What’s the biggest thing you’ve carried by bicycle?

Best cargo bikes

With the exception of child seats, few of us here in Britain use bicycles as a way of carrying stuff of any size. By contrast, cyclists elsewhere in the world are dab hands at lashing all manner of cargo to bog-standard bikes.

Adding luggage racks makes things a whole lot easier – elevating the humble bicycle into a veritable workhorse. And E-bike technology has been transformative; 200kg+ loads are now a thing. In practical terms, it means bringing home a weekly grocery shop or carting three or four kids to school needn’t involve a car.

It’s the reason a widespread uptake of cargo e-bikes could have a transformative effect on city life. Imagine school run congestion, and its associated road danger, replaced with a procession of sturdy bikes – their cargo boxes brimming with kids. It’s a sight that’s commonplace in The Netherlands and one that’s undoubtedly inspiring pockets of cargo e-bike early adopters in UK towns and cities. If you’re one of these trailblazers, we applaud you.

utility cycling, cargo bike,

DIY cargo bike – Who needs a side stand anyway?

The appeal of the cargo e-bike goes far beyond the school run. Surely there’s no better metaphor for the helplessness of heavily congested cities than the sight of broken-down cars being rescued by mechanics on cargo bicycles.

Following a successful trial in Berlin and Cologne, breakdown company ADAC found electric bicycles towing trailers equipped with 70KG of tools was quicker through dense traffic than its fleet of vans.

ADAC bicycle breakdown

What’s the biggest or most unusual thing you’ve carried by bike?

Let us know below. There’ll be a mystery prize on the way to the best submission.

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Insurance for e-bikes

We cover all road-legal electric bicycles cargo e-bikes as standard. If the output of your electric bicycle does not exceed 250 W/15.5 mph, we’ll cover it under our cycle insurance at no additional cost. in fact, we’ll give you 20% off.

We also include Cycle Rescue as standard. If your e-bike develops a mechanical fault, you can call on our breakdown team 24/7.

Every cycle insurance policy of ours includes the following as standard:

• Theft, accidental damage & vandalism
• E-bike battery theft cover
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  1. Richard


    It’s not quite carrying, but I often tow a bike by dropping the front wheel into the pannier on my long tail Ebike. The largest I’ve towed is my Whike. I also use that bike for carting two 7-8 year old children, and sometimes squeezed on a third. Oh, and last but one time we moved we borrowed a cargo trike. That took around 6 suitcase equivalents per trip. Moving took six journeys, but it was only a couple of miles.

  2. Richard E


    I once bought a 15 ft double-extending aluminium ladder at Maidstone market and cycled home up the main road with it under my arm. (length-wise rather than width-wise of course).

  3. John Darby


    I love a challenge, so if I think I can carry something on a bike I’ll give it a go. The biggest thing I’ve carried is a door, but I have also ridden home with various items of tree surgery and gardening equipment, including a chainsaw, hedge cutter and a rake. I have a very useful waterproof cover that goes over the small backpack I take to work and it holds a remarkable variety of things including potted plants and work boots. The sense of achievement when I get to home or work with everything (including myself) in tact is palpable.

  4. Tim


    Not me, but when I lived in Uganda I saw bicycles being basically used as vans. Typically huge piles of produce from taken to market. I’ve seen an entire 3-peice suite on a bike, wheeled not ridden! Sofa balanced on seat and handlebars, armchairs on top. All the bikes were tradtitional style, like Heros.

  5. vincent williams


    gas bottle, not proud but needs must. and a trip to the tip. I don’t like a challenge as a pensioner Thanks.

  6. David


    One large car battery (for a diesel car). Not so gobsmacking as some on here (intrigued by Joh Darby’s door). But strapped onto the rack, it did have quite an impact on the balance. Needless to say, not keen for a repeat!

