The cargo bike to conquer urban transport
Tired of being stuck in traffic jams every time you need to get around? If so, have you ever thought about a sustainable alternative like the cargo bike? Bicycle or tricycle, with or without electric assistance, with a loading platform or box,... the different possible arrangements allow this vehicle to adapt to needs of everyone.
Find out more about cargo bikes, their budget, the different models and the opportunities they represent in a world full of cars.
What is a cargo bike?
A cargo bike is a special kind of bicycle that has a platform at the front or back on which a load can be placed or an open or closed container that can be attached. The cargo bike is designed with a reinforced frame and therefore can carry much heavier objects than a traditional bike.
There are several versions for this type of transportation:
The extended bicycle
The cargobike, a little history....
Before we talk about the origins of the cargo bike, let's talk about its predecessor: the bicycle. The first pedal bicycles, called velocipedes at the time, appeared in the 1860s. As surprising as it may seem, bicycles were then reserved for the bourgeoisie looking for thrills. The bicycle grew in popularity and quickly found its place among workers as a quick and easy way to get to work.
The three-wheeled cargo bike, also known as a scooter, originated in the Netherlands in the 1920s. It was developed to solve the problem of transporting goods that the traditional bicycle could not. Soon artisans and shopkeepers began to use this logistical tool for local delivery of food and other goods.
With the discovery of the internal combustion engine, the cargo bike slowly faded into oblivion in favor of the larger and faster automobile. And it wasn't until the 1980s-1990s that the cargo bike was revived by a few environmentally conscious manufacturers.
Did you know: In the United Kingdom, some cargo bikes are still known as butcher's or baker's bikes, in honor of their original use. However, this type of bike is now much more commonly used by post offices or for delivering goods.
Transport by cargo bike, a few anecdotes
1. 50% of deliveries by bike in Brussels
According to studies conducted by Brussels Mobility, more than 50% of deliveries in the capital could be made by bike. Although this figure may seem surprising, it is nevertheless true. This would drastically reduce CO2 emissions in the city, but also road traffic and therefore time spent in traffic jams.
2. Japan, king of the cargobike
Japan is considered the most advanced country in the field of cyclo-logistics. In 2014, Yamato, the country's largest package delivery company, delivered to its customers using approximately 5,200 cargo bikes. This achievement was made possible by the provision of warehouses across the country.
3. Cargo bikes invade Copenhagen
In Denmark, a country already known as THE bicycle capital of the world (yes, much more than the Netherlands!), the use of cargo bikes has experienced incredible growth since the 2000s. In 2014, 25% of Copenhagen families of four or more people already owned a cargo bike to transport their children or certain goods. In total, this amounted to 60,000 navigable tricycles in the traffic of the Danish capital. So today we can only imagine how many there are!
The cargo bike: for whom, for what?
Maybe you have already asked yourself the question: why would I need a cargo bike? Well, whether you are an individual or a professional, the cargo bike can help.
More and more families are using this sustainable means of transportation for short trips: to take the kids to school or extracurricular activities, to go to work or just for a family ride.
For their part, companies and their couriers appreciate the cargo bike's maneuverability and small size to move between cars and deliver faster and more sustainably during the final miles of a delivery.
Whether for private or professional use, there are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a cargo bike.
The manufacturer of the cargo bike
The load to be transported
The size of the bike in accordance with the storage space
The maneuverability of the bicycle
The power of the electrical assistance
After you have made known your real and precise needs, the choice of the model will be all the easier.
How much does a cargo bike cost?
The price of a cargo bike can sometimes seem excessive, but it's all a matter of perspective. Compared to a car, it's clearly worth the detour. And although it costs more than a classic bike, the innovations are well worth the price. Electric assistance, charging platform, extra wheel for balance are just added values.
For a new cargo bike you should count on a minimum amount of 1,500 euros. And if you decide on one or more of the extra options mentioned above, the price can quickly reach €5,000. In addition, you may have to pay for training, maintenance and insurance. Buying a cargo bike remains a significant investment, even if it does not reach the level of a car.
To compensate, professionals can also choose to use a sustainable logistics company to deliver their goods. These companies specialize in the transportation sector and offer their customers specialized services at a rate that is always cheaper than that of a delivery by truck.
Request a free quote now from Urbeez, the professional delivery company in Brussels.