—I operate on a pretty tight budget,” she says.
Aaron Powell discovered the cargo bike concept back in 2017 after he rode around Sweden and Denmark on eco-friendly bicycles that were all equipped with a box for his daughter to sit in. Upon realizing the trend hadn’t yet made its way to the mainstream in the U.S. besides a select group of sellers, he decided to sell his jewelry business and launch Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles.
“I found that no one was really doing this and I figured, why not me?” Powell told Dallas Innovates last year. “At the very least I will get a bike out of it.”
Taking that leap seems to be paying off for Powell. Since founding, he rebranded Urban Tribe to Bunch Bikes for legal reasons, and expanded his line of products with two new models.
The 3-wheeled Original is the company’s first family cargo bike, fitting up to four kids and groceries comfortably. Price varies depending on the addition of an electric motor; the electric version (which Powell says is the most popular out of all models) costs $2,999 and the standard is $1,999. Running at the same price is the two-wheeled Swift for up to two children.
Outside of the family bikes are the newer products, The Bark and the Preschool Cargo Bike.
In collaboration with dog company BARK, the adorably cute electric canine cargo bike ($3,495) perfectly fits your favorite furry friend. There’s even dog-friendly features and accessories, like “doggles” and “handlebarks.” But, The Bark is a limited time edition, and will only be available until Sept. 30.
Just as cute is the 6-seater cargo bike for preschoolers ($3,495), which features a 500w electric motor to power the yellow school bus-looking ride.
So far, Powell’s been selling all products through a direct-to-consumer model, but this summer, he expanded the offerings to start selling through bike shops as well.
Powell said some consumers prefer to test ride the cargo bikes before buying, so he decided to start selling through dealers in already popular markets: Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Denver, Phoenix, and Austin.
Powell also says he wanted a “network of trusted bike shops that can provide service to local customers.”
“We will not be using dealers to fulfill online orders as some brands are doing with the ‘omnichannel’ strategy,” Powell says. “It’s an either/or thing. If customers approach us first, we encourage them to order direct. If they contact us looking for a test ride, we’ll send them to a local dealer.”
Bunch Bikes now sells its cargo bikes in 45 states, 3 countries, and counting. Powell says the states are starting to catch on to the pedal-powered lifestyle.
“The electric bike market is quickly expanding in the United States,” he says, “as technology is getting better and prices are going down.”
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