Bike couriers are a familiar sight in big cities around the world, and now transport services are also switching to two wheels.
Companies are starting to deliver orders weighing up to 150 kilograms by bike, says Wasilis von Rauch, chairman of the German Motor Club.
The motor club focuses on environmentally friendly mobility, which includes cargo bikes. They’re great for heavy loads, says von Rauch, adding: “There’s no longer any reason to take a car to the store.”
Cargo bikes are not only environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral, they also often help you save on time. For example, the tedious task of looking for parking in the city centre is no longer required.
“We can do 12 deliveries in an hour, compared with only three to four when driving a big truck,” says Torsten Fauser, the managing director of the Velocarrier bike courier company.
The logistics company DPD has confirmed the increase in productivity that cargo bikes bring compared with conventional delivery vehicles. In a pilot project in the southern German city of Nuremberg, more than 5,000 parcels were delivered by cargo bikes since December 2016. Each bike has space for up to 80 packages.
Manufacturers have embraced the cargo bike trend and are coming up with a range of new models. The load bike, also known as a Long John, has a low cargo area between the handlebar and the front wheel. The steering is transferred to the handlebars via a rod or cable.
Driving a cargo bike for the first time can feel odd. The Long John in particular has a large turning radius. The three-wheel models are also quite responsive, making it an easy transition for those used to riding with only two tires. “Once you get going, you will be very comfortable with the cargo bike,” explains expert Colin Poestgens from UrbanShift, a project dedicated to sustainable transport.
More and more cargo bikes also come with an electric motor. “Long distances are no longer an issue,” says Wolfgang Stallmann from a German cyclists association. “It makes it possible to cycle 100 kilometers in one day.”