Need to take your dog somewhere? Transport your dog in a Tribe Cargo bike. Local Newcastle company Tribe Bikes launched a line of cargo bike with an optional Doggy Door last year. With a 100kg cargo box capacity, these bikes provide tons of options. You can leave the car at home and take your dog on an adventure by bike.
Tribe Bikes were inspired by Newcastle locals Nick Kalaf and Steve Bull’s personal struggles in getting around with two young kids each. Co-founder Nick Kalaf states “Getting around by car was stressful, whether it’s dealing with traffic, kids who didn’t want to get in the car or even just trying to get kids safely in and out of the car on busy streets. When we decided to adventure by foot, we were limited to our own suburb and we usually ended up carrying home at least one child once they had had enough. It just wasn’t fun and we knew there needed to be a better way. That’s when Tribe Bikes was born and we haven’t looked back.”
Tribe Bikes are available now through their website, priced from $1,990, with free delivery to east coast Australia. The non-electric version is priced at $1,990 and the electric version is $3,290. All bikes are delivered assembled, ready to ride and four cargo box colour options are available.
Thanks to Steve Bull for taking the time to answer questions about Tribe Bikes. He provides some background about the bikes as well as what’s next.
What are Tribe Bikes?
Tribe Bikes are 3 wheel cargo bikes designed for family fun! They allow you to carry up to 4 kids, 2 kids and a dog, a couple of dogs, or just a swag load of shopping.
How did you and Nick come up with the idea of starting your own cargo bike business?
We had both had our second children and were noticing how much it had slowed us down. Simple trips out in the car required a lot of planning and weren’t fun, and on foot we were limited to our own suburb. We’d seen cargo bikes of this nature in Europe but they just weren’t readily available in Australia and if you could find them they were the price of a small car. So we found a manufacturer and ordered a couple of prototypes, spent six months refining the design, and recently launched.
Why did you name it Tribe bikes?
Our motto is “Take your Tribe”. Your Tribe might be your kids, your grandkids, your pre-school or your dogs! We thought Tribe Bikes was the perfect name to explain what these bikes do best. Plus with ‘Tri’ in the name it references the 3 wheel nature of the bikes.
Do you have a background in bikes?
I’ve been tinkering with bikes since my early 20s, converting old 10-speed racers to commuters, mountain biking and road riding. I tell my wife the perfect number of bikes to own is N+1, where N = the number of bikes you currently own. When I lived in Sydney I worked for a large bank and ran their program to get more people commuting by bike to work. I love seeing more people on bikes! I also have some family who are bike mechanics, who we’ve been able to call on for a few favours as we start up.
What kinds of things can you carry in a Tribe Bike?
The cargo box has 100kg weight capacity, so there’s not a lot you can’t carry in it! There are two benches, with four seatbelts. However, the bench seats can easily be removed to carry other things and you can also transport dogs.
We’ve been surprised at how many dog owners have been our first purchasers. We had a lady from Carrington want to easily get her dog to Horseshoe Beach, and another couple from the Central Coast who have old arthritic dogs that they still want to get out and about.
We launched a front door, the Doggy Door to allow dogs to easily get in and out when we saw how popular the bikes were for dog owners. Around 25% of our sales are to dog owners these days.
What other accessories suit dog owners?
We also sell ‘dog rings‘, essentially an eye bolt that a dog lead can be clipped to. A lot of the other accessories are also well suited to dog owners, eg the rubber floor mat makes it easy to clean out dog hair, the sun shade keeps dogs out of the heat and the rain cover keeps them out of the rain!
Are there any restrictions in where you can ride a cargo bike?
You can ride a cargo bike wherever you can ride a regular bike. A common misconception is that you can only ride these bikes on cycleways. This is false, it’s perfectly legal and safe to ride on the roads. Of course we recommend practicing common sense and avoiding busy roads where possible, particularly when you are carrying children.
What is the difference between the electric and non-electric bike?
The electric version of the bike includes a 250w motor. It has a torque sensor in the crank which like magic senses when it needs to give you an extra push. It is by far the most popular model we offer, as a fully loaded cargo bike is heavy, and it’s nice to be able to hit some hills or just have an extra push helping you get started. You can get up to 50 kilometres out of a charge. The non electric version is still great if you’re predominantly riding flat cycleways, once you are up and going it pedals easy on the flat.
What has the response been from people when they see you out and about in a Tribe Bike?
They are such a unique bike that we feel like local celebrities. The bikes certainly turn heads, and it is usually followed by a big smile when people see us. It also helps us feel much safer on the roads as the bikes are so noticeable, people will generally give you a wider berth when overtaking.
How can people learn more about a Tribe Bike? Can they test-drive one?
We’ve got heaps of information on the Tribe Bikes website. We are offering test rides regularly in at Honeysuckle. If you are interested in coming along to the next test ride, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Socials.
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