Happiness is a DIY Cargo Bike

Editors: This article was originally published in Issue 166 of our quarterly Tube Times magazine, one of many perks of membership in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Not a member? Join today.

When Yaron Milgrom first moved to San Francisco in 2008, he bought a bike and rode it around the Mission with his son in a child seat. When his two daughters were born, his family switched to a pickup truck to get around because their destinations were often too far to walk with three kids. But driving meant facing rush-hour traffic and circling the block repeatedly looking for parking with tired kids in the backseat. Yaron wanted a change.

When his friend Saul Griffith offered Yaron a prototype cargo bike frame from his company Otherlab, along with spare parts and space in his workshop, Yaron jumped at the opportunity. Over two months, he added an electric motor and built out a front basket, a fold-down seat and seat belts.

Now, Yaron and his three kids bike every day — to the Civic Center Farmers Market, to his daughter’s co-op preschool, and on the bike lanes on Cesar Chavez and San Jose Avenue to Dolores Huerta Elementary.

“Biking has transformed my life,” Yaron says. “It’s actually made me feel more fully realized as a parent. When we bike together, the kids are happier, I’m happier, we’re talking to each other, and we’re all more engaged with the world around us. We get to our destination faster than we would if we were driving, and it’s a lot more fun.”

He adds: “We often experience parenthood in terms of the things that we have to give up. I thought biking was one of those things. But I can be a parent and not give up my love of biking or being outside. And I feel a deep sense of community and connection with other families I see on bikes, which I never felt in my truck.”

Yaron acknowledges they are lucky to have been given the donated parts and to have secure parking in their apartment building’s basement. “I know I’m fortunate to have had this opportunity. Cargo bikes are cheaper than cars but not affordable for everyone,” he says. “We need to work to make bikes like this a more feasible option for families throughout San Francisco.”

Learn how biking can bring joy to you and your family at sfbike.org/our-work/youth-family/.

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