Get your cargo anywhere by bike

Over the centuries, the cargo bike lost popularity and cars took over the role of carrying goods. Nowadays there is a comeback of cargo bikes, also made possible by e-support systems. Thanks to these e-support systems, it is way easier to carry heavy goods on a bike and ride longer without getting too tired. Companies are getting more and more creative in the use of a cargo bike as we see for example in the Netherlands.

On a sunny day in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, children are running around happily while parents buy them an ice cream. This does not happen at a regular ice car but at a cargo bike, turned into a real ice cream stall done by the Dutch company “De IJsfiets”. They make use of the Butchers & Bicycles tricycle with a tilting system in front. When steering and moving the rider’s weight while biking, the bike will tilt. The tilting bars and dampers support the bike while tilting and leveling up. In the end one rides on a 3-wheeled bike that feels like a 2-wheeled one, without the disadvantages of a tricycle such as the chance to fall over or less balance in fast and tight corners.

Another way to carry around goods is with a cargo trike, like one of the Tenders of Urban Arrow. This Amsterdam-based company is investing in the development of new kinds of cargo bikes. They recently added two new tricycles to their cargo bike fleet. The first one is the Tender 1500, which is the smallest of the Tender-series, and can carry up to 300 kg of cargo. It’s bigger brother is the Tender 2500. This model has the same capacity, but is more spacious . Thanks to its bike-weight and the front wheel steering, the Tender does not tend to fall over in corners. Urban Arrow developed a universal rear-frame for all their bikes and added a completely new front frame designed with car and motorcycle parts like brakes, wheels, steering parts and suspension. The new front frame is made from tough aluminum beams and designed to take all kinds of load. On special request, they even develop a unique model for your company like they did for the Dutch convenience store Albert Heijn. Groceries are brought home by cargo bikes in Amsterdam nowadays. This happened already over a decade ago. Early freight bikes were used to deliver mail but tradesman also brought bread, milk and meat by bike. They used heavy carriers on the front or back, the so known butcher’s bikes. Pioneers of the bicycle-delivered service were the Post Office in the UK. It was Pashley Cycles who started in 1926 and changed the way of transport of food and mail. Soon people also started to carry children and even dogs by bike.

Faster & greener deliveries

An example of a delivery company that challenges itself  to lower the overall car costs and to make the door-to-door delivery faster and greener in cities, is the German company DHL. They use a newly developed four-wheeled transport bike. An impressive creation with the driver in front of the bike, two steering wheels in the front and two electric and human powered rear wheels. All four wheels have independent and adjustable suspensions and the braking is done by four hydraulic disc brakes. The driver who sits in a comfort chair, pedals with his legs in front of him and the steering bar is underneath his seat. The bike’s design makes it possible to add or remove a cargo container. The moment the driver delivered all the packages from his cargo container, he drives to a mobile distribution  point and with great ease he switches the empty cargo container for a full one and continues his deliveries.

Functional & sexy

We have mentioned the 3-wheeled and 4-wheeled cargo bikes, but what about the 2-wheeled ones? You might have heard of a Long John. A type of cargo bike with a big freight platform between the handle bar and front wheel. Larry vs Harry based their Bullitt design on the principles of this classic Danish Long John. It was their master plan to build a bike that could replace much of the functions of a car in the city, but would also be a desirable object. The Bullitt had to be much more than just functional: it had to be sexy. And they managed to do so. We would describe it as a bike with female forms, more round, sexier.

Innovations and the future

Of course, there are many more types of cargo bikes and the bicycle industry keeps on developing and innovating with the environment in mind. More brands will follow on the market, but also new solutions and techniques will be expected soon. To experience and to get to know the newest features a visit to the International Cargo Bike Festival 2018 would be a good idea. The next edition will take place on April 14th & 15th in Berlin, including a marketplace for nonprofit cargo bike initiatives, a cargo bike parade and the spring edition of the international Berlin cargo bike race. In short, the exhibition where visitors, users, designers, manufacturers, DIY-builders and retailers of cargo bikes meet and inspire each other.

Nice to know: Many local governments are familiar with the advantages of cargo bikes for the distribution of goods in their cities. Therefore, a financial contribution could be possible, depending on where your company is situated . Feel free to ask locally to discover the possible support.

Text by: Fietscontent (fietscontent.nl)