On episode 47 of the road.cc Podcast, we’re joined by Chris Dixon, co-founder and director of training at the cargo bike logistics company Pedal Me, to talk all things cargo bike. Inspired by a column from a certain British broadcast and writer claiming modern cargo bikes costing in the region of £4,000 are “pedalled by (obviously) affluent parents”, we take a deep dive into the world of cargo bikes for both personal use and business.
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In recent years, Pedal Me has built a solid reputation in London for delivering unthinkable loads by electric cargo bike: fridges, beer kegs, bricks, house moves... you name it, Pedal Me will probably have moved it across the capital.
But... isn't this just posturing, and a flex to prove people wrong who argue that vehicles like vans and trucks are essential for tradespeople/anyone who wants to move stuff? While demonstrating their ability to move huge loads might be more of a promotional activity on Pedal Me's popular social media pages, Chris explains that the cargo bike can genuinely be a faster, cheaper and more efficient solution to move smaller loads in tight urban areas, and it's certainly not just showing off:
"By commercialising the cargo bike, you go a long way to normalising things. If it makes money it makes sense. If you can convince people in that way, then it becomes less of a social choice and more of an economic one.
"You can use a cargo bike for the same outcome, get it done more quickly... and then you've also done it in a far more environmentally-friendly fashion.
"What we need to do is remove the perception that for single items, or two or three, that the van is the most environmental and economic solution. They're not."
If you want to buy a cargo bike for personal use, there's also the issue of having somewhere to store it, which is touted as a potential reason for the link between cargo bikes and only the wealthy owning them, because a large space is needed to store one; but as Chris says, cargo bikes don't have to be massive. There are plenty of two-wheeled cargo solutions that take up reasonably little space, even folding cargo bikes, and on-street cycle storage solutions like bike hangars.
Chris sums up better than we ever could: "Adrian, you're wrong!
"You've got a bike that handles like a normal bike and carries an awful lot of stuff, that isn't a supplementary to your car. It's a replacement for it."
For our second segment, George and Jack are joined by Ryan from the road.cc news team to break down our biggest story of the year so far, about a cyclist stopped by the police during a foggy climb on the Isle of Man. Were the police acting on reports of genuine concern for the cyclist’s welfare? Shouldn’t people just drive more carefully? What can we learn from all this? It’s a story that certainly got people talking!
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Top marks Granny. Great work
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