The Commons: Can a bicycle replace the family car?

BRATTLEBORO—In a culture as car-centric as Vermont, Dave Cohen may seem like he is swimming against the tide when he advocates for bicycles as a way to reduce pollution, improve public health, and save people money.

But the Brattleboro psychotherapist has been at this a long time. When he lived in the San Francisco area, he created specially-designed cargo bicycles that could haul up to 1,000 pounds of cargo, and started up a human-powered delivery service called Pedal Express.

“We changed the idea of what bicycles can do,” Cohen said. “Bicycles are still seen as toys in Vermont, but human power is the largest untapped source of energy in the nation.”

So Cohen has taken it upon himself to become an evangelist for a new type of bicycle — the cargo bike — and is touting it as a vehicle that can replace the family car, or at least replace the second family car.

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One thought on “The Commons: Can a bicycle replace the family car?

  1. Dave Cohen

    Just want to clear up one of several inaccuracies in this article. I never said that I “created specially-designed cargo bicycles” for Pedal Express. The bikes were all built by Jan VanderTuin at the Center for Appropriate transport, but somehow the reporter got that pretty wrong. That made me sound like some super bike builder dude. I certainly wish I had the skills to build those bikes, but alas I haven’t and didn’t. Coincidentally, Jan’s brother lives just a mile away from me in my new hometown of Brattleboro, VT. Thankfully, I ran into him the other day to let him know that I would never say such a thing. Jan is a terrific builder and great guy.

    BTW, the ElMundo is doing great. My 6 year old son, Ely, and I took it up a mountain (Vermont sized) with his bike on the towing rack. We unhitched his bike and had a chance to ride some of the mountain trails and do a bit of hiking. Then Ely was able to ride on his bike all the way down the mountain to Brattleboro with me following behind him. I love our ElMundo. Thanks guys…

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