The U.S. market for bicycles that can carry several people and heavy loads is tiny, but enthusiastic. Bay Area manufacturers Xtracycle and Yuba are largely credited with introducing the cargo bike in the United States – in particular a nimble variety known as the longtail. Observers say that a number of factors, such as high gas prices, the slow economy and environmentalism, are nudging these bikes toward wider use.
“Younger Americans who live in cities are using the bicycle to go to the market and take the kids to day care,” said Jay Townley, a bicycle industry consultant. Townley’s surveys show that Generation Y and Gen X riders are more likely than Baby Boomers to put bikes to practical use.