The cargo bike is conquering urban transportation

Tired of being stuck in traffic jams every time you need to get around? In that case, have you ever considered the sustainable alternative offered by the cargo bike? Whether it's a bicycle or tricycle, with or without electric assistance, with a platform or cargo box, the various possible configurations allow this vehicle to adapt to everyone's needs.

Discover more about cargo bikes, including their cost, different models, and the opportunities they represent in a world filled with cars.

Le vélo-cargo, what is it?

The cargo bike, or cargo bike for our English-speaking friends, is a somewhat special bike that has a platform at the front or rear on which a load can be placed directly on the platform or in an open or closed box that is attached to it. The cargo bike is designed with a reinforced frame and can therefore carry much heavier loads than a traditional bike

There are several versions available for this type of transportation:

  • The two-wheel cargo bike: biporteur
  • The three-wheel cargo bike: triporteur
  • The longtail cargo bike

The cargobike, a bit of history...

Before discussing the origin of the cargobike, let's talk about its predecessor: the bicycle. The first pedal bicycles, called "vélocipèdes" at the time, appeared in the 1860s. Surprisingly, bicycles were initially reserved for the bourgeoisie seeking thrills. However, they experienced significant growth and quickly found their place among workers as an easy and fast means of transportation to get to work.

On its part, the three-wheeled cargobike, also known as a triporteur, was born in the Netherlands in the 1920s. It was developed to address the challenge of transporting goods that traditional bicycles couldn't handle. Very quickly, artisans and merchants started using this logistical method for local delivery of food products and other goods.

With the discovery of the combustion engine, the cargobike was gradually forgotten in favor of the car, which was larger and faster. It wasn't until the 1980s and 1990s that the triporteur was revived by a few environmentally conscious producers.

Did you know: In the United Kingdom, some bikes are still known as "butcher's bikes" or "baker's bikes" in honor of their initial use. However, this type of bike is now much more commonly used by postal services or for delivering goods.

Transporting cargo by cargo bike, some anecdotes

50% of deliveries by bike in Brussels

According to studies presented by Brussels Mobility, more than 50% of deliveries in the capital could be transported by cargo bike. Although this figure may seem surprising, it is nonetheless true. This would drastically reduce the CO2 emission rate in the city and also greatly decrease road traffic, thus reducing the time spent in traffic jams.

Japan, the King of Cargobikes

Japan is considered the most advanced country in cyclo-logistics. In 2014, the largest parcel delivery company in the country, Yamato, was delivering to its customers using around 5200 cargobikes. This feat was made possible thanks to the availability of storage spaces throughout the country.

Cargo bikes are taking over Copenhagen

In Denmark, a country already renowned as THE global capital of cycling (yes, even more so than in the Netherlands!), the use of cargo bikes has seen an incredible increase since the 2000s. In 2014, 25% of families in Copenhagen consisting of four people or more already owned a cargo bike to transport their children or some goods. In total, this amounted to 60,000 trikes navigating the streets of the Danish capital. So today, one can only imagine how many there are!

Cargo Bikes: For Whom, For What?

Perhaps you've already asked yourself: why would I need a cargo bike? Well, whether you're an individual or a professional, the cargo bike can help you.

More and more, families are favoring this sustainable mode of transportation for their short journeys: taking children to school or extracurricular activities, commuting to work, or simply going for a family stroll.

On their side, businesses and their couriers appreciate the maneuverability and compact size of the cargo bike to navigate through traffic and deliver their customers more quickly and sustainably during the final kilometers of a delivery.

Whether for personal or professional use, the choice of a cargo bike must be made based on several important factors.

  • The manufacturer of the cargo bike
  • The load to be transported
  • The size of the bike based on storage space
  • The maneuverability of the bike
  • The power of the electric assistance

After highlighting real and specific needs, choosing the model will be much simpler.

A cargo bike, how much does it cost?

The price of a cargo bike may sometimes seem excessive, but it's all a matter of perspective. Compared to a car, it's definitely worth considering. And while it's more expensive than a regular bike, the innovations it brings are well worth the price. Electric assistance, loading platform, extra wheel for balance are just some of the added values.

For a new cargo bike, expect to pay a minimum of €1,500. And if you opt for one or more of the additional options mentioned earlier, the price can quickly rise to €5,000 or more. In addition, there may be additional costs for training, maintenance, and insurance. So, while purchasing a cargo bike is a significant investment, it's far less than buying a car.

To address this, businesses can also rent the services of a sustainable logistics company to deliver their goods. These companies specialize in the transportation sector and offer specialized services to their clients at rates that are often cheaper than traditional truck delivery.

Request your free quote from Urbeez, the professional cargo bike delivery service in Brussels.

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