Local Safe Routes to School Coordinator for the City of Harrisonburg, SVBC member/volunteer, and all around great guy, Matt Hassman was recently featured in the Virginia Safe Routes to School Email Newsletter talking about cargo bikes. You can read the entire March newsletter here
Friends & Faces: Matt Hassman and Kaspers Kargos
Matt Hassman is the SRTS Coordinator for Harrisonburg City. Matt has helped to launch several initiatives throughout Harrisonburg including a walking school bus at Spotswood Elementary and a walker rewards program.
What inspired you to buy a cargo bike?
I was inspired to buy a cargo bike when my wife and I found out that we were expecting. As one of my son’s primary caregivers, I wanted to be able to travel with my son and since I rely on my bike for transportation, I wanted to make sure he could ride with me. My cargo bike has enough room that I installed a car seat! The car seat helps me feel comfortable riding around with him. I have a Larry vs. Harry Bullitt which I purchased in June 2016 from Kaspers Cargos (featured in next section).
What do you primarily use it for?
The great thing about my cargo bike is that it allows me to use my bike like most people use their car.
I’m able to pick up groceries or paper towels without much planning.
With a normal bike, you have to worry about how you are going to carry things or spend time strapping things down. I don’t have to worry about that at all and can just pick things up when I need to.
I also take my son with me when I help with the walking school bus program at Spotswood Elementary. Once I get to school, I lock my bike up, unfold his stroller and we are ready to go!
What is your favorite thing about your cargo bike?
My favorite thing is probably how much other people love the bike. I can’t go through a day without someone complimenting me on it or wanting to talk about it, so it is a great conversation starter. It’s also helping to inspire conversations about active transportation which is rewarding as a bicycling advocate. The bike is odd enough to catch people’s attention, but I try to make riding the bike seem easy so it is approachable.
Any advice for people interested in purchasing a cargo bike?
I’d say do it! If you have a place to park it conveniently and already ride a bike for transportation, you’ll love a cargo bike. It is so convenient and fun to ride on. If I had to keep only one bike, I would keep my cargo bike!
Kaspers Cargos – Buc Syski
Buc Syski resides in Silver Spring, Maryland and runs Kaspers Cargos, a charity organization that uses the proceeds from the sale of cargo bikes to help children with disabilities experience the joys of riding a bike.
Tell us a little about Kaspers Cargos please.
Kasper’s came into being because we do charity work with disabled kids and needed bikes that could carry kids around. We bring our cargo bikes to different events to make it possible for disabled kids to participate as bicycle pilots. The events range from charity rides raising money for cancer research to community bicycle events. Many of our volunteers are boy scouts who are always looking for more events and adventures.
Proceeds from each cargo bike Kasper’s Cargos sells go towards supporting our charity work. We are currently enjoying our 6th year. We don’t really try hard to sell these bikes, they sort of sell themselves along the way.
Where do you primarily work?
We’re in Silver Spring, Maryland but have volunteers and cargo bikes up and down the east coast — from Vermont to New York City to Florida. We try to be as close to children’s hospitals as we can.
What kind of bikes do you use?
We have been working with Larry Vs. Harry, Copenhagen, since they first started. Their Bullitt Cargos (which Matt has) are great and have big cargo baskets in the front which makes taking our VIP pilots around really easy.
What makes cargo bikes so special?
A cargo bike really makes the transition from a two-car family to a single-car or zero-car family much easier. It is also a great investment in your health. Instead of riding only for speed or fun, you also are riding to commute and will get much more done along your route. It is also a great way for families to spend more time together -these bikes are time machines. Even after children outgrow them, they can be used for hauling pets, groceries. and packages.
Any advice for those interested in buying a cargo bike?
Cargo bikes are coming down in price; as their cost fits into a family’s budget they may be more of a sensible option for people. There are many different brands on the market, almost all of which are a great start. Most quality cargo bikes hold their value should you decide to sell, as there are very few available for resale because in time these bicycles become a favorite of cyclists.