Turn the bike you own into a cargo bike, and back again, with the LIFT

The LIFT cargo bike kit
© LIFT Bikes

If a cargo bike would help make your low-carbon lifestyle even more convenient sometimes, but you really love the bike you already own, this device could be the bike accessory for you.

I don't think there's much argument about whether or not bicycles are a great low-carbon transportation choice, but one thing that conventional bikes fall a little short on is hauling capacity. It's easy enough to add a rack or panniers to a bike to carry some groceries or other stuff with you, but it can be rather difficult to load larger, bulkier items onto a bike, which may keep some people from using their bicycles for more of their transportation needs.

Cargo bikes, on the other hand, can be a great option for transporting goods (and kids or pets) around town, especially the Dutch-style bakfiets bicycles, with their front-loading cargo bay that sits low to the ground for stability. However, buying a dedicated cargo bike isn't exactly cheap (~$2,500+), and it may not be the best choice if you don't need a cargo bike for every ride. But now there's another option, in the form of a cargo bike add-on that can convert the bike you already own into a bakfiets-style hauler, and then back again in under a minute when you just want to ride your bicycle without the cargo area.

The LIFT looks to be a great alternative to a conventional cargo bike, in that it's designed to be easy to install and remove, while also offering plenty of hauling space and a capacity of about 150 lb, all for under $900. The LIFT isn't compatible with every single bike out there, but it's likely that many bikes will fit the bill, as detailed by the following specs for LIFT-compatible bicycles:

1) 68mm or 73mm English threaded bottom bracket, 2) cable actuated disk or rim brakes (no drum brakes or hydraulic brakes), 3) Rigid (un-suspended) frames, 4) 9mm standard dropout fork with either a) no suspension or b) locked out suspension.

"With The LIFT attached, your bike can handle the payload of a small car. You can use it for trips to the farmer's market, taking kids to school, carrying your dog to the park and countless other adventures. With The LIFT removed, you can use your bike again for light trips. Since it attaches or detaches in under a minute, you can change it back and forth whenever the need arises."

The cargo box is built from exterior grade birch plywood, the frame of the LIFT is made from powder coated steel, the front tire is a "4 ply tough-as-all-hell" thorn-resistant tire for hauling cargo for hundreds of miles, and the front wheel has a disk brake for maximum stopping power. And for ease of use when loading, unloading, or parking the bike once the LIFT is installed, "the most stable kickstand on the planet" is part of the package.

The LIFT is currently in the middle of a successful crowdfunding campaign, with a month still to run, and backers at the $750 level will get their cargo bike kit in February of 2017, which is a savings of about $150 off of the full retail price.

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