  7. John W


    Actually on the bike and pedaling, a 25kg bag of gravel on the rear carrier.
    On the bike and walking, several long heavy pieces of wood.
    In the bike trailer (an old Burley), two 25kg bags of gravel; 50kg is max allowable.

  8. Jen


    My partner and I carried several small trees in pots from my backyard to my allotment, and between allotments as we moved from one to another (a few journeys, 9 trees in total, two cherries, two pears, two apples, a peach, a damson and a fig) At one point we cycled through the park with a couple of dwarf apple trees, attracting some confused looks.

    We also took my old living room floor (floorboards and joists) in pieces to the tip using bike trailers.

  9. Tim Hogan


    Back in the seventies, I regularly towed my canoe (a 17′ 6″ touring kayak) to my local river. I even had a hand painted “Long Vehicle” sign that clipped into the rear safety line mount with a cunningly crafted qr bracket. And on a couple of occasions we took the train from Welwyn to Biggleswade or Cambridge, but we still had Guard’s Vans then..

    The trailer was built around a roof rack mount “V Bar” with the wheels and heavily modified chassis from the remains of an old pushchair.

    We got pulled over by the local constabulary on more than one occasion and the conversation would typically run along the following lines.

    Constable: Afternoon sir, is this your vehicle?
    Me: yes officer.
    C: Where are you going?
    Me: To/from the river/home.
    C: You can’t do that, it’s not allowed.
    Me: Yes I can, where does it say I can’t tow my boat with my bicycle.
    C: Well you can’t tow behind a motorcycle
    Me: But I’m not riding a motorcycle.

    It was usually around this point, the constable would radio just Sergeant for advice, before wishing md well and advising me to be careful, especially at the junctions…

    These days, it’s just the groceries, in a fancy German made trailer with a wooden flatbed, although I’m planning to test our new Domestic Waste Recycling Centre soon, to see what their reaction will be to someone not coming by car (pedestrians are specifically forbidden, but they don’t actually say anything about bicycles 😁)

  10. Richard Luff


    Now back in the 90s when I rode a Kawasaki GT750 motorcycle, I managed to blow up the engine. Trying to do things on the cheap and trying to do the main work or motorcycle repair myself meant taking the engine apart to detach the engine cylinder block. The cheapest place I could find to do a rebore of the engine was about 3 miles away. Being something of a mountaineer I had a Karrimor 80-100 litre rucksack which was very robust with great straps hip belt and all. It was not easy to cycle the 3 miles to the rebore workshop with 65kg of motorcycle engine strapped on my back on my push bike but I got there and collected the engine after some days also cycling back. Cycling with another push bike bungeed to my back was no real challenge after that.

  11. Arnold


    40+ years ago brought home an ironing board on bike, then carried 3metre length of plastic gutter home fortunately not far as bloody awkward.
    8yrs ago tied large 8×3”2mtr long to both sides of bike steel Trek 520D touring bike wood was for burning in stove that journey was Apex.

    Recently carried 2 mtr lengths of cold water overflow pipes to make a stand to display pictures of activity’s Chester Cycle Campaign been doing At exhibitions it’s Called “thingy”.

  12. Pete Clark


    I used to go fishing with a 12ft rod on my bike and my tackle bag slung over my back. I used to pretend I was a knight jousting with a lance!

  13. Mags


    Cycling in Hungary and visiting the local market, I saw a farmer who had just bought three (live) piglets. They were bundled into a sack and fastened onto the back carrier of his ancient bike!
    Bit I’ve carried nothing more unusual than the standard camping gear, with two rear panniers, two front panniers, handlebar bag, tent and bedding roll, along with 3 water bottles, across three continents.

  14. TD


    A high chair
    Tall pot plants – upright in paniers either side of the carrier
    A few more…..needs must!

  15. Mark Kuramoto-Headey


    When living in Indonesia, I would see all sorts carried on bikes. I well remember a bloke with 2 sheep, slung like panniers over the rear carrier.

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