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Victoria cargo e-bike company ready to change how families get around town

Jensen brothers’ Baere Bikes inspired by cycling-loving, former Oak Bay mayor dad
Baere Bikes co-founder Nicholas Jensen with one of his company’s electric cargo bikes on Oak Bay Avenue. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)

Nils Jensen, then-mayor of Oak Bay, kindly commandeered a resident’s bike and began riding it along the Tea Party Parade route, while a kid from the community sat in the bike’s cargo box and tossed candy to the crowd.

It’s a fond memory for Nicholas Jensen, and one of many that included a bike, thanks to his late father.

Vacations growing up meant loading the family bikes into boxes, crossing the Atlantic and spinning their way around cycling culture meccas like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, his father’s birthplace. It was in those cities where Jensen saw people cruising around on cargo bikes everywhere they went.

That and his father’s passed-down passion for cycling helped inspire Baere Bikes, the electric cargo bike company launched by Jensen, his brother Stewart, and Killian Lannen. With some models running close to $10,000, they’re providing a version for less than half that price to get more on the road.

“We wanted to come up with a product for families,” said Nicholas Jensen, a Fairfield resident. “A cargo bike shouldn’t cost as much as a used car.”

Despite North America’s car-centric society, Jensen sees a shift to the bike happening and few places are more set up for such a move than Victoria – with its relatively small size, weather that allows for year-round cycling and an ever-expanding bike lane network.

“Victoria is really a perfect city for this.”

READ: Record-high gas prices drive Sooke commuters toward e-bikes

Baere wants to see its two- and four-seater bikes, with a cargo bed ready to handle groceries, the kids or the family pets, change the way people get around town. Many are also rethinking their car use as gas prices soar and with people around Victoria caring deeply about climate change, Jensen said.

But Baere Bikes could help families in other ways, he said, citing a recent chat with a Victoria father of three who said wrangling the kids and situating them in the car is a journey of its own.

“He told me, ‘I’m looking for something like (a cargo bike) where I can get them in and out a lot quicker.’”

The cargo bikes can help turn a boring drive to the grocery store into a fun outing where the family gets some quality time together, saves some money on fuel and reduces pollution from car trips, Jensen said. His own daughter loves their cycles to Grandma’s house as she gifts every passerby with a wave from the cargo box.

Those trips are also a reminder of a family tradition coming full circle.

“Biking in our family was always kind of like a way to spend time together.”

Baere Bikes is focused on the Victoria and Seattle markets for now. The bikes are delivered fully assembled after being ordered online and test rides can be arranged through its website.

READ: District of Saanich will pay up to $1,600 per household in e-bike rebates

Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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