We love spotting the eye-catching business cargo bikes cycling around Cambridge’s streets and cycle paths. It’s clearly great for the environment that an increasing number of companies are choosing to make their deliveries with zero tail-pipe emissions, but as more businesses switch to cargo bikes, the city will also benefit in other ways. As the volume of traffic reduces, Cambridge will become a much nicer place to live, with less noise pollution and safer streets. But what are the benefits for the businesses themselves of switching to cargo bikes?
Over the past five months, Camcycle has interviewed many of Cambridgeshire’s cargo cycling ‘local heroes’ – businesses, families and other residents who choose to use a cargo bike for most of their daily journeys – in collaboration with Cambridgeshire County Council, as part of the City Changer Cargo Bike project. Take a look at our series of films featuring our local heroes and their wonderful cargo bikes.
Here’s what we learnt by talking to some of the companies that do business by cargo bike.
- It’s frequently faster to operate by cargo bike in Cambridge, especially if you are making deliveries into the city centre and/or travelling during peak times. You can rid yourself of the exasperation of sitting in stationary traffic, as it’s easy to zip past the queues in cycle lanes or opt for paths and streets where motor vehicle access is restricted. You can therefore get jobs done more quickly and get more done in a day.
- Drop-offs will be quicker and less stressful and always on time as it’s much simpler to find a spot to leave a cargo bike than park a van or car. You can often pull up right at your destination without impeding traffic, so once again you’re saving time and reducing uncertainty and frustration.
- Using cargo bikes will boost your company’s green credentials. If your business targets customers that value sustainability, you will increase your appeal, stand out better from the crowd and build a more powerful brand by choosing a climate-friendly, bike-based delivery method.
- You are much more approachable for new customers in the open air on a bike, than behind a door in a car or van. Riding at 15mph or less on quiet streets or cycle paths, it’s easy for passers-by to flag you down for a chat about your products or services. Can you imagine that happening if you were in a car or van?
- You could save money by operating by bike. Cargo bikes are cheaper to purchase than vans, then your running costs are also much lower as you do not need to buy fuel (you will spend a little on electricity if you choose an e-cargo bike).
Our local heroes were clear that operating by bike was the future for their businesses. Mike from Mike’s Bread says: “For me it was a good business decision to make the bike the choice of delivery option”. Steve from Bespoke Carpentry says: “After working like this for seven years, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way”. Camilla from The Cambridge Cheese Company explains: “Since using Zedify, we have never looked back”.
Inspired to find out more?
Information and inspiration about cargo bikes in Cambridgeshire can be found at camcycle.org.uk/cargobikes, including a specific page on cargo bikes for businesses. Find out more about Cambridge’s cargo cycling businesses in this Indie Cambridge blog post. The whole series of videos about Cambrideshire’s cargo cycling ‘local heroes’ can be viewed on our YouTube channel. Join our campaign to promote and celebrate cargo cycling by sharing your experiences online using the hashtag #LoveCargoBikes.
Interested in giving cargo cycling a go?
Outspoken Cycles is currently running an e-cargo bike Try Before You Buy Scheme, provided through the DfT eCargo Bike Grant Fund and supported by Horizon 2020 City Changer Cargo Bike and the Greater Cambridge Partnership. They have a range of e-cargo bikes for both businesses and families, and the scheme is an exciting opportunity to trial a cargo bicycle or tricycle to see how it can work for you over a longer period, before committing to buy.