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Published on January 12th, 2015 | by Cynthia Shahan

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Cargo Bikes Breaking Thru Everywhere, Even Department Stores In The UK

January 12th, 2015 by  


The Danish and the Dutch are at the forefront of serious bicyclists — mom, pop, grandma, grandpa, grandchildren, and the whole family bikes. The European Cycle Logistics Federation (ECLF) even reports that a quarter of families with two children in Copenhagen own cargo bikes.

The use and sales of cargo bikes are on an incline in these countries. Well, they are in the US as well — we just don’t have nearly the market penetration. Still, UPS, in some US states, has started using cargo bikes to save money, to save the environment, and to operate with more flexibility during the holiday season. Whole Foods is using cargo bikes for transport in Brooklyn, NYC. And many families are starting to use cargo bikes.

Cargo bikes are revitalizing cities in Germany as well — as the country’s companies get serious to offset city congestion and pollution. The revitalization and staying power of the cargo bike is growing, and the latest sign of that is that a popular department store in the UK now sells them.

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John Lewis, a well-known UK department store, now has a brand-name cargo bike — the Johnny Loco Dutch Delight E Cargo Bike.

The BBC points out, “From Portland, Seattle and Vancouver to Toronto, Boston and New York and points in between, urban businesses and residents are discovering what European and Asian city-dwellers have known for years: cargo bikes make sense, whether used to deliver goods through traffic-choked streets, lug kids to a park or buy groceries.”

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BBC adds that Portland’s B-Line bikes have, in 5 years, gone 88,000 miles and avoided 80 tonnes of carbon emissions. So many ways to cut emissions, save money, and feel good thanks to the cargo bike.

“Cykling uden alder,” or “Cycling Without Age,” also showed how cargo bikes can be used to get the most elderly of citizens some good fresh air. It is one of the most inspiring uses found for cargo bikes. Making a difference in someone’s life and adding to the quality of life in the elderly with a ride in the fresh air is truly heartwarming.

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What is the cost of the car-centric society? What lifestyle reconnects us to our life and happily nudges our vital force? Why does the cargo bike lifestyle makes people so intensely happy? Find out some of the answers to these questions watching the following video.

Photo Credits: UPS; Henriette Friis (via Cykling uden alder); B-Line; B-Line; B-Line

Related Stories:

Cargo Bike Documentary is Crowdsourced and Crowdfunded

UPS Drivers Using Bikes to Deliver Packages This Christmas. I Seen it Wit Me Own Two Eyes

Cargo Bike Trend Taking Off, Displacing Cars And Trucks


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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan is an organic farmer, licensed AP, anthropologist, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.



  • Colors

    I wish my area was friendlier to bicyclists. I pull my daughters in a trailer when i can, but the roads are not well set up for it and motorists are often uninformed.
    The mayor of our city has said that he wishes bicyclists could be ticketed for using the roads.

    • signalfire1

      The mayor of your city should be ticketed for not using his brain…

  • Wonderful article and video, Cynthia! Thanks.

  • Rtfa Zeberdee

    I like the idea but they would be pain the arse in London (or any old city), the old streets are too narrow. we already have cycle rickshaws and they really screw up the traffic. You’d have to ban all motor vehicles with more than 3 wheels.

    • Kiwiiano

      We may yet see a ban on all vehicles with 4 wheels. They are the BIG problem, after all.

      • Greendogo

        No, that would kill the ability to transport larger amounts of products or people. The vehicle economy is here to stay.

        • Kiwiiano

          Clearly cargo and service vehicles would have to stay and we encourage buses, but it’s the huge numbers of 2 ton behemoths with a solitary driver that have to go.
          The last century of unbridled luxury derived from cheap fossil energy & unrestricted pillaging of the Earth’s resources has got to stop….well it will anyway. “The only folk who believe in infinite growth on a finite planet are dribbling idiots and economists.”

    • signalfire1

      How about banning 4 wheeled vehicles on every OTHER street? The amount of traffic choosing to change over to trikes or bikes would lower the other traffic amounts, and the still-resulting traffic jams in 4-wheel world would encourage the switch-over. I think all freeways should have one lane that’s set aside for bicycles, tricycles and buses, if it can be made safe.

  • Dragon

    I’ve gotta assume any of the ones with larger trailers have electric drive or you’d never get them up much of an incline. Speaking of which, electric motors and batteries have gotten to the point you can electrify your standard bike for $400-$1000. Cheapest method involves replacing a tire with a new tire containing a built-in motor. But you lose the gearing that way, so if you live in a hilly area (like me) you have to spring for a motor that replaces the pedals so it works with the gears. I’m probably going to give the Befang BBS02 750W mid drive motor a try at some point.

    • “…But you lose the gearing that way,…” Not really, because such kits still contain the mount for an external gear cassette group, just like on most bikes. The BIONX motor is a perfect and popular example – internal 250W hub motor and external rear gear cassette group.

  • Martin

    Do any of these have electric back up?
    Also the UPS one could have a solar roof and e-back up.,

    • Dolan Halbrook

      The B-Line bikes have an electric assist. The gearing would have to be absurdly low otherwise to carry any significant amount.

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