Bike To The Future – The Resurgence Of The Cargo Bike

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Here at Mango Logistics Group, we pride ourselves on being one of the innovators in implementing green logistics in our everyday business. In this modern age of ever rising environmental awareness, where ‘living sustainably’ has become the new sexy, we have been paving the way long before it was fashionable. But please be advised that starting to go green at any stage is a massive achievement. If you have decided to go green for the future of this planet, you are now one of the good guys. If you re-use your old shopping bags, you’re super cool. And if you buy organically to save on unnecessary plastic waste, then everybody wants to sit at your lunch table, and rightly so. Good for you.

Emissions play a massive part in the extremely worrying and ever advancing case of Climate Change, and the burning of fossil fuels is scientifically proven, without any questionable doubt, the number one cause to date. Idling cars in never ending traffic, in overly congested cities, for hours on end are certainly doing no favours to the future of the o-zone layer, that’s for sure.

As the old saying goes; you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, but, seemingly, you do not have to. It appears one already had the answer to many modern-day problems. One that was born, right here in rainy old England, 134 years ago. And that old dog, is the Cargo Bike.

Invented in 1877 by James Stanley, the Cargo Bike (or box bike, as it was originally known) was a trike-like, 3 wheeled design with a box at forefront of the vehicle. Made from solid metal, the original design may well have been heavy, clumpy and very difficult to ride, but 11 years later in 1888, the addition of a chain, and tyres, to the design gave the driver the comfort of being seated more centrally, with more freedom to use the legs as pistons, thereby making the cycling experience far easier, and enjoyable, paving the way for the very modern Cargo Bike designs of today.

Although created right here in England, it made it’s name most famously in Europe, namely on the canal sides of Amsterdam, where it’s small and nifty design was far easier and efficient in navigating the limited amount of space available in smaller parts of the city. This was soon adopted by Copenhagen, and then Berlin, and very soon after, they were popular in cities all over Europe.

An old Dutch wooden cargo bike

In the years that proceeded, many professions opted on using it’s utilitarian design to move goods around, from Bakers to Paper Boys, to Blacksmiths, and even parents transporting child. It’s design has been timeless, with not a great deal changing in the overall basic design, other than the normal modernisations through technological advances, of course.

In recent years, the Cargo Bike has made ginormous waves by way of a resurgence in the logistics sector. The reliability of the van is being replaced by the emission-free Cargo Bike in huge numbers as the number one ‘green’ alternative. When it comes to inner-city deliveries, then it’s the delivery vehicle of the future (or the past, so to speak).

An array of supply chain experts correctly predicted a ‘cargo-bike boom’ in 2016, and boy were they right. As a brilliant example highlighted here; results gathered by a survey as part of the CityChangerCargoBike project, show that there was a 60% increase in the sale of Cargo Bikes across Europe in 2019. Even during the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic, at it’s worst in 2020, sales reached an incredible 53% increase on that of 2019. And with these percentages at hand, a projected sale of a further 43,600 units across the continent is expected by the end of 2021. Absolutely staggering numbers indeed.

Our activity at Mango Logistics Group continues to be centred around going greener with every mile we clock up. We have increased our Cargo Bike fleet by 65% alone in the past 10 months. We have acquired 5 new cargo bikes and 2 brand new electric vans to use in and around the city, lowering our emission output by no less than 70% in the last year alone and we are not stopping there. We aim to be operating a totally emission free fleet by the end of 2022 at the latest.

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