CARGO BIKE INDUSTRY MEETS UP DIGITALLY - THE TRENDS

The Cargo Area industry get-together at EUROBIKE 2020 originally planned to hold four discussion panels. As the show was cancelled due to all-too familiar reasons, cargobike.jetzt and CityChangerCargobike decided to organise the first-ever digital Cargobike Academy at the end of November instead. More than 150 participants followed the proceedings. On the agenda were topics such as “Cargo Bike Sharing” and “Cargo Bike plus Passenger”.

Currently, there are more than 100 sharing services for cargo bikes on offer in Germany, around 70 in Switzerland and six in Austria, and the trend is rising – as is the interest in cargo bikes on the whole. “We saw a significant rise in the length of hire period for our bikes in 2020”, reports Mirjam Stawicki of carvelo2go in Switzerland. Cyclists were reportedly hiring out one of the 330 Carvelos mainly for shopping and transporting children.

Forty per cent of users indicated that they were completing journeys with the cargo bike that they would normally have travelled by car.

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“After just three years of operation, the figures for users and usage have exceeded all expectations.”

Judith Wehr of the pilot project Transportrad Initiative Nachhaltiger Kommunen (the transport bike initiative of sustainable municipalities or Tink for short) presents similar figures for Germany. People hiring their bikes, who have access a total of 26 bikes in Konstanz and Norderstedt, would have otherwise used their cars for almost half of the routes covered by bike. The other statistics speak for themselves too. “After just three years of operation, the figures for users and usage have exceeded all expectations”, says Wehr. Both cities are now continuing the project that was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure from their own funds. In other cities, Tink is setting up a network of transport hire systems and is supporting and advising transport operators and municipalities. “Some of the issues we are dealing with at present include the development of open-source booking platforms and the prevention of vandalism”, Wehr continues.

With his start-up company sigo, Tobias Lochen is offering a fully automated e-cargo bike rental system in eleven cities in Germany. For the start-up founder from Darmstadt, “prevention of vandalism” means that both the bikes and the automatic charging stations are particularly sturdy. This is why components on their bikes have been reduced to the absolute essentials. And because Lochen wants to make it “super easy” for customers and to spread the “fun and joy of riding”. What he finds especially interesting is: “People cycle to our stations in order to hire out an e-cargo bike. This is something that should be taken into account when setting up additional stations.”

 

“There is a lot of upside potential in the cargo bike sector.”

On the “Passenger and Cargo” panel, the subject was also fun and a completely new riding sensation with the four-wheel pedelec “Bio-Hybrid”, as presented by Jochen Elster, the Bio-Hybrid Sales Manager. “You enjoy a completely different experience of riding”, explains Elster, who like everyone in the sector is delighted by the new legal certainty that now applies to passenger transport. Since April 2020, the amendment to the German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO) has made it permissible to transport passengers above the age of six, provided the cycle has been constructed and equipped for the purpose. The Bio-Hybrid looks like a large pedal car or even a small conventional car and, depending on the design, targets food delivery services, commuters and in fact anyone who wishes to experience mobility in a new way.

 

Fun to ride, spacious, no more parking problems – the four-wheel cargo bike Noca aims to offer all of these benefits too, as Christoph Neye of Motion Lab Berlin demonstrated with their prototype. “We have transferred the SUV principle to the bicycle”, explains Neye. “Not as the only mobility solution but as an additional option.” Here’s how he sums up the situation: “The technology and the resources are available. There is a lot of upside potential in the cargo bike sector.”