MDW Recap + Short-Term Cargo Bike Review

MDW Recap + Short-Term Cargo Bike Review

Memorial Day Weekend marked the fourth weekend that The Bike Library opened up for business. It's been a great month, and we are all excited for what June will bring, then July, then August... and beyond.

It took me about two of those four weeks to realize that my 1990-something Schwinn Crosscut was not going to hack it for long term hauling to-and-from the shop, no matter how many baskets or panniers or dog carts I strapped on...

Bravely going where no Schwinn Crosscut has gone before...

My friend Brent from @tampabayrides reposted an Instagram story which precipitated a deep dive into Omnium's website. I impulse-bought an Omnium Cargo V3 frameset after a few clicks and a double-check on my credit card limit. YOLO!

The anticipated four-week build queue was interrupted by a call from a Chicago phone number last week, about two weeks after I placed my order.

Hey, we are planning to deliver your bike this Thursday. Do you need any other accessories thrown in the box before we pack it up?

Umm, could you throw in a front wheel? (I didn't have a 20" wheel with a 15mm thru axle on hand.)

Sure. Just give the delivery person $100 cash when she drops it off. See you Thursday!

Intrigued and mildly concerned, I showed up to the container at the agreed-upon time as a green Honda Element screeched into the parking lot. Next thing I know, I'm talking with Margot about how she drove all the way from Chicago for two deliveries in North Carolina: One to Asheville, one to The Bike Library. Sweet! I handed over the Benjamin, said bye, and began the build – transferring all the parts over from my old Schwinn.

Here's the briefest short-term review I can muster:

  • It is tremendously fun.
  • It handles like a slacked-out mountain bike at cruising speed, but like a scooter at low speeds.
  • I'm glad that I got the acoustic version, but the electric version could easily replace a car for the average person.
  • Yesterday my payload included a 30lb solar battery, two 7lb ice packs, several bike components, a bag, an entire bike repair stand, a jacket, coffee making equipment, two bananas, and all of the usual stuff (wallet, keys, Dangle accessories, phone, harmonica). I was using about 60% of the cargo space.
  • I would recommend getting the webbing and a front fender. I still need to finagle both of those, and it's kind of a pain to do so. Just order them and the front wheel with the bike when you get it.
  • Get hydraulic brakes. Just. Do. It. And 180+ mm rotors.

I plan to pursue a dealership gig with Omnium. I would be happy to sell these. After riding it, seeing how fun it is, and how much sh*t I can HAUL on it, I'm starting to think this might be a way to get significantly more people on bikes and out of cars.

Anyway. Please enjoy a video of Dan and his first impressions as well as some photos from MDW! (Yes, it's below the membership wall... signing up is free, but your contributions help keep the lights on and we really appreciate all of your support as we grow this thing!)

Ride on, friends.

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