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City Grounds

in which the prospect of owning a car seemed totally out of the question.
Before we got two blocks from my house on my inaugural ride, the comments began. This bike is one serious ice-breaker, so much so that it’s sometimes hard to get anywhere without constantly stopping to answer questions. I now have conversations with total strangers on a regular basis, people that I would probably have no other context to talk with. I stand straddling my bike on the side of the road, chatting while the dogs eagerly wait for the wheels to start spinning again so we can get to the park. Cargo bikes build community! It seems nobody can let one of these things pass by without saying something. Each of the comments I heard that first month got me thinking about the story of this bike:

“Ain’t that creative? No seriously, that’s creative as shit!”

A cargo bike is any bicycle that can hold large amounts of, well, cargo. The creation of this particular type was a result of brainstorming between Juan Martinez and Ricardo (Ricky) Perez .Juan came to town with a half built prototype—BMX frame, 12” front wheel, shopping cart cargo-box, no braze-ons, no paint, totally gangster. Ricky worked with him to create something more suited to the masses. The result was the “Number Juan,” the first version of which Ricky still rides all over town. It’s based on a mountain bike platform, with a 16” front wheel that sits under the cargo bed. Since then, Ricky has made several NJ’s for paying customers under the moniker Philadelphia Cargo Cycle Company (
“Can I get a ride?”

Hell yes! I am a youth mentor, and my work amounts to being a surrogate soccer mom. My machine has become an essential tool to my organization. I ride at the head of a bike caravan hauling gear for baseball games, kids who are too young to ride, food for trips to the zoo, kids who are hurt/disabled, everything you’d normally cram into a mini-van. I have added some kids to my organization due to the bike. Cool stuff attracts kids. This thing can eas-