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Could Cargo Bikes Become the New Minivans for Chicago Parents?

By Paul Biasco | July 30, 2014 8:14am
Alt-Cycle Shop Comes to Lincoln Park
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DNAinfo/Kyla Gardner

LINCOLN PARK — Lincoln Park's newest bike shop is on a mission to end the need for cars.

Alt Cycle, which opened this summer at 2500 N. Halsted St., was the result of a few beers between brothers at a crossroads in their lives, according to Damon Doerschuk.

"I've always been fanatic about transportation on two wheels and alternative transportation," Doerschuk said. "One thing led to another. I rode a cargo bike for a while and just loved it and felt like I could sell them."

The shop sells a wide variety of cargo bikes, which can haul everything from groceries to people. The bikes can be outfitted with seats, bins — even trailers.

The shop also sells electric bikes, which are meant for longer trips or just a way to make the ride less strenuous.

Paul Biasco rode on an electric bike, and says it was a very interesting experience:

The shop sells two main types of cargo bikes, American and Dutch versions.

The American version puts the cargo in the back, on an elongated board above the back wheel, while the Dutch version features a platform in front of the cyclist.

Both are ideal for transporting children, pets or any object that needs moving, according to Doerschuk.

Doerschuk, a 37-year-old North Center resident, said he often rides with his two children, both under 5 years old, on the front of his cargo bike, and they love it.

"It's my minivan," he said.

The shop also offers an electric assist for the cargo bikes that gives riders help while pedaling up to 20 miles per hour.

"For a lot of people, it brings cycling back into the realm of possibility in terms of getting around the city and getting them out of a car," Doerschuk said. 

Lakeview resident Richard Kessler brought his 4-year-old electric bike into the shop for a complete revamp.

Kessler, who is in his 60s, said he plans on using the bike to get around the neighborhood and get exercise with his dogs.

He also plans on ditching the car for a trip Downtown someday soon, he said.

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