around 60% of all trips in urban areas are related to the transport of goods (this astonishing number ranges from transports in large commercial lorries to simply transporting daily supplies home). By shifting goods under 500 kilograms to bicycles, cycle logistics will succeed in improving the quality of living in our cities considerably.
The term cycle logistics can refer to professional logistics like delivery services, waste collection or small trade services. This usually involves the use of cargo bicycles (2, 3 or 4-wheelers) and bicycle trailers. But at the same time it also refers to private logistics where regular bicycles, well equipped with baskets, panniers, trailers, etc. are used to transport shopping or leisure equipment. Within the European project CycleLogistics, all these areas of logistics by bike are addressed to make the advantages known throughout Europe. Looking at the potential for cycle logistics, it is evident that this approach is much more than a niche activity. 42% of all motorized trips in urban areas could be shifted to logistics by bicycle (this corresponds to 25% of all trips). Learn more about the topic of cycle logistics in this e-update. A detailed description about the potential can be found here.
Back to the future
Already in 1881 the first carrier cycle was used by the British Post Office. A few decades later, many shopkeepers used this type of bike to make local deliveries of bread, meat, milk etc. That is why these bikes are also called baker's bikes or butcher's bikes. Starting from the late 1920's the "Long John" appeared in the streets of Denmark. This bike had a load-carrying platform inserted between the saddle and the front wheel. Today this model is very popular and is known under the Dutch name bakfiets (read more on the history of cargo bikes on the CycleLogistics website).
It seems that since the last two decades cargo bikes are being rediscovered. Various models, able to transport up to 500 kilograms, and varying in price from 800 to 6000 euros, can be found on the market (see e.g. overview of 67 cargo bikes, the Freight bike inventory list of CycleLogistics and velotransport).