A New Breed of Cycle Courier: the Cargo Bike

If you were asked to think of two delivery options that are diametrically opposed to each other, you may well think of the traditional delivery truck versus the humble cycle courier.

At the one end you have a very large, engine-operated vehicle that can handle big, bulky loads, while at the other you have the bicycle which, while restricted to lightweight consignments, can deftly zip down narrow city streets and leaves behind no emissions. Each caters to very different requirements and their services have rarely overlapped – until now.

Photo: Adrian Usher/Outspoken Delivery

A new breed of cycle courier, labelled the ‘cargo bike’ is beginning to carve out a niche for itself delivering larger loads to inner city locations.

These impressive vehicles (and even more impressive riders!) can carry a weight of up to 400kg, with models ranging from two to four wheel designs.  Some even come with electric assistance for getting up hills, saving the rider a bit of effort (not to mention sweat), meaning that they can favour smart uniforms over the usual grubby lycra shorts.

Not only does this provide visibility for the company, but it also encourages responsible riding, as any recklessness can easily be reported back to HQ.

While the benefits of these cargo bikes are obvious for delivery jobs within the same city, another exciting potential use for them is for the final stages of longer-distance deliveries ending in inner city areas.

This possibility is being discussed at the annual summit of the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, and could prove popular with government and delivery companies alike as it would reduce fuel costs and harmful emissions.

So, unlikely as it may have seemed, the future could well see truckers and cyclists working in perfect harmony to further reduce the cost and environmental impact of deliveries. We say bring it on!