Commute by Bike has had a long fascination with Xtracycle cargo bikes — those longtail wonders that make an ordinary bike into a “sports utility bike.”
The FreeRadical Cargo Bike Kit contains the parts you need to stretch a little more distance between your front and rear wheels. It turns your favorite bike into the only vehicle you need (most of the time).
These kits have been available direct to consumers for 15 years from the Xtracycle Web site, as well as through a network of dealers across the US — local bike shops.
Xtracycle’s strength is in innovating in the cargo bike world and creating new products, but running an online store, in the words of Ross Evans, founder of Xtracycle, “is not our best skill.”
Not really. Xtracycle was already working with Campfire Cycling (publisher of Commute by Bike) as the only other place consumers could buy Xtracyle kits and accessories online.
Now Xtracycle has decided to entrust their direct-to-consumer online sales — all of them — to Campfire Cycling. Evans and Josh Lipton, founder of Campfire Cycling, are both inventors and social entrepreneurs who believe that bikes can and should be used for transportation, and that by doing so you can inject fun into every trip.
Some dealers may have preferred that Xtracycle kits not be available to buy online at all, invoking the false conflict between local bike shops and online retail. But not all online retailers are soulless bloodsucking behemoths or bottom-feeders with no expertise beyond taking your credit card number.
“It is critical to us that our community can get the support they need in places where we don’t have dealers,” said Evans. “I believe Campfire Cycling will provide knowledgeable, high-touch service world-wide. And I love that they are based in my home town, Tucson AZ.”
Evans explains, “We chose to work exclusively with Campfire Cycling because they take the time to get to know the product and are active in the bike community. They don’t just sell bikes, they ride bikes, and I believe their vision for a bike-filled future closely matches ours.”
Lipton has invented several bike trailers, but he’s no purist. “Xtracycles and bike trailers alike are the most cost effective tools for carrying large items by bicycle,” he said. “Anyone utilizing bicycles for daily transportation can easily expand their capability to get more done.”
The partnership has inspired some new features on the Campfire Cycling shops too. Extracycle kits have some preconfigured packages that you can now configure with one click — then tweak if you like.
Campfire Cycling is also carrying some of the weird and rare spare parts that a small bike shop might not have the luxury to stock.
Here are some of the accessories that consumers can now purchase directly from Campfire Cycling:
A sidecar for cargo. Mounts to your Xtracycle Cargo Kit. Carries up to 250 lbs. When not in use, pivot sidecar up and out of the way.
Xtracycle WideLoader Rack
A wide platform for carrying big boxes and bulky objects which might be difficult to load, or too wide.
Xtracycle X2 FreeLoader Saddlebags
Carry all kinds of cargo — a backpack or even a bundle of lumber.
Xtracycle Bike Blender
Makes an Xtracycle kit into a bike-powered blender. With the savings on energy costs the blender pays for itself in only 11,000 smoothies.
Bonus: I wrote many of the product descriptions for these products. You might find typos. But there’s also a vaguely political Easter egg hidden in one of the product descriptions. See if you can find it.