This article looks into cargo bikes and asks if they are the future?

Sean Benesh

This article comes off the back of a very interesting day I had with Michael Barratt at the Constructors Cycle Experience event on Thursday. This proved to be very eye opening. Two of the main things I learned were about the need to adapt cycle specific junctions to cope with the extra turning circle that cargo bikes require. The other was about the very real opportunities that cargo bikes provide for urban transportation and last mile logistics.

The quote below demonstrates exactly what last mile logistics is:

“Last mile delivery is defined as the movement of goods from a transportation hub to the final delivery destination. The final delivery destination is typically a personal residence. The focus of last mile logistics is to deliver items to the end user as fast as possible.”

The video below from DHL shows just how powerful an instrument cargo bikes can be when integrated into the logistics system of a large multinational.

The stats behind DHL’s use of bikes for last mile logistics are impressive. One bike replaces two vehicles, with bikes capable of carrying up to 125Kg. Interestingly, the bikes can make twice as many stops per hour as the vehicle. This shows why DHL is opting for this solution, it makes sense from an economic perspective as well as having environmental and CSR benefits.

The video below from DW News highlights how cargo bikes, particularly with the advent of electrification are also suitable for small businesses operating in urban environments.

It shows how transitioning from a van to a cargo E-bike is great for the wellbeing of the person cycling. The person can also save €180 in fuel costs by making this switch. There are still some drawbacks though, at €3,700 a cargo bike is more in the price range of a car than a bike. This may dissuade people from having a cargo bike for summer use as it may be an either-or purchasing decision. It is also important to point out that it is still a relatively niche market, but it will hopefully grow into a significant market in the future.

What you need to know

This article looked into cargo bikes.

We looked at what last mile logistics is.

We looked into examples from small operators and large multinationals which demonstrate the power of cargo bikes.

Cargo bikes are a viable option for last mile logistics. Even with a switch to electric delivery vehicles, you still encounter problems with traffic, parking and congestion charges. Bikes encounter none of these problems. Hopefully we see a greater variety of businesses choosing to make cargo bikes a core part of their operations.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done to encourage greater use of cargo bikes?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby



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