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SMART CONSUMER: 'My cargo bike's no lightweight on the long and heavy haul'

Dublin artist Liam Daly (aka Eolai) manages to live without a car -- thanks to his cargo bike. He reckons he saves at least €50 a week over running a car -- or about €90 a week if he used taxis -- to carry the loads he regularly hauls.

His bike is capable of carrying huge loads comfortably, and was the obvious choice when he started to look for a cargo-type bike while living in the US in 2005.

"I needed something that could comfortably carry my nine-year-old son eight miles to his school; get the weekly groceries, including a 10kg bag of dog food; accommodate canvases, frames, and art materials; take parcelled paintings to the post office; transport my dog to places beyond walking distance and hold American-sized loads of laundry," he said. Specially designed cargo bikes are expensive, but Liam found a kit called an Xtracycle Freeradical that ingeniously converted his standard bike into a cargo bike. It costs about €500.

He brought it home to Dublin two years later and uses it every day. "Mostly it's just a bike that I cycle around, but it fulfils all my needs, and when I find myself needing to buy a Christmas tree, a flat-packed foosball game, or a couple of large pumpkins for carving at Halloween, I don't need to ask for help from a friend with a car."

Liam is also about to do a "painting cycle tour of Ireland" in July and August. See bicyclistic.com for details.

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