Benefits of Cargo Bikes : A Carry Me Bikes profile

London Cycling Campaign photographer Snapper Steve speaks to Alix, owner of social enterprise Carry Me Bikes and Kimberley, a customer using cargo bikes for running her market stall in Hackney.

Alix
"Carry Me Bikes is a social enterprise that I set up last year with the aim of replacing polluting car journeys with journeys by cargo bike. I decided to start the business in Hackney because there’s a lot of cycling here already. I think around 14 percent cycle to work now, which is pretty high for England and is easily the highest in London. As well as selling the bikes, I rent out my demonstration models to families, market traders and organisations at very reasonable rates.

The whole image of cycling is that you can’t carry much on a bike. For example, as people settle down and have families they often stop cycling because they don’t have a way of carrying the kids. In reality, a cargo bike can carry an awful lot; you can carry two or three children and you don’t have any parking problems. Even newborn babies can be carried using special baby carriers.

In the current climate there are a lot of businesses that are quite marginal and so are really keen to keep their costs down. Running a small van is expensive and you could replace it with an electric cargo bike instead. With a cargo bike you don’t have to pay for fuel, MOT or vehicle excise duty. You are also keeping yourself healthy and people notice you because riding a cargo bike is quite unusual.

I’m trying to persuade Hackney Council to support my market service, so I can keep it going longer and expand. I’d also like to be able to run a number of other projects to help families and businesses — for example I’ve been experimenting with using the bikes for a meals on wheels service."

 

Kimberley
"I’m a market trader at both Chatsworth Road Market and Netil Market and I use the cargo bikes for both. The two-wheeled bike is really easy to ride but the three-wheeled is a bit harder. I can carry four laundry bags in them — the equivalent of two decent suitcases. I couldn’t walk to Netil Market and without a cargo bike I would have to take a cab each way, which would mean that I couldn’t really afford to run my business at this market."

 

Are you using or offering cargo bikes in Hackney as well as other boroughs? Tell us in the comments below or email us info@lcc.org.uk 

This article first appeared in London Cyclist Oct/Nov 2012 magazine, delivered free to LCC members now on a quarterly basis.


